A friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous asked if I would drive his spanking new MR at the Evo Tuner Shootout(please check it for the tuner entry list). This was sort of last minute during the mid-Nov. when I was asked. I have been working over seas for most of this year from Jan. to Oct. and just came back to USA on Nov. 2nd. Most of the other tuners have had lot of time to prepare for this shoot out as it was announced back in Sept. The rules are pretty short, just three actually and they are:
With only about 1 week to prepare the car, we thought perhaps we’ll just run it completely stock and demonstrate what a stock MR can do. That will be a good baseline. However after a quick brain storm, I came up with the idea that this is actually a pretty good opportunity. The Evo8 is a fantastic car completely bone stock. It puts down impressive lap times at any road courses with zero modification. The 2005 MR is an improvement upon a already near perfect car. I’m sure the tuners are trying to show off their products and skills and make an all out effort. Some of these entries will spare no expensive with big turbo’s, major weight reduction, big dollar suspensions, and huge wheels and giant tires. Here, I see an opportunity by looking at tuning from a car owner’s angle. As a true weekend open tracking enthusiast myself (my personal record is 98 days on track in a 365 day duration), I understand all about getting the bang for the buck. So the modifications I’m choosing are carefully selected. Obviously there are other good mods I would’ve performed but there isn’t enough time.
The Plan of Attack
The idea is simple, MR has several improvements from standard Evo8, mainly the 6 speed gear box, front LSD, and lighter (by 2.6 lbs) forged BBS wheels. The shoot out is going to be at Streets of Willows at a very tight and technical track in the Southern California deserts. The biggest improvement we can make on the car for a track like this is simply to get some racing brake pads, R compound tires and wider rims. At the shoot out I will do sessions with the car completely stock, thus establishing a good baseline, and then put on these modifications to demonstrate how effective they are are reducing lap times. Streets of Willows is a 1.8 mile road course that is very tight, and technical. I’m very familiar with the track as I’ve spent many open track days here as well as driving for Nissan vs. Honda club battle in 2003 as well as the BFG G-Force challenge in 2001.
Lightweight Shoes – Volks Racing CE28N
After some research, I’ve concluded 17×9 et35 will fit no problem. The wheel of choice will be Volks Racing CE28N 17×9 et35 in bronze from Ray’s Engineering. I gave Ray’s USA importer Mackin Industires a call and was told to speak to Eddie Lee. After a quick call to discuss my idea Eddie was very quick to agree and supplying us with these forged beauties.
It is a forged one piece aluminum wheel that weights a mere 1x.x lbs. The stock rims on Evo8 are made by Enkei and they are cast aluminum 17×8 and weights 20 lbs which isn’t too shabby. The MR comes with BBS forged aluminum one piece wheels they are lighter at 17.5 lbs and also 17×8 in size. CE28N we will have 1″ wider width and be x.x lbs lighter than regular Evo8 Enkei’s and x.x lbs lighter than BBS. The extra width is very welcome to maximizing overall width and better sidewall support for the tires.
Gumballs – Toyo Proxes RA-1
The Evo8/MR comes with a high performance street tire already. The Yokohama Advan A046 sized at 235/45/17. This tire is very close to being a R compound tire and frankly it’s very hard find a better tire for street use.
We are allowed to use R compound tires for this shootout. For attacking the Streets of Willows course, my chose will be the Toyo Proxes RA1 DOT approved competition radials. We will be running the 255/40/17 size tires. It is wider and also about 3/10″ shorter in diameter than the stock 235/45/17. The additional grip will be useful at the tight circuit.
Proxes RA-1 tires are the favorites of many weekend road course warriors because of their long service life, and the unique feature that they are actually faster as they wear down. They are also known to be a excellent rain track tire when they are full thread unshaved. I wanted to have them shaved to gain additional grip however it doesn’t look like there’s enough time to get that done.