Taniguchi’s AWD Time Attacker
No More Evo?

Do you think the guys at Garage G Force, or any other specialist Lancer Evolution tuner in the world for that matter, are going to give a damn that Mitsubishi has dropped the Evo from its line up? I’ll take a wild guess and say that they don’t, after all, the majority of the high-power builds that they create are still based around the older 4G63-powered cars. Machines like this Evo IX, that G Force’s Tazawa-san has built to participate in the various time attack events that are run throughout the year at Tsukuba Circuit and Fuji Speedway.

Mitsubishi may no longer care about giving faithful followers of the Lancer Evo anything more to play with, so it’s up to tuning shops like G Force to do the rest.


By this I mean keep things relevant, and continue to develop parts and setups that allow these older cars to still rival modern day supercars. Time attack is always the best place to showcase this sort of research and development, and it’s precisely what this Evo IX is all about.


We first saw the car last month at Tsukuba during the Rev Speed Super Battle event. I did a little Spotlight on it then, but there’s a lot more to tell.


This Lancer is a true hunter of speed. Every modification that has been made to it is centered around extracting as much performance as possible. It hasn’t been built to go head-to-head with the wilder cars in the Open class though, think of it as more of an old school approach to JDM time attacking.


So while it might not have a purposely-designed aero package like you’ll find on Under Suzuki’s S15 or the Revolution FD3S, it does have some additions that help shave precious tenths off its lap times through the trickier corners. After the chassis prep was completed – which included a back-to-bare-metal strip down and the fitting of a 15-point Cusco rollcage – the exterior was upgraded with the complete Varis wide body kit.


The guys at Varis then created a secondary set of aero parts made out of carbon fiber and designed to boost downforce. The front end features an extended diffuser section, while vertical vanes added to the side underskirts help create a smoother passage of air along the profile of the car. Vortex generators then finish things up at the rear corners; the low pressure created in these areas helping extract air flowing beneath the car.


A conservatively sized Voltex GT wing and a finned rear diffuser complete the package. Given the massive amount of mechanical grip that a car like this naturally generates there wasn’t a great need to overdo things on the aero side. In fact, unless you actually R&D aero parts through CFD or in an actual wind tunnel, most ‘let’s see if they work’ bits and pieces will probably just create drag. Hence my comment before about this being an old school sort of JDM time attack car. I like it because of this, as it doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t.


With the angular widened fenders the Evo looks the part. After a few years of people going a little OTT on the whole aero thing, it’s also strangely refreshing.


Tazawa-san has outfitted the Evo with a set of Öhlins DFV adjustable dampers that have been custom valved to his own specifications. Also in the mix are Hyperco springs which run some pretty high spring rates to take full advantage of the aforementioned grip.


That is partly due to the widening of the fenders, which are able to accommodate 18×11-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37SLs fitted with 295/30R18 Advan A050 semi slicks. Yep, this Evo runs a wheel and tyre package that’s these days referred to as the ‘new GT-R size’.


The increase in front and rear track and tyre width meant that G Force could run a huge set of brakes, and they took full advantage of that fact by specifying an Endless monoblock setup.


That means big 6-pot calipers at the front with slightly more compact 4-pot units at the rear, all biting hard on 2-piece E-grooved rotors.


I’m sure you’ll agree that it all seems pretty legit so far, but as Tazawa-san explained to me, it gets even more interesting once you look at the work that’s taken place beneath the lightweight Varis vented bonnet…

A Torque Monster

The orange-capped MIVEC 4G63 is the core attribute of this particular build, and this hard-tuned package is one that Tazawa-san will offer to his most demanding customers in the future. Like all of the G Force motors that have come before it, track testing is a big part of the development process.


Underneath those candy orange covers lies a hand-assembled bottom end fitted into a honed and bored block. For this particular setup G Force have gone with a Tomei 2.3L stroker kit, which comes complete with a billet counterbalanced steel crankshaft and H-section connecting rods.


These in turn are mated to a set of Tomei forged pistons, and all combined create a seriously strong base for the rest of the upgrades. The engine is fed 2.2-bar (32psi) of boost, so making sure that intake and exhaust flow was maximised was high on the priority list. That was taken care of by a heavy dose of head porting and polishing followed by a pair of Tomei 270-degree cams.


And that brings us to whole point of this engine and car: the turbo kit. G Force has always like to experiment in this department, but for this build settled on a BorgWarner EFR 8374. In performance circles, EFR series turbos are what everyone has been talking about for the last couple of years, and Tazawa-san’s interest was piqued by the impressive response that their Gamma-Ti turbine wheels allow.


The turbo is mounted low on a Full Race stainless steel exhaust manifold and is controlled by a TiAL external wastegate. With the supporting fuel system, which is comprised of a pair of RH9 fuel pumps and a set of 1000cc/min injectors, this engine is able to deliver 665PS at 6,712rpm – a lot for a 2.3L engine, but not that much in the realm of the Lancer Evo. But power isn’t what G Force was shooting for, rather torque and response which always takes precedence in time attack.


