LIMELIGHT | The Mackey’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GT’s

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I very rarely get scared in a car, but when you’re approaching a blind corner in a passenger seat at 100mph I did become frightened for a second – the car just attacks the corner, doesn’t move or twitch one bit, and I can exhale again… That is how mad these cars are, they scared me… These cars really need no introduction at all – the first Evolution of Mitsubishi Lancer rolled out from the factory in Japan on 1992 and was an instant hit amongst the car journalists, race drivers and petrol heads. The Evolution was originally intended for Japanese markets only, but since the car got such a high popularity and demand it was later offered to the markets in UK and other European countries by 1998, and in 2003 for the first time it became available in the States. All Evolution models came with a 2 litre turbocharged engine with the four-wheel drive system. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution name has always been associated with motorsport, and rallying in particular. Mitsubishi were successful in the World Rally Championship from 1969 to 1999 with Finn Tommi Mäkinen behind the wheel winning the driver’s title, and for the first and only time winning the constructors’ championship in 1998 with the help of British legend Richards Burns.

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The Evolution IX was introduced to the Japanese market on March 3, 2005 and was produced up to 2007 when it got replaced by the latest Evolution in the series Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. As usual it came equipped with the 2.0 litre turbocharged engine – Mitsubishi Sirius 4G63 with MIVEC technology, producing 287hp. The Japanese GT model was basically an RS version mechanically running a 5 speed gearbox, but with some of the features from the GSR model.

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Owning an Evo IX GT is awesome, having a brother that has another Evo IX GT is surreal, and having 2 brothers owning 2 finest examples of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GTs in UK is just headline worthy. Alan and Gareth have been into cars since a young age as their dad is a big petrolhead. Always surrounded by their dad’s BMWs both of the brothers however chose the route of Japanese cars. Gareth owned a Honda Civic Jordan Edition, followed by a Honda Integra DC5, then onto the Evo IX. Alan owned a Renault Megane that was featured in a magazine, followed by a Honda Integra DC 5 (which was bought by Gareth) and then onto the Evo IX. Both Alan and Gareth are the first owners of these beautiful Japanese imports in UK; Alan purchased his in 2007 and Gareth acquired his on 2009. So it is no secret who copied whom if you need to know, yes it my first question as well…

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Both brothers however decided on two different approaches for the modifications – Alan started his work by improving the appearance, while Gareth got stuck into the engine bay straight away and the “gentlemans agreement” of Japan of not advertising more than 276 hp (even though in reality it was closer to 317hp) got broken as soon as the car hit the UK soil. Soon after the purchase both of the cars were taken to AI Autosport in Northern Ireland where all the work got carried out. These cars are not sitting in a garage for shows, they are not thrown at race tracks, nor they are rallied or drag-raced, they don’t chase numbers or statistics, even if they can, they don’t try to break the limits of physics. Both brothers built these cars for the following purposes – to look unbelievable, go insane and be enjoyed on a Sunday on the picturesque roads of Northern Ireland. Both of the cars have less than 30K miles on the clock, and all of them are miles that have put huge smiles on their faces.

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Gareth’s Evo is as beautiful in its Scotia White paintwork as it is fast. The Evo IX already has got one of the most beautiful lines and designs out of the factory; however, Gareth decided on some subtle and beautiful mods to make it even prettier. The car got treated to carbon goodies – carbon MR front splitter, DAMD carbon bonnet vent, DAMD carbon side skirt extensions, DAMD carbon rear bumper extensions, Carbon exhaust surround, carbon vortex generator, carbon number plate holder, carbon Mitsubishi badges front and rear and carbon Ralliart mirrors.

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Enough carbon? Car is kept clean from dirt splatter by the help of Ralliart mud flaps. The road is lit by MR style front lights, while the rear lights come from the USDM model. The car has a very mean stance that is achieved by XYZ coilovers, 18×9.5 Rota Torques finished in custom wet anthracite dressed in Uniroyal Rainsport spaced out by 12mm Eibach Hubcentric spacers. The car stops in an instance with the help of Brembo brakes with Carbotech XP8 pads.

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Once you get into the car you are surrounded by the same OCD attention to detail here. The centre console is “blinged out” by 3 beautiful Defi gauges controlled by link controller mounted in the centre console finished with alcantara. Another gauge shines through the carbon steering pod showing the air/fuel ratio. The interior did get some carbon treatment as well – Ralliart carbon gear stick surround as Ralliart carbon window switches. Even though the music comes from the engine, to finish off the subtle centre console a Pioneer 5100 head unit is installed.

