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Heritage Series: LANCER EVOLUTION X FQ-400 (PROTOTYPE)

The Supercar Slayer!

It’s no exaggeration to say that during the 80’s and 90’s Mitsubishi Motors was the manufacturer to beat in the rallying world. We notched up no fewer than 12 Dakar victories with various iterations of the Shogun before taking on the World Rally Championship with our Ralliart Team and the legendary Tommi Mäkinen, winning no fewer than five titles (four driver titles, one manufacturer) between 1996 and 1999.

As a consequence, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution became one of those cultural touchpoints in the car world and quickly became the halo vehicle for our brand with the help of its well-documented (but friendly) rivalry with the Subaru Impreza and popular computer games such as the Gran Turismo.

Things had moved on by 2008, however, and although genuine road-going rally cars were almost a thing of the past there was still a desire for a more powerful and exciting Lancer Evolution X for UK roads. Evo fans were very aware that we produced the Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ-400, so with the knowledge and experience already on our side we set out to reproduce the magic for our newest Evo model.

While all previous Evos use the legendary 4G63 engine, the Lancer Evolution X’s brand new 4B11 engine was an unknown quantity for us so coaxing more power from it was entrusted to former touring car ace James Kaye and the team at YA Logistics, with whom we had worked previously on several high performance projects.

What did we produce?

Without decades of development behind it, the new engine needed a thorough development and test cycle so the FQ-400 actually required over 500 hours of development time. The process included re-mapping the ECU, putting the turbo through a bespoke conversion including low friction bearings, an extreme-temperature exhaust turbine and uprated thrust bearings. The engine is also fitted with motorsport spec, high-flow fuel injectors; a three-inch diameter high flow stainless steel exhaust system and sports catalytic converter. Intercooler and induction piping were also changed to assist in cooling, along with the many scoops and aero devices engineered into the front bumper and bonnet.

 

When finished the Lancer Evolution X FQ-400 actually produced 408hp and went from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds. At the time, that qualified as supercar quick! But, as Pirelli famously proclaimed, all that power is nothing without control. The suspension was lowered 30mm at the front and 25mm at the rear with uprated Bilstein dampers all around. Bringing all this power to a halt was the job of an Alcon racing 6-pot calliper braking system with ventilated discs. To finish things off the 18” SL Corse Racing alloy wheels were fitted with Toyo Proxes R1R tyres to further increase the already incredible levels of grip.

In terms of styling, the front benefited from an all-new, lightweight composite bonnet complete with those gloriously menacing cooling vents through which you can actually see the engine. This was paired with a composite front bumper with additional cooling vents and a carbon lip front spoiler. The side profile features lightweight skirt extensions while the rear also underwent styling and aero modification with a new rear bumper, carbon rear diffuser, gurney strip for the rear spoiler and our now infamous ‘shark’s tooth’ carbon vortex generator.

The interior of the vehicle remained almost untouched with the exception of a bespoke carbon gear knob and a stainless steel and carbon handbrake lever on which is inscribed the vehicles bespoke model number. PIAA lighting upgrades and motorsport silicone wiper blades were also added.

How do you test this type of car?

Being an independent distributor working on a relatively low-volume car, we didn’t have the budgets to hire out Millbrook for a few days so we had to be inventive in finding ways of testing the FQ400 to the limits – we entered the Britcar 24hr race at Silverstone! As you’d expect, we had to make some slight racing modifications such as roll cages, fire extinguishers etc. in order to meet the scrutineering and entry requirements before it took to the track but, yes, we entered our development car in a 24 hour race!

Running a car in race conditions for 24 hours is a rather extreme testing regime, especially when coupled with race weekend testing sessions and qualifying sessions - it was the harshest environment to demonstrate reliability of components and far more taxing than any road simulation. The Lancer Evolution X FQ-400 was decked out in red and chrome Ralliart livery and was driven by a team of drivers headed up by former BTCC touring car driver James Kaye. How did we do? Well having covered a full race distance of 517 laps and 1,651 miles with no issues the car came home 5th place in class and 25th position overall. A tremendous achievement first time out and proof enough that this Lancer Evolution was truly something very special.

 

Spec Details:

Max Power - 408hp

Max Torque - 525 nm

0-62mph – 3.8 seconds (est)

Max Speed – 155 mph

Drive System – Full time 4WD with S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control)

Transmission – 5 Speed manual

 

Stay tuned to read Part Two of my experience with the Lancer Evolution X FQ-400 prototype coming soon.

In the meantime check out our concept car the e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT: www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk/innovation/e-evolution/ 

Ramblings by Brian – Press Officer

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