Car Feature>> Nos/ams Performance Pike’s Peak Evo

There’s something about rallying that draws people in. Could it be that
we’re drawn to mother nature, and also the taming such wilderness
through our technological monsters? There really is something magical
about ruining the silence of a quiet back country road the torrent of
noise coming from some million horse power, all-wheel-drive, aero’d
out, econocar. This 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was built for just
that –ruining the piece of a quiet of Pike’s Peak while getting up to
the top as quick as possible. THe car was built from the ground up by
AMS Performance, and driven to its absolute
limit by David Kern and his co-driver, and wife, Allison Kern.

Last we spoke, we talked about how much of a family unit
that the NOS Enerdy Drink/AMS Performance team were. This time around,
we will be talking about the house that the family provides for.

In comparison to the Pike’s Peak Titan of Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima’s
Suzuki SX4 or Marcus Gronholm’s Ford Focus, this Evo looks tame. There
is very little aero other than the front splitter and rear wing. But
this car does not run in the unlimited class that those titans run in.
This is an open class car.

There is no crazy aggressive stance here, this car is all about
performance. It’s running a set of 17×9.5″ Enkei NT03 tarmac wheels
wrapped with BFG Drag radials.

This is a far fetch from street modified cars with clean interiors.
This is all business. But this is also a place where David and Allison
have some great bonding time!

There’s just something amazing about the exposed skeleton of the gear shift lever. It’s raw and untamed.

A fantastic art piece of manifold fabrication by the guys from AMS Performance.

But we’re not here to talk about some hard park car. This car was made
for one thing and one thing alone: plowing up Pike’s Peak as quickly as

Here’s a shot of the car coming back down from the top of the stage
from one of the practice runs. The loud livery makes it really stand
out against the backdrop of nature.

…and here it is going up from another practice run in the early morning hours.

When the actual race day came around, the weather was insanely
unpredictable. By the time David and Allison were up, it was just
absolutely pouring. David loves the rain, and there is more grip with
moist dirt than the dry.

As I’ve mentioned in NOS/AMS behind the scenes
article, the car lost a lot of boost at the start but David managed to
wrangle out a second place performance with a time of 12:10:335. That’s
a fantastic time for a car with seriously low boost!

The boys at AMS did a fantastic job putting together a car that is
capable of tackling such a feat, and they’ve put the car in the heands of a pair that
really knows how to squeeze every bit of performance out of the car
when it is most needed. Keep an eye out next year, the NOS/AMS team’s
eyes are hawking that top podium step!

-Linhbergh Nguyen

NOS Energy Drink

AMS Performance

NOS/AMS Performance 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Complete Spec List:

– AMS 2.3L Stroker
– AMS CNC Head
– Tomei Poncams
– Cusco Catch Can
– AMS V-Band Turbo Kit with Forced Performance HTA3582 w/TiAL 0.63AR Stainless V-band housing
– AMS 3″ V-Band Exhaust
– Tial 44mm WG w/ Tail BOV
– AMS F1-i Intake Manifold
– AMS Front Mount Intercooler
– CBRD Drag Radaitor
– AEM UEGO Wideband Gauge
– AEM Serial Gauge
– Motec Center Diff.
– Aeromotive Fuel Rail
– FIC BlueMax 1450cc Injectors,

– AMS Lightweight Front Crossmember
– AMS Moustache Bar Eliminator
– Hollinger Dog-Box w/ Rally Gearing
– Exedy Triple Metallic HD Clutch
– Wavetrac Front Differential
– Carbonetics 1.5-Way Rear Differential
– AMS Lightweight Driveshaft

– OEM Brembos used at PPIHC with PF 01 pads in front, PF 97s in rear
– AMS Stainless Steel Brake Lines
– AMS Brake Cooling Kit
– Hydraulic Hand Brake
– Ohlins TPX/TTX Gravel Suspension
– Tilton Dual Master Cyl, brake & Balance Bar

– 17 x 9.5″ Enkei NT03 Tarmac Wheels
– BFG Drag Radials & Kumho W710 Rain Radials

– APR Racing Mirrors
– DHP Composites Rear Wing & Front Splitter
– FiberImages Super Lightweight CF Hood & Trunk
– Seibon CF Widebody Front Fenders
– Kevlar, Aluminum and HDPE Underbody Protection
– KD Rally Mudflaps

– T45 Custom Roll Cage
– Racetech Seats
– HANS Device
– Scroth Profi II HANS 6-Point Harness
– FIA Fire Suppression System
– Stilo WRC Helmets & Intercom System
– MOMO Custom Nos Energy Drink Fire Suits
– Sparco Steering Wheek
– Sparco Navigators Footrest



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The first shots are amazing in the white light. Great shots and great work, Linh. Your shots are the reason I'm going into photography next semester at my college.


