This is hardcore. Co-driving the ultimate Evo (video)

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This Evo is on a league of its own. Had me so elated I was screaming like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert

Evo Ioannis Ioannou

Deep inside

I love car culture. Get in deep and its full of pleasant surprises

Like last weekend, at what is anecdotally the best annual VW gathering this side of the pond. An event called Wookies in the Woods, which I have attended religiously since 2017 with my Mk6 Golf R

A couple hundred decked out R32’s, among newer gens of VW’s R division, join the VAG kinship for a week of fun driving in some of the best roads America has to offer.

Seen and driven a few special cars at Wookies through the years. You ’d figure an R32T thundering down West Appalachia with the characteristic VR6 “Chewie” melody is a showstopper.

And yet last week I fell hard for something altogether alien for the premise. 

A twelve-year old Mitsubishi sedan. For real

But let us take things from the start. During some conversation with my Wookie buddies, part of our typical pre-event hype routine, heard about a misfit Lancer Evolution X that would be crashing this VAG party.

Little did I know I would not only meet and get to know the owner, Mr. Devin Lopresti, but he would be generous enough to take me out for a spin. 

Mazda Miata NB ND

I will admit some premeditation and concerted effort on my part to show worthiness for said ride along after introductions had been made.

Mind you, Devin is a man with enough experience and experimentation on the Evo platform to easily earn himself a Ph.D. in the brand

So over brats and smores by the campfire I occasionally dropped nuanced hints. Such as how the factory Evo chassis stiffened a further 39% between the IX and X models. Or simply singing the praises of my all-time favorite Evo. The notorious VI, colloquially known at the Tommi Mäkinen edition

Being of European descent and an avid WRC fan there’s reverence for certain JDM machinery. What is weird is Evos never took flight in the U.S. market the same way STi’s or S2000’s captured the hearts of American motorheads. 

All this to say Devin is a bit of a lone wolf.

Considering a certain dearth of quality aftermarket parts and limited knowledge base to rely on the quest to build what is basically a racecar for the road, this Evo is remarkable to say the least.

Mitsubishi Evo black

The fateful day came on Saturday. I had just wrapped a full day of hard driving in my mk6 and put the keys up contently. Settling into the early evening raffle and R32 award ceremony with the Wookies crowd, Devin unceremoniously drops me this laconic line: “Let’s do a run”

Maserati Ghibli Athens

Few minutes later…

I find myself snug in a passenger Recaro (thankfully having passed the infamous hip test) and strap into the four-point harnesses.

Devin’s got a laptop connected to the Motec ECU and runs logs up front while I take in the scenery.

This cabin is a freakin’ spaceship. Screens, gauges, oil temps, the works. Then I notice this thing keeps idle at around 2k+ way past cold start. I am getting second thoughts about what I just agreed to

Mitsubishi Evo interior

Warming up tires the Ohlins suspension feels resolute but not dentures-popping stiff. Ok maybe so but who cares.

I am paying close attention even though I am in the right seat. Steering input from Devin and turn-in response is telepathic. No body roll whatsoever. This one feels connected and raw at another level. 

Road and chassis in accord. I guess how great an Evo communicates the kinematics is that even without holding the wheel I sense every undulation transmitted by the front axle in both longitudinal and transverse directions

US 143 Green Hell

As we are about to cross the bridge into Hellbender U.S. 28, there is enough of a straight to spool the big turbo in 3rd and 4th gear.

We do not just accelerate hard like most forced induction setups under load. We are instantaneously propelled forward.

This is insanity. Not sure of the figures nor do they really matter. Butt dyno estimate put it somewhere north of 600 hp/tq. Fast is an understatement

Mitsubishi Evo engine

I can tell Devin knows his car down to the minutiae. Like a Samurai with a sharp Katana he tears Hellbender’s tighter sections into shreds.

Better yet this could be shodō as the Evo’s trajectory is like the trace of a fine Japanese brush. Purposeful. Infallible. And quite clear there is more power and traction on budget, but there is restrain. Running a reliable boost setting and keenly aware we are on public roads instead of the track. 

Mitsubishi Evo wheel

Adrenaline flows through my bloodstream as I am taking it all in. The sound from the 2.2L stroker and two external wastegates is blaring yet crisp, akin to Metallica’s Enter Sandman when the chorus hits. 

I know rage and poise are antithetical notions, but these are the exact two words which sum up the experience of this Evo for me. Rambo just tied his bandana and is out for blood. 

I will close with a massive thank you to Devin Lopresti and much gratitude for giving me an experience I will not soon forget. 

Ps. For the record, I have sampled many touge champions and spent good money making my mk6 R into one.

This Evo is on a league of its own. Had me so elated I was screaming like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert. Shaming myself further by uploading a short clip of unadulterated reactions from said run


  • Moore Automotive built 4B11T with a Callies stroker crankshaft, Carillo Pro H rods
  • Manley light weight pistons with custom wrist pins
  • EFR 7670 turbo kit (1.05 twin scroll ar housing) with twin 38mm tial wastegates (open dump)
  • Motec M130 ecu with turbo speed sensor
  • AR FAB did the machine work and built the head with Ferrera valves, GSC beehive spring and retainers
  • AMS TMP cams
  • Full radium fuel system with ID 1700cc injectors
  • Exedy twin HD clutch
  • Carbotech brake pads
  • Giro disc 2pc rotors
  • Öhlins coilovers
  • Hotchkiss sways
  • Whiteline roll center kit
  • RPF1s, RE71R tires
  • Moore auto intake and downpipe
  • ETS 3.5-inch intercooler
  • STM Full titanium exhaust 

Photo: Ioannis Ioannou /

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