Ronnie Bratschi’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo has been an ever-evolving project which has only grown lighter and more powerful over the years. Unfortunately, last year a massive crash at the Hemberg Hillclimb almost entire destroyed the Evo. Thankfully, Bratschi walked away with just a few bruises. Undaunted, he decided to build racing another car—but this time with more power, less weight, and a few extra tweaks to make it the fastest Lancer Evolution hillclimbing in Europe.
In record time, he built the car. The first step was installing another OMP safety cell which saved him in the big accident, and then by mounting the racing seat as low as possible for an ideal center of gravity. Then came a wider body, which he lightened to an astonishing 2,200 pounds. That svelte frame, pushed along by an Lyss 2.1-liter 4G63 sends more than 700 horsepower through a five-speed sequential gearbox, and accelerates in a way most prototypes can’t match. Coupled with outrageous traction, even from hairpins (0:49), this svelte Mitsubishi certainly scoots on tight hillclimbs.
As a regular entrant in the E1-3000+ Class and as fastest Overall Touring Car in the FIA European Hillclimb Champsionship, it has all the right traits to excel on these narrow country roads. High-speed stability is apparent through the esses at 1:10, as is Bratschi’s willingness to flirt with the guardrails. You don’t get to the top of hillclimbing without taking some risks.
Despite looking like one of the most compliant cars on the St Ursanne – Les Rangier course in Switzerland, the Evo’s rear steps out like a D1 drift car with the guardrail just inches away (2:26). With a combination of quick hands and some luck, Bratschi just barely keeps the car out of the ARMCO and avoids another grueling rebuilt. It’s that combination of skill, daring, and an incredible car that’s taken him to the top. Perhaps getting through one major accident helps too.
The St Ursanne – Les Rangier Hillclimb has been run since 1921, and snakes along a 24-turn, 3.22 mile course that features three hairpins. The drivers climb the 1148 foot elevation change with grades up to 10.8%. This year’s hillclimb will be held on August 19, in case you happen to be in the area. One of the most popular spectating areas is on the hillside about the triple hairpin turns.