Stripped, strengthened, and super-powerful, Thomas Kessler’s Lancer Evolution VIII shows all its potential on the narrow St. Ursanne hillclimb in this footage from earlier this year. With great traction and a predictable chassis on his side, he can exploit the tuned 4G63’s 700 horsepower quite easily and shorten the straighter bits between the hairpins like few production-based cars can.
Like most of the cars on the Hillclimb Monsters page, the Evo has been optimized for a narrow, bumpy, cambered backroad. Lightweight Enkei RPF1 wheels reduce unsprung mass and improve compliance over the pockmarked surface of St. Ursanne. At higher speeds, the Voltex aero kit, complete with a massive splitter and a broad diffuser, keep the Mitsubishi firmly planted and confidence-inspiring.
So much of Kessler’s cool, economical driving style comes down to his comfort with the way the power is deployed. Courtesy of Horse Power Technics, the 4G63 was stroked to 2.2 liters and fitted with a big turbocharger to make some 700 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. It all comes in one massive shove, but the grip provided by the aforementioned parts mean little to no wheel spin, even out of slow hairpins. With only 2,425 pounds to push around, the Evo gets up to frightening speeds quickly, even without a sequential gearbox.
With smooth steering inputs, a little circumspection, and commitment in the corners which count, Kessler uses the best possible style for the circumstances. By finding that small window between assertiveness and cautiousness, he allows himself a little wiggle room for the odd moment when the car decides to move around inches from an immovable stone wall. The stable, supportive, and confidence-inspiring Lancer Evo works perfectly in these situations and complements Kessler’s style. No wonder the two have become regular draws at Swiss hillclimbs.