Exhaust gasses are channeled to the rear of the car by a custom-made G Force titanium exhaust system, but it’s the sum of all parts that really impresses. Thanks partly to the MIVEC system, this motor is able to generate 78.2kg/m of torque at 4,751rpm. That’s 565lb/ft available right smack-bang in the middle of the rev range, and what makes this one of the most drivable time attack setups G Force have ever created. If you need proof, on its very first outing at Tsukuba Nob Taniguchi managed to wring a 55-second lap out of it…

The 4G63 Is Here To Stay

And so, this car suddenly makes even more sense – a true ‘Evolution’. JDM-built 4G63s won’t be the same once people realise what these BorgWarner EFR turbos are capable of delivering.


Open up the lightweight carbon fiber doors, which are also fitted with a glossy carbon inner skin, and the functional cabin is exposed.


Everything in here is very much centered around the driver; Nob always being the #1 choice for Tazawa-san.


The Cusco 15-point bolt-in rollcage is something that potential customers building their own fun time attack Evo can relate to. Not everyone has the budget for a top-spec custom fabricated cage, and this is why we see many shops in Japan taking the bolt-in route.


Keeping an eye on engine vitals is a must, and while back in the day JDM car interiors were more akin to jet fighter cockpits with countless gauges scattered all around the dash and pillars, there are far more cleaner options these days.


For a track-dedicated car a Racepak LCD dash display makes total sense as it allows quick and easy access to all the sensors you care to plug into it. It keeps the driver’s eyes in one place too, so it’s much safer as well.


Aside from the HKS A/F Knock Amp and the new-gen HKS EVC boost controller there are a couple of other cool additions. First up it’s the GPS-based lap timer, which was still proudly displaying the 55-second lap that Nob recorded in December at the Super Battle. There’s also a Do-Luck Digital-G sensor mounted on the transmission tunnel, which allows the Evo’s AYC system to react far quicker, and also be controllable so that Nob can fine-tune the behaviour of the car through the turns.


Nob is also able to tweak the fuel mixture via the dial on the shifter assembly – something that comes in handy during the humid Japanese summers. On the subject of shifters, there was no way that the stock driveline was going to be able to handle the amount of torque that the engine now develops at low RPM, so it’s been upgraded too. The Holinger 6-speed sequential not only takes all the twisting force in its stride, but also allows for instantaneous gear shifts.


It may not be the fastest Evo to have ever lapped Tsukuba, but this car stands for a whole lot more. I have no doubt that we will see Nob shave a few more tenths off its 55″52 best too.


If you compare the images from this feature with the ones that I posted in the initial Spotlight, you will notice that there have already been a few changes made to the engine bay and interior. This is very much a work in process, and in that respect there’s definitely more to come.


Garage G Force were also out at the HKS Premium Day at Fuji the other week, where Nob managed to wrestle a 1’42″154 out of the Evo IX for third fastest in the AWD class.

So yeah, Mitsubishi, we couldn’t care less if you’ve decided to abandon loyal followers and enthusiasts by discontinuing the Lancer Evolution. We’re good. We’ve got plenty left to play with and Evo guys will be entertained for many years to come!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Haha, you wouldn't be allowed to have a wing like that on the streets in my country ;D


Nick Elias Who cares about your shitty country?


Which country would that be Nick Elias?


Nick Elias Wouldn`t be allowed legally? Or not allowed due to the juvenile repercussions of militant car facists like yourself?


just thinking about the lap times a Gs this thing pulls blows my mind. One thing is for sure now I'm buying a evo and build to it peak like this car is on the bucket list right next to owning a r34 XD.


I just realize it use air box & an original plastic air feeder into the air box , I'm somehow surprised by that ; but I wonder if there's a hose feeding to the custom air box ? I originally thought the hose appear near the header is the one feed to intake , but then realize the air box is still there , so I guess that is just cooling hose .


Finally an admission that all these "aero" mods on feature cars do little more than add to the aesthetics. Also "cant afford a fabricated cage" but can afford a 2.3 stroker engine new turbo, custom ohlins suspension etc etc, a weld in cage should cost no more than 300000 yen. Dont get me wrong, i think this car is super awesome just some weird almost contradictions going on


RDS The hose seems to be routed to the turbo and wastegate, so I think it's to cool them.


Quite impressive!


Does this mean you're going to feature the G-Force IX wagon next?!
Cannot contain excitement.


Great. Have you done an article inside the g force garage????????


JamelNarracott turbom 


ae70 that's jdm-style for you :)


ae70 They mainly test for customers, so basically they sell the product by saying "yea it went 55 secs in tsukuba no problem with this cage". Kinda disappointed that a time attack car has a bolt in roll cage with no harness bar.


