When I thought about a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution lapping Tsukuba Circuit in 55 seconds, I naturally wondered if I could even hold my breath for that long – as you do.
On my first attempt I managed a feeble 42 seconds. My second try wasn’t much better, but on the third go I held my breath for 1 minute 10 seconds. For a brief moment I experienced the smallest sense of achievement ever felt by a human heart. The lesson here? Never give up. Which I’m sure is the unofficial motto of Keiichi Kurita, owner of today’s feature car subject – the Unlimited Works ‘Kuribo’ Evo VI.
For the record, the longest voluntary breath hold is 24 minutes, 37.36 seconds. Incredible.
If I really put my mind to it and practised, I think I could probably hold my breath for 1 minute 40 seconds, by which time, Kurita-san would have almost lapped Tsukuba’s iconic TC2000 course twice in his rapid time attack Evo. I know which one is more impressive. But let’s not forget, I’m just a regular breather, not a professional free diver training for a Guinness World Record.
In the same way that I’m not a deep sea diver, Kurita-san is not a mechanic. Like me, he’s a regular guy who enjoys regular things like eating ramen and watching anime. However, what he’s done with his Lancer is highly irregular.
From the outside, the car is like any other street-driven, time-attack-style Evo. The only giveaway that this car is a real time attack deal, is the Unlimited Works sticker. But it’s somewhat of a red herring.
While the engine and transmission were both built at Unlimited Works, and the car gets regular checkups and maintenance work there, many aspects of the project were carried out by Kurita-san himself.
Kurita-san modified the aero, put the car on a diet by removing unnecessary interior parts, and installed a Bride Zeta 3 bucket seat plus all the gauges and gadgets you see inside. He also tuned the Haltech Elite 1500 engine management system himself to pull around 600hp from the 4G63.
When Unlimited Works built up the engine, they retrofitted it with Toda Racing forged pistons, a JUN crankshaft and connecting rods, and Tomei 280-degree Procam camshafts. All essentials to handle and make the most of the extra boost provided by a Garrett GTX3076 Gen2 turbocharger perched on a FullRace manifold.
Of course, it’s not just high power output that nets fast lap times – although it certainly helps getting out of corners. Handling is enhanced by Quantum coilovers with 20kg/mm front and 18kg/mm rear spring rates. The wheels are Enkei PF01EVOs in 18×10.5-inch +22 all around, shod in 295/35R18 Yokohama Advan A050 semi-slicks.
On top of Kurita-san’s 55.570 Tsukuba TC2000 lap, the Unlimited Works Kuribo Evo VI has lapped Tsukuba TC1000 in 37.117, Nikko Circuit in 36.388, and Motegi in 2’03.428 – all impressive times.
Obviously it’s not just down to the world-class work completed by Kazuhiro Sato and his team at Unlimited Works, or even the ECU tuning Kurita-san did himself. Nor the aero tuning, which has quite an effect too.
The truth is, an Evo VI can’t drive itself. It takes hours of driving on the limit and a whole lot of passion to achieve PB laps like these.
But if a salaryman from Tokyo can get within a whisper of the legendary CyberEvo’s best time around Tsukuba and then drive home afterwards, there’s hope for the rest of us. Just be sure to practice your breathing.
More stories from Japan on Speedhunters