Article by Robert Sixto. Photography by Corey Davis.
There are some who may view drag racing with a certain amount of disdain, uttering that common refrain, "Anyone can go fast in a straight line.” However, this sentiment is overly dismissive and ignorant to what is really involved within this realm of motorsport, especially at its highest levels.
Building a truly fast drag car is no easy task. In fact, we thought it was a lot like being a sushi chef. Crazy analogy? Stay with us now, we’ll explain. Sushi, like drag racing, is a relatively simple endeavor on the surface, but deceptively so. Anyone can slice up pieces of raw fish and lay them on top of a bed of rice, but very few are true sushi chefs and masters of the craft. Fewer still pursue perfecting the craft to the point of creating works of art. Much is the same with the building of a drag car.
When trying to achieve ultimate speed in a quarter-mile or a half-mile, or a top speed record run, everything must be pursued to the highest level of perfection. If you cannot make enough power, you cannot make up for the shortcoming by dialing the chassis to carry more speed through a corner. You cannot upgrade brakes to allow later braking going into a corner. The bottom line is, if you do not make enough power, cannot get the power to the ground and cannot make a clean run, the numbers you seek will not be there. In drag racing, like sushi, there is nowhere to hide; if you do not build it right, or if you try to cut corners, it will be apparent in the finished product.
For English Racing, this pursuit of perfection has been an ongoing creed for their high performance shop in the Pacific Northwest. The Evo 8, is but one example of the results that can be achieved when a shop hones their craft to the highest level. English Racing seems set on making it clear that they too can be included in the circle of craftsmen who pursue perfection to the point of creating works of art. Make no mistake, the crew at English are craftsmen, capable of fabricating anything you can imagine, and doing it with the level of detail that creates genuinely beautiful pieces.
They have left their mark on numerous Evos, GTRs, DSMs and more for many years, producing some of the fastest machines around. Undoubtedly, with this reputation in mind, the owner of this particular car gave English Racing one objective: Make this purpose-built Evo as powerful and as fast as you can. English Racing has certainly not disappointed, putting together an epic sleeper of a car. The photos speak for themselves, as does this latest dyno video where you can see the dedication in every clean weld of the manifold, the construction of the full cage and the overall clean and simple aesthetic.
Everything works right and fits right, but it also is visually pleasing to the eye. The numbers bear this out as well: English Racing’s Evo 8 is running over 50psi of boost, and winding up to over 9000 rpm, truly a mind- and physics-bending feat. With over a decade of experience with the venerable 4G63 engine, English Racing has built an engine that pushes the boundaries of power output.
Revvolution.com saw the results earlier this year during our coverage of TX2K14, where the Evo terrorized the half-mile event, and had started approaching the 200-mph mark. The humble Evo, not just running with exotics but surpassing most, is what made this car really endearing to us. On the surface, it looks somewhat tame for what it’s capable of; only the full roll cage and the exposed exhaust manifold and wastegate betray what lies beneath. You might be forgiven for even overlooking it as just another Evo. Of course, as the ferocious screams of the little four cylinder at wide open throttle, being fed copious amounts of E98 and pressurized air, and the unmistakable straight-cut dog box catch your attention as well, it quickly becomes apparent this is not just another Evo.
At the heart of this half-mile terror is a full race built engine that English Racing has re-worked from top to bottom. When we say full race, we mean it, as the internals are comprised entirely of upgraded forged pieces. English Racing ported the cylinder heads to their liking, improving the now 2.2 liter engine’s breathing, and coupled it with custom camshafts and valves. The fuel system is not so much providing fuel as it is trying to keep up. With dual Bosch 044 fuel pumps and a set of 2000cc injectors, it is well up to the task of quenching the 4g’s thirst. The reason for such a thirst is a massive Precision Turbo mounted to a gorgeously fabricated manifold force feeding air at 54psi. A combustion chamber that must now resemble a nuclear reactor core, then dumps that exhaust through pipes usually reserved for engines twice the size of the Evo’s powerplant, and of course beautifully fabricated of titanium. With such power on tap only a dog box and triple disc clutch could do the job, and they have proven extremely durable, able to withstand even the occasional miss-shift. Being a purpose-built drag engine and pushing such power extremes, it is true that it will require more frequent engine teardowns and rebuilds than your average performance-build; however, caution is not thrown to the wind here. English Racing has installed many safeguards and monitors, multiple EGTs and a full compliment of AEM’s fuel pressure, oil pressure and lean condition fail-safes to keep this Evo competitive throughout multiple events with minimal downtime.
The chassis has been improved with upgraded coilover suspension from AMR Engineering to help keep the car planted and stable. The brakes, already fairly competent from the factory, have been upgraded with Girodisc two-piece rotors and Raybestos pads. As you might imagine, when chasing high speeds aerodynamics come greatly into play. Perhaps most impressive for the speeds this car is achieving is the subtlety of the aero work. A pair of custom made front and rear splitters to flatten the underside of the car are really the extent of aero work. They have not had to resort to strange spaceship-looking aero mods to achieve the impressive speeds they have. It’s remarkable really, and a testament to just how powerful this little sedan has become.
English Racing is determined to push the Evo 8 far beyond the limits anyone has seen, and passing the 200 mph number is the ultimate goal. They have been steadily improving and getting closer to that goal, as a fifth-gear ratio change brought about a key difference that has put 200 mph within reach.
The hope is they will crack 200 mph at the Shift-S3ctor event coming in October, and they are confident it will happen. In the meantime, it continues its nationwide reign of terror with the Buschur shootout, Georgia half-mile and more to come. No doubt 200 mph is just around the corner and we cannot wait to see it happen. Now who is down for some sushi?
BUILD AT A GLANCE
English Racing-built 2.2-liter
Custom length 153 mm connecting rods
Custom Wiseco HD pistons
K1 94 mm crankshaft
English Racing ported cylinder heads
GSC S3 camshafts
Kiggly cylinder head valve springs
GSC 1 mm over valve springs
AMS oil pan
English Racing O-ringed head with machined in "step washers”
English Racing custom tucked wiring harness
Injector Dynamics 2000cc fuel injectors
Magnus V5 intake manifold
Boomba Racing 75 mm throttle body
English Racing custom fabricated surge tank with dual Bosch 044 fuel pumps
FIC fuel rail -8 feed/-6 return lines
AEM series 2 ECU - full custom tune by English Racing
AEM oil pressure fail-safe
AEM fuel pressure fail-safe
AEM lean fail-safe
Spark Tech CDI Pro Ignition
Four cylinder EGT sensors
AEM back pressure kit
PPG Dog Box 1-4 with custom 5th gear
Competition Clutch triple disc clutch
ShepTrans Stage 3 transfer case
IKEA sequential shifter
Extreme turbo systems 5-inch intercooler kit with 3-inch piping
Extreme turbo systems custom, twin scroll turbo kit, including Precision 7285 turbo
Extreme turbo systems 4-inch Titanium exhaust
AMR Engineering coilovers
Enkei RPF1 wheels 17x9.5
Nitto NT05R tires
Girodisc two-piece front brake rotors
Raybestos ST43 front and rear brake pads
Custom front flat bottom splitter
Custom rear flat bottom aero
Sparco quick release steering wheel
Recaro Pole Position seats
Full custom English Racing roll cage
Simpson five-point harnesses