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Since I’ve started doing real competitive driving, I’ve always tried to ask myself- “Do I need this?”

I can tell you I’ve answered NO more times than yes.  There seems to be this big misconception that before you can get on a track (or even autocross) that you need suspension mods and a crap load of more crap.  The truth is, you don’t at all.  In fact, most of the time the stock original factory setup is faster, safer, more reliable, and easier to drive than most of the mass aftermarket stuff out there.  (with one exception, brake pads and brake fluid)

I originally purchased my Evo with a large toilet sized turbo that made some good peak HP.  I ran it a few times, and while it sure was fun, it wasn’t always fast.  After a few events, I made the best decision I ever have, reinstall the stock turbo.

My goal is to maximize the car with the stock turbo.  Get every last tenth out of its current setup with making small tweaks.  I want to be able to see these tweaks pay off by reducing lap times.  Adding a bigger snail will come in time, but my primary goal until then is to reduce lap times with other changes, not by just adding a big gigantic turbo with gobs of power.

So, what can we do to get the full potential?  First thing is a solid tune.  There is one guy I’m very thankful for meeting and has gone above and beyond for not just me, but many others.  Probably one of the very few I would 100% trust with my car.  Ronnie Soliman from RS Motors.  The night before MAP’s Proving Grounds, he spent a little one on one time with the Evo and was able to really maximize everything and give me much more usable power.



The dashed is the older tune which was at a lower boost level to meet TT2 class rules.  But once we uncorked the turbo, he made a bit more power and a ton more TQ.  Needless to say, the car is an animal on corner exit and makes a ton more power down low.

This also led to a new but unusual problem at BIR.


With all the added low end power, I didn’t have to downshift into 3rd like I used to.  This is a good thing, but it turns out 4th gear cant take it for very long.  After about 15 minutes the gear gets too hot and just lets go.

Prior to 4th gear letting go, I was able to run my best lap time at BIR with a little more left in it hadn’t the gear failed.

Since I obviously have to replace both parts of 4th gear, I changed to the Evo VIII 4th which is a little taller.  Most tracks I’ve been to would really benefit from having a little longer 4th, and this upgrade should be perfect.

Evo 9 4th gear ratio:  1.096  (107mph @ 7000rpms)
Evo 8 4th gear ratio: 1.031  (114mph @ 7000rpms)

New Evo8 4th:


After a 100% disassemble and cleaning of every single part, shaft, and passage, the trans is all back together.


So like mentions above, small tweaks.  Longer 4th gear could mean a tenth of a second per lap.  but with each small tweak on top of another small tweak, we start to knock off a full second.

So once we get each of those tenths, guess what happens when we do add power…..

We’ll just have to wait and find out.


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