2013 OUSCI Preview- Todd Earsley's 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII
Todd Earsley and his 2003 Mitsubishi Evo VIII didn't come out of nowhere last year, but it kind of felt like it. Todd entered and subsequently won the OPTIMA Faceoff at Arlington and later received an at-large invitation to the 2012 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Royal Purple and KN Filters.
Once he made it to the OUSCI, Todd acted like he belonged (and he certainly did). In the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge, he bested the times of all but three of his fellow competitors and the same was true of the Ridetech Autocross. In the Wilwood Speed/Stop Challenge, Todd did even better, with Bret Voelkel edging him out for the win by just .013 seconds!
How could Todd perform so well on the track and not win the OUSCI? It wasn't because he didn't score the maximum points available in the Detroit Speed Road Rally. Having participated in the Faceoff in Arlington, Todd knew how critical those points are to win the overall event. It was the Lingenfelter Performance Design Challenge where he ultimately fell short. Actually, he finished dead last by a wide margin, although it doesn't really matter past the top-20, because no points are awarded outside of that group.
It really came down to a time crunch for Todd. The Evo wasn't really built with the intent of competing in an event like the OUSCI and when the invite to the big show came along, he really didn't have the time to make meaningful changes that would improve his chances in that regard. 2013 is a different story.
Todd is back, although by looking at his Mitsubishi Evo, you wouldn't know it is the same yellow car with black wheels that ran so well last year. With the knowledge that he was capable of competing with the very best the OUSCI has to offer, Todd and his crew at Evolution Dynamics totally re-built his Evo from the ground-up.
The car was completely stripped down, mounted on a rotisserie, sand-blasted and then seam-welded, giving it a level of strength and rigidity OEM beancounters would never tolerate. The APR GTC-300 wing remains on the back deck lid, but a lightweight front splitter has been added to the mix, which Earsley hopes will give him better aero balance in the Hot Lap Challenge and minimize the pushing he experienced in the high-speed corners.
Todd also installed wider Seibon carbon fiber front fenders and custom-rolled the rear fenders to accommodate a larger set of wheels and tires. The 17s Todd ran last year have now been replaced with 18-inch RPF1s from Enkei, mounted on 275-series R-S3 rubber from Hankook. With those components in place, the car was then re-painted with a hue derived from the Cement Gray color so popular with the Scion owners these days. A matching RECARO seat was also added inside for the passenger.
On the suspension side of things, Todd added the remaining components from the Whiteline catalog that weren't already installed on his car- roll center kit, anti-lift kit, bump steer correction and adjustable end links to go with the front and rear sway bars that were already onboard. The stock shocks and lowering springs have been removed and replaced with AST 5200 coilovers that are double-adjustable and have remote reservoirs.
Under the hood, Todd upped the ante with an already potent combination that features all-wheel-drive and anti-lock brakes. The stock turbo has been replaced with a GTX3076R from Garrett and an Extreme Turbo Systems turbo kiit. Todd and the crew at Evolution Dynamics also custom-fabricated an aluminum intake and intercooler pipes. With the help of Fuel Injector Clinic's new 1050cc SP injectors, they feel they have the makings of a car that will be capable of generating about 475 horsepower to the wheels (about 150 more than Todd had last year).
Will that be enough to win it all? With Todd only a few thousandths of a second away from a higher finish last year, we think his combination for 2013 definitely makes him one of the cars to beat. If you'd like to see more of Todd's build, be sure to check out the MyShopAssist website, which Todd developed to help shops better manage their businesses and improve communications with their customers. To give it a whirl online, just click on this link, then enter OPTIMA for the last name and enter the phone number 469-718-9731. Todd will also be demonstrating his software at the SEMA Show in booth 10771 in the North Hall Tool Section.
Don't forget to buy your OUSCI tickets while they are still available. It will be the only way you'll be able to get your hands on one of our cool OUSCI t-shirts (and if you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of the legendary Gregg Kahnke).