At Assault Tsukuba 2023, all eyes have been on Toshiki ‘Fireplace’ Ando when he took to the monitor in his Escort Racing-built Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. There was, after all, a really good cause for this. On January 27, at a Zummy-organized occasion, Ando-san blasted his Evo to a brand new Tsukuba tuning automotive lap file: 49.897.
Whereas he wasn’t in a position to repeat the sub-50-second feat on his return to Tsukuba for the Assault occasion three weeks later, Ando obtained awfully shut with a 50.112 lap.
I used to be simply joyful to see the automotive in particular person once more, congratulate the Escort Racing staff on their superb accomplishment, and take a fast crawl over this legendary time assault machine.
Hiroshi Shiobara and his staff at Escort have a long time’ value of expertise on the pinnacle of Japanese drag racing, constructing highly effective engines that ship time and time once more. When Ando-san employed them to construct and develop the Evo, it was the start of a match made in heaven. An E85-fuelled dream that has seen them obtain the purpose of making Japan’s quickest time assault automotive comparatively rapidly.
It clearly takes an enormous quantity of effort, ability and cash to construct a automotive able to working a sub-50-second Tsukuba lap, and also you need to get misplaced within the particulars to actually respect it.
Beginning with the Voltex aero package deal, the best way it interacts with the Mitsubishi bodywork beneath, and the way every little thing has been meticulously designed and deliberate to operate as one. Proper right down to the brakes, which on the enterprise finish are comprised of Countless 6-pot monoblock calipers and RPS break up carbon rotors.
There are a lot of trick suspension elements on the rear and a few fairly attention-grabbing air administration options at ground stage to maintain the Evo glued to the tarmac at pace. Braking on the rear is dealt with by 4-pot Countless calipers, however curiously there are not any carbon rotors at this finish.
The aero package deal culminates out again, the place the large spoiler, fin, extractors and canards all come collectively to create probably the most impactful rear view of any automotive ever.
Trying on the center-exit exhaust, I started to surprise if the Escort Racing staff have discovered a strategy to generate downforce with spent gasses!
After which there’s the engine…
With Escort Racing’s zeroyon background, it’s unsurprising that the MoTeC-managed, billet block 2.2L has a drag-spec really feel to it. For monitor work although, it makes use of a GCG turbocharger that not solely delivers a four-figure energy output, but additionally has ultra-responsive choose up.
Oh yeah, there’s nitrous oxide getting pumped into this 4G63’s veins too.
What this staff have managed to attain is nothing wanting spectacular, and by breaking into the 49-second zone Ando-san and Escort Racing are pushing time assault to a brand new stage.
However don’t for a second assume that Ando is completed. His subsequent purpose is to beat the 49.455-second lap posted by Nobuteru Taniguchi in HKS’s fully-slicked-up TRB-03 – however utilizing Yokohama Advan A050 semi-slick tires. Semi-slicks have, in any case, been a mainstay of time assault competitors because the very starting.
So the event continues, for Ando-san and everybody else that competes in time assault competitors. It’s the essence of this motorsport self-discipline; pushing, testing, failing, ultimately reaching targets and, when you’re fortunate, setting data.
I’ve obtained another story to come back from Assault Tsukuba 2023 on among the different heavy-hitters on the occasion, so look out for that later this week.
Dino Dalle Carbonare