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Now to the heart of this beast. It is powered by a 2.3 stroker with Wiseco oversized pistons at 85.5mm, arrow rods rated up to 700bhp, 4G64 crank, OE oil pump and bearings, ARP main studs, HKS 1.2 mm steel head gasket. Odessey race battery keeps all the electrics in order. The engine breathes with the help of K&N large filter whilst the Full Race GT35R twinscroll turbo gets cooled by AMS intercooler, Ross sport 3 inch top and 2.5 inch lower intercooler pipe. That lovely noise all turbo people love to hear comes from Tial Q BOV.

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Other mods include Bosch 044 secondary fuel pump, RC 1000 injectors, Tial MVR External Wastegates, twin screamer pipes and Koyo Evo 6 radiator, Walbro 255 fuel pump, HKS EVC 6 boost controller, 4 bar map sensor, Vipec ECU with anti-lag and launch control mapped by AI Autosport to 550bhp. The engine bay is tidied up with the help of HKS radiator cap, black silicone hose kit, slim line fan, AMS plug cover, Cusco oil catch can, carbon fibre slam panel, rocker cover has been painted satin black; aircon has been removed, as was the SAS system and intercooler spray system. All the power has to go through the standard GT5 speed box with the Exedy twin plate clutch. And to finish off I wanted to explain where all the 2 foot long flames come from – car is equipped with 3.5” downpipe, Magnex decat pipe, HKS Spec R Titanium exhaust.

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Alan is a perfectionist whenever it comes to his car appearance. It has been set up differently to Gareth’s running low RPM range turbo, whilst Gareth’s is high RPM range; however it is mentally fast as well. It was 2 years old when it arrived from Japan and after 5 years has only covered less than 15k miles since new. Alan moved Australia a while ago and the car is now sitting in a container ready to do 6 week travel round the world to reunite back with him.

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As with Gareth’s Evo, Alan’s car is covered in carbon fibre as well. At the front of the car there is a lovely carbon Ralliart front lip, you can see carbon DAMD side skirts on the side, carbon DAMD rear bumper extensions, carbon Vortex generator, carbon number plate holder, carbon exhaust surround, carbon heatshield, carbon front and rear badges and wait for it.. wait… a chopped out roof and replaced by.. yup you guessed it – carbon fibre roof. De-tango front lights and USDM rear lights are the choice for his evo. He completely stripped the underneath and painted in white. Last exterior upgrades would include rear privacy glass and Cusco front support brace in stunning blue finish.

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The interior has had a fair amount of work done to make it a pleasure to be in – Dash, A pillars, custom gauge pod and steering wheel have been covered in Alcantara. Dash inserts, Speedo cluster surround, gearstick surround and steering wheel centre however has been made from carbon fibre. Centre console is decorated with 3 Defi gauges and a Pioneer Headunit; gear knob has been replaced by Ralliart one.

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Alan’s car is lowered with Ohlins DFV Coilovers and sitting on beautiful 18×9 +22 Gold Advan RGII alloys dressed in 255/35 Rainsport 2 Tyres. The car stops with the help of – AP Racing 6 pot calibers with 262mm disc at the front and AP Racing 4 pot calibers with 330mm disc
At the back with all lines braided.

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Now, don’t get fooled by the pretty looks, there are mean things under the bonnet as well. The 2.3 stroker turbocharged engine has got ViPec Standalone ECU, Arrow Rods, CP Pistons, 4g64 crank, Cosworth race bearings, ARP main studs and headbolts, balance shaft removal kit, HKS head-gasket, HKS M45iL spark plugs, Walbro 255l fuel pump, Koyo Evo 6 Ali radiator, HKS EVC6 boost controller, 3″ Intercooler pipe kit, race battery kit, Tial BOV, HKS induction kit.

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The exhaust gases explodes through the 3″ Magnex Downpipe and decat with 3″ HKS Titanium Spec R Exhaust in the end. The engine bay has been tidied up with Slim line fan, black silicone pipes, Rocket cover painted white, Intercooler spray has been removed same as SAS system. All this runs through the standard and completely rebuilt gearbox and Exedy twin plate clutch. Upon arrival in Australia there are some gifts already waiting for the car, like the best Bride seats ever made etc.

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Watch this space, these cars constantly keep upgrading and becoming more faultless and I can’t wait to see what these brothers will do next with their cars – they certainly know how to do it right.
 
Words & Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
 

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