Ronnie Bratschi knows how to build a Lancer Evolution to smoke the hillclimb. This Evo VIII runs a built motor pushing 600 horsepower, a five-speed sequential gearbox, plenty of aerodynamic goodies and lots of tire. The result is a real fire-breather that’s just intoxicating to watch.
Stripped to a svelte 2,425 pounds, this Mitsubishi looks agile and happy to rotate into the corner, and he’s able to carry a good amount of speed into the corners. However, that massive mule kick of boost is what defines this experience, and Bratschi seems to place emphasis on this part of the drive. Often short-shifting and taking a conservative approach to the corner, he gets the four wheel-drive Evo straight before the turbo fully spools—that is, if he wants to stay on the road. The surge is more Saturn V than rally car, and keeping it in one piece is much more demanding than the footage might imply—it’s just that the car is so competent everywhere it goes.
Part of that stability comes down to the massive wings front and rear. Over the past five years Bratschi’s been competing in this car, he’s developed the aero package to suit his tidy driving style and make the most of the traction-oriented car. With the addition of a massive rear wing two years ago, Bratschi had to add a homebrewed front splitter to complement it and keep the aero balance fairly neutral. One upside of the new splitter is that it doubles as a coffee table or an ironing board. You never know when a racing suit needs to have wet spots steamed from it.