Damn, once they get the boost problem worked out, I think the podium will be theirs! Great feature, Mr. Nguyen and fantastic photography, as usual.... (^_^ )


We'll be making a couple changes to the car in time for our next race in Grand Junction, Colorado on August 8th & 9th. This event is part of the Colorado Hill Climb Assn. series, which consists of all-dirt hillclimbs around Colorado.

Because of the nature of the roads, we will be converting the car back to 'gravel spec,' changing out the brakes for the AMS Rally Brake Kit which allow for us to fit 15" wheels and BFGoodrich rally tires. A freshly rebuilt ShepTrans will be going into the car as the dogbox goes out for repairs, and we'll get that pesky boost leak fixed.

Dave Kern

NOS Energy Drink / AMS Performance Hillclimb Evo Driver


Nice job. Good luck.


Why not do a time attack or two with this machine as well? Can't it do both gravel and tarmac. If Rhy's drift car can do pikes peak......... Am I wrong?


Shots look good Linh. Although I love the effect and use it all the time in my shots, you might want to hold back just a little on the faux flare gradients. It seems like almost every shot you've done in the last month has one lol.


EJ25 - The car could do both, but we built the car as a rally car, so many items on the car have been beefed up (read: made heavier) to handle the abuse of jumping. Items include extra plating around suspension mounting points, and also bonding 20-40lbs of kevlar to the bottom of the car to prevent the shell from being ruined from rock blast off the tires. The suspension is also designed for offroad purposes, as even lowered all the way, the car sits slightly higher than stock. We run the car in the Colorado Hill Climb Association, which holds 4-6 all dirt hillclimbs a year, so without a dedicated service crew (I do most wrenching myself), its hard to find the time to be making wholesale changes to car setup.

With that said, PPIHC is getting a bunch of new pavement for next year in the top section, so we'll probably be making changes to help the car make it through those sections even quicker than our current setup allowed for.



Good Review of the team. Rally Racing is a liked sport among a ton of car fans. In the Import scene it is supported huge... among track racing as well but you knew that already..

Keep Supporting Racing people!


Interesting to see that it runs drag radials for the venue. Not questioning the logic behind it, but just wondering, Dave how it feels? I've honestly never thought that and a dirt stage would've worked well, but that shows my lack of knowledge in rally.


Tires are a tough choice up there currently, as the road was 1/2 paved, 1/2 dirt, the way its been for the past 3 races. In 2008 we ran Yokohama rally intermediates, but the "large size" for that model was a 205/65/15, which was barely enough rubber for the car when it was making ~300hp at the wheels. Since we had doubled the power for the 2009 race, I knew I'd need more rubber under the car.

I spoke with some engineers at BFG, and we discussed the Drag Radial and the R1. Reasoning goes something like this: its a pretty sticky tread compound, and the softer sidwall would allow the tire to roll over a bit and take a set vs. the R1 breaking grip and putting you into a slide. In prior years when the event was all dirt, the BFG Drag Radial worked well (Millen may have been on these tires for his record run in 1994 in his Celica). The key to this tire working is that the dirt must 'tack up' during qualifying days. Unfortunately this year, the road stayed dry and never got blue grooved. For race day we ended up running on a Kumho rain tire, which gave better grip on the dirt, but certainly lost time to the BFG on the pavement. Lucky for rained, so the tire choice was spot on.

The car does need more development time on the pavement, so in the off season, we'll be making changes to get the car more suited for grip driving vs. the slip driving that its setup for currently.

Thanks all for following along!



I'm with Mr. Klingelhoefer. your shots are wonderful, except for the fact that a great many of them are FAR too hot. i know it's a style you're going for, and that's your choice, it seems to be working on the general public, i'm just saying it's not my cup of tea :P