Of course they're going to give a damn. Cars don't live forever. Given enough time, it will sink in.


Hang on did I read that right?

"this car has so much mechanical grip that aero mods just result in more drag"

What the flying fark does mechanical grip have to do with downforce? They are almost entirely unrelated. More pressure onto the road = more grip, end of story. Where did you come up with this????


I'm pleasantly surprised to read about a JDM tuner using a US-built manifold designed for what US time-attackers consider's top-spec turbo's. That's a great example of taking inspiration from all over the world. Even the fact that they're using a 15-point cage seems to be an update to their philosophy. In the past it was 6-point cages, now it's 15, so despite the fact that it's still not safe, it looks like they're at least changing their minds somewhat.

I don't know if any denizens in Japan read US-related builds, but here's a good read based on what privateers in the US consider a proper cage build: http://www.motoiq.com/MagazineArticles/ID/3771/Project-Professional-Awesome-Time-Attack-Evo-Part-1--Roll-Cage-and-Chassis-in-Detail.aspx -- and it's even on an Evo 8.

I love the cars featured from this shop, everything they build is just as much show as it is go. It's like the old adage: you can show a race car, but you can't race a show car. 

Thanks Dino!


This was so worth the wait! Makes me want mine even more now, and I can't wait till that day comes! Such an amazing build and looks amazing too!


The specific evo came along really nicely. Small details that makes the big difference.

Nice presentation Dino!


What an awesome piece of machinery


JamelNarracott Maybe... ;)


I'd prefer this drivetrain in a bone stock looking EVO 9.. Sleepers for the win.


dovvv I think you have quoted and understood incorrectly here.
I believe he means that with Aero kits, unless they are wind tunnel tested and R&D has been done, they are actually creating more drag than downforce.
He mentions mechanical grip earlier that the car has, and saying because there is so much of it, even without additional downforce from Aero, it's still good!


Not everyone has the budget for a top-spec custom fabricated cage, and this is why we see many shops in Japan taking the bolt-in route.


Whoop! 9's for life. I'm never selling my 9 Wagon. EVER!


That rollcage doesn't seem like it'll save you from anything...


Man that's nice and looks bad ass !

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

"After a few years of people going a little OTT on the whole aero thing, it’s also strangely refreshing."
True, but you can't deny the hardcore awesomness of fully kitted time attack evo.
I took this at WTAC last year.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Post a pic!


@bengo Nick Elias easy there...plus this isn't a street car


jacobherman14 I'd recommend a 34 :p


jay8393 RDS yup


nugundam93 ae70 I always know that showing cars with bolt in roll cages piss you guys off. We all know very few shops in Japan actually do proper welded in cages, let's move along and concentrate on something else now...


AlexLobanov ae70 That's how it's always been done in Japan. But it's slowly changing


JamelNarracott uhmmmmm


turbom JamelNarracott :)


dovvv ?


i23sonny dovvv I mean that pretty much every part on that car save a few things actually does nothing but generate drag. Trust me, I've asked the pros ;)


FunctionFirst Thanks! Yet the great JDM cage-design, lack of thereof debate continues lol


LukeEVOVIII Going for a 9?


GregoryS Thanks!


smithadamb yes, hold on to it!


@lapdayjunkie Taniguchi is still alive and kicking lol


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner True, but only if it's done properly. By this I mean designed by reputable aero guys like Andrew Brilliant and throughly tested in CFD, not to mention quality-built


Nope, still got my heart set on an 8 ;)

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Very true dino, the realms of the uber rich but definitely a thought out and planned step. But in saying that I actually don't mind the kit on Taniguchi's Evo, it's something that you might actually get legal here in Aus.


Very cool looking car. But what I always think is funny is when you see these gutted cabins with expensive carbon door cards. Could have used the money towards a custom fabricated cage. Not that bolt in cages are bad...but why buy those door cards?


i always had that question.. Why put a gauge n the other side of the dash??


@lapdayjunkie  You're kidding right?


SRT FTW Bolted cage are not very safe..


Evos pretty much always look mint when dressed in TA trim!
Also why are some gauges filled with oil?



bobbbbbb  I'm sure it meets safety requirements or it wouldn't be trackable...


100k car and mods. Harness mounted to the floor (smacks head)  how is this even let on the track?

Kenneth Blanck

bad ass Evo and yep another Japan Nitg Warner EFR turbo setup like my R34 .... the next gen performance parts and tuning .... good stuff Garage G-Force


Chrome-moly steel. Plenty enough to keep NOB safe in a crash. Besides, Tsukuba is a real track and he won't be racing wheel-to-wheel.


I've read it for a second time.

Great work as always speedhunters_dino .

I wish you a Happy New Year always in good health and happiness together with your beautiful family :)