Diving head first into a new vehicle platform poses a host of new challenges. When that platform has a mixed platter of good and bad stories to its credit in the first few model years, it tends to be even more intimidating and a somewhat risky venture to consider. But to those with a passion for a marque and the perseverance to achieve, no hurdle is too high to get over.

Text and Photos by Richard Fong

Forging into Uncharted Territory

For Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) and English Racing (ER), the passion for Mitsubishi platforms runs deep, back to the days of the 4G63T-powered DSM chassis. Their long history with Mitsubishi along with a successful partnership developing and racing cars prompted them to take on the challenge of raising the (then) new CZ4A Evolution X chassis and its 4B11T engine to a higher level. However, since this was an all new chassis and engine platform, there were a few unknowns that they would face. To start, the 4B11T’s aluminum construction had some stalwart 4G63T loyalists concerned about its strength compared to its predecessor’s iron composition.

Another concern was the reversed engine configuration of the 4B11T. While having the exhaust facing the firewall simplified the exhaust plumbing, it also afforded only a limited amount of space between the engine, exhaust manifold, turbocharger and the firewall. Finally, the EVO X’s high-tech driveline with Super-Active Yaw Control was new and untested for durability.

Only Bring the Essentials

Although the EVO X ran a 9.8-second pass at 155 mph in full street trim, it came at a price. Durability and reliability were drastically reduced due to the heavy, factory weight the EVO X toted, resulting in numerous broken driveline components. The next performance upgrade was simply to remove the unnecessary weight from the chassis. The interior was stripped of all nonessential components with the only items remaining being the dash, an English Racing 10-point cage and a Kirkey aluminum racing seat.

This was a move that English wished they had made sooner, to reduce the number of repairs they ended up making throughout the development process. Bringing the weight of the EVO X down from its portly factory figure of 3,595 lbs. to an incredibly lean weight of only 2,530 lbs. made the CZ4A an even stronger contender for setting records.

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