Pikes Peak Hill Climb with Wright Group Racing: Part Two

This installment has what you’re looking for—the dyno runs for a time attack Evo.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Jun 26, 2017 4:09 PM

In my last installment, I explored the racing history of Tom Wright, as the team's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX was out of order until further notice due to a faulty radiator. With the radiator fixed, the team returned to D Speed, at last ready to tune the car for race day. At full boost, the power figure is supposed to be 750 horsepower at the crank, but in race trim, the car is said to be making between 600 and 650, with power levels dropping as altitude increases. All of this info is courtesy of the car's builder: Jake, of Pink Sock Racing.

The car itself was once owned by Dave Kern, a Rally America and Pikes Peak driver, and was at one point sponsored by NOS and AMS— yes, the guys known for GT-R drag cars. The car in that video is the very same one that Tom Wright will be racing this year, with this being the second year that Wright Group Racing will be fielding this car. It holds the record for the fastest time ever set up the mountain with a navigator time, a record that may never be broken, as navigators were banned in the wake of Jeremy Foley's crash in 2012.

All the wiring has been redone as aerospace-grade tech and is fully teflon coated to prevent wear. Jake says the old wiring, which had been raced on for a decade, was described by Jake as crispy, and that the car fried its ignition coil as it crossed the finish line. Now? All military grade. “Every bit of it is what they would run in a fighter plane to make sure it stays in the sky." The car is run off of a racing PDM and a Haltech ECU, though Jake professes a preference for MoTeC.

The radiator was once rear-mounted, hence the mesh cutouts in what was once the trunk lid, but it has been moved to the engine bay once again. This was originally done at the last minute to clear a header, which would have situated the turbocharger in the same space that the radiator was trying to occupy. Hardware has changed since, so the lessened complexity of a front-mounted radiator was welcomed back.

Boost comes from a Forced Performance unit, and has been chosen over the team's old Garrett unit because of its ability to maintain higher shaft speeds for longer periods, which will allow the car to maintain power up the mountain at greater altitudes. Rather than trying to maintain boost pressure, which risks overspinning the turbo, they will be monitoring shaft speeds.

It was reskinned in carbon fiber, and the windows replaced with Lexan. This cuts the car's weight down to a mere 2,600 pounds, and with predicted race day power figures averaging 600 horsepower over the course of the run, power to weight ratio will be approximately 460 horsepower per ton. To put that into perspective, a Dodge Charger Hellcat's power to weight ratio is a mere 309 horsepower per ton.

All of the rear door and quarter panel are one solid panel of carbon fiber. If a customer wanted to buy carbon bodywork of this quality for a car, it would cost $4,000 per side. The hood alone would cost $3,200, said Jake, citing a common practice in the aftermarket of making fiberglass parts that have one layer of carbon on their exterior to save money.

The car comes with full rally-ready antilag, which will retard the car's ignition timing by 17 degrees when there isn't enough boost. This doubles as launch control, which will give between 15 and 20 pounds of boost at the start line.

At this year's race, Tom Wright will be one of 22 competing in the Time Attack 1 class. Major contestants include drift and rally driver Rhys Millen, BTCC driver Robb Holland, and rally driver David Sterckx.