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Inside Line tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present “IL Track Tested,” a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

One morning last spring we woke up with this crazy idea to race a car up a big, scary hill in Nevada. After a few phone calls to Mitsubishi and West Chicago, Illinois-based AMS Performance we were well on our way, too. Then a long string of stupid, strange and sad things began to happen.

First, the Evo (all-wheel drive, remember) was flat towed most of the way between Mitsubishi’s headquarters in Cypress, California, and Illinois — a feat which had a severely debilitating effect on the car’s center differential. This delayed plans just enough to cause us to rethink the insanely rapid three-week build and plan for another event after the car was fully sorted.

Then Alexander Djordjevic was killed when his Porsche left the side of that big, scary hill and we began an even further rethink of our plans.

And it’s led us here. To this test of AMS Performance’s Evo time-attack car — fresh off its domination of the Super Lap Battle Finals at Buttonwillow Raceway Park here in California. There the car set a new record in the Street Tire Class of 1:55.8 seconds, which, by the way, is really, really flippin’ fast.

Then, with amply heat-cycled tires, AMS brought the car to our test track for a numbers run. Before we got serious about things, however, its transmission crapped out by repeatedly slipping out of 1st gear. But those AMS boys, well, they’re not sissies and they promptly swapped the trans in a multi-day fiasco which had them hauling all over the Southland, skipping meals, losing sleep and having their lives generally disrupted. Even worse, the replacement gearset was stock which provided sub-optimal gearing relative to the now-useless aftermarket set up.

The following week, the Evo showed up fully pissed and ready to rock.

And rock it did. The numbers, well, the numbers speak for themselves. And in case you’ve never before witnessed a car with enough power to vaporize all four tires from a standing start, be sure to check out the drag launches in the video.

Thanks to AMS’s 2.3-liter forged engine package, front-mount intercooler kit, 900X turbo kit and turbo-back exhaust, there’s no shortage of power. This car is tuned so near the edge of destruction that we could actually sense its indifference for self-preservation with every jab of the throttle — and we’re talking about the drivetrain parts, not the engine. The power plant was as thoroughly sorted as any mill cranking out this kind of specific output could possibly be. With the turbo spooled, this car is painfully fast. Boost rolls on in earnest by 4,000 rpm, and with a 9,200-rpm rev limit there’s no reason ever to be off boost.

We’re told there’s about 530 wheel horsepower on tap here with the potential for much, much more. Yes, it runs on race fuel. Well, that and single-malt testosterone. Enjoy.

— Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor, Inside Line

Vehicle: 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evoltuion 8 by AMS
Date: 11/23/10
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $41,000 parts, $10,000 labor $33,590 (base Evo X for 2010) = $84,590

Specifications:
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Five-speed manual
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement: 2.3 liters
Redline (rpm): 9,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 530 at the wheels
Brake Type (front): 13.8-inch two-piece ventilated Giro Disc rotors with stock 4-piston Brembo calipers and Carbon Loraine RC6E pads
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch ventilated Giro Disc rotors with stock 2-piston Brembo calipers and Carbon Loraine RC6E pads
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): JRZ RS1 single-adjustable coil-overs and Whiteline stabilizer bar and bushings
Suspension Type (rear): JRZ RS1 single-adjustable coil-overs and Whiteline stabilizer bar and bushings
Tire Size (front): 285/30ZR18 93Y
Tire Size (rear): 285/30ZR18 93Y
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: Extreme Contact DW Tuned
Tire Type: Summer Performance
Wheel Size: 18-by-10.5 inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,360
Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 1.4
0-45 (sec): 2.7
0-60 (sec): 3.5
0-75 (sec): 4.9
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 11.1 @ 134.3
0-60 With 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.3
30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 116
Slalom (mph): 72.7
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 1.02

Acceleration: Two-speed rev limiter makes launching the car a matter of procedure rather than trial and error — or at least it should. After dialing in the exact launch rpm (started at 6,300 then came down to 6,000), it was a matter of wooding the throttle, side-stepping the clutch and gritting my teeth. The result was dramatic wheelspin through 1st gear and then grabbing gears as quickly as possible. A 9,200-rpm rev limiter (raised to 9,500 on the quickest run) means that much of the power band is available above the launch rpm. A last-minute transmission change (which reinstalled the lower stock gearing) meant the car wouldn’t complete the quarter-mile in 4th gear as it would have with the taller aftermarket gearset. Insane power pushes the envelope of what a stock Evo powetrain can handle. One wrong move means broken parts.

Braking: Nothing out of the ordinary here. Aggressive alignment settings means this car doesn’t put all that rubber (285mm) on the road when it’s going straight.

Handling: Skid pad: Superb handling balance — better, even, than a stock Evo. Responds to lift-throttle oversteer and will maintain a slight rear slip angle if driven aggressively. Slalom: Insanely quick reactions from every control (throttle and steering, namely) means this car — unlike most stock cars — can be adjusted many times through the last few cones. Getting it right isn’t easy and getting it wrong will have you backwards in the fence faster than you can say “gratuitous horsepower.” It’s crazy, it’s fast and it’s fun. And it all happened on tires with two time-attack races under their belts.

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