In what was one of the worst kept secret in Motorsports, Team Summerbell officially launched their new track car at the offices of Motor Sales and Service last Wednesday. Worst kept, because the car made its local debut in front of fans and the TV viewing audience at the last Dover meet. Not to mention the fact that the Internet rumour mill had been in full effect months before the vehicle even arrived locally.

For two days it thrilled fans and broke records, so it was cleaned up, dressed in sponsors logos and trotted out for the expected media blitz. Pretty girls, officials, big names, all there, but this isn’t Pure Class. This is Wheels and what you need to know follows.

The car’s origin comes from the Japanese sport of Time Attack. Basically, you have several laps to post the fastest possible time around a given circuit. In Japan it’s a battleground where big name JDM Tuners come out in full force. The prestige from a Time Attack win ranks up there with a Formula One victory. Like drifting, Time Attack has made the transition stateside and is just as big. The current Summerbell machine comes out of Chicago via Super-Mitsubishi tuners AMS. Their Evolution VIII is the fastest American built Evolution, winning 7 out of 12 Time Attack events across the United States. Breaking records at several of these circuits as well.

Belly of the beast
The car is a full chassis, but care has been taken to bring weight down via prodigious use of carbon fibre and traditional weight loss methods.

The interior has been fully gutted leaving nothing but the steering column. A lone driver’s seat and a multi-point roll cage fills out the inside. The bonnet, front fenders, doors, roof, trunk lid, and aero-kit are all made from the lightweight material. They just haven’t been replaced but massaged for maximum aero-effect. The massive rear spoiler points to the ends AMS went to get downforce necessary to keep the car planted at its reported 176mph top speed. The engine has also been repositioned for better weight distribution.

To get to 176mph requires some serious go, and the Evolution’s 4G63 powerplant was stroked to 2.2-litres via one of AMS’ proprietary kits. The enlarged motor is necessary to spool the massive Garrett T35R handing off its Cosworth developed head. JUN cams and the definitive AMS intake manifold help things out as well. Controlling the whole symphony of combustion is an AEM aftermarket programmable system that provides data-logging capacity as well. The pull of the Lancer Evolution is its drivetrain and a Shepherd H-pattern gearbox tries to take in the power of the engine from a triple carbon clutch. It distributes motion to all four wheels through carbon driveshafts, but the natural electronic advantage of the Evolution has been replaced with a more mechanical solution. Front and rear differentials are from Cusco while the centre diff is from British experts Quaife.

Time Attacks are not just about going fast, but adjusting to the conditions that one might face, so the suspension has been optimized as well. JRZ remote reservoir coil-overs sit at all four corners and are more adjustable than a politician’s moral centre. They’ve also followed the common race Evolution practice of having the camber plates on the top of the strut tower giving the car a bit more damper stroke. Brakes are upgraded Brembo units.

What does this all mean? At its official weight of around 2870lbs the car broke the long-standing Dover lap record posting a 1:20:3 on its third run around the track. For Team Summerbell this is just the tip of the iceberg. Current tech Stephen Gunter revealed that the car has several modes of which the lap record was broken on the lowest, 24psi generating a reported 530 wheel horsepower. Race fans have more to see from this car.

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