Feature: Mike Braeuner’s 2008 EVO X GSR

No Compromises

Words: Mark Waterman
Photos: Ginash George/Synth19 Photo
Video Preview: Unscene Media

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Mike's Evo

In 1992 Mitsubishi officially introduced the Lancer Evolution, a high-performance homologated version of its WRC rally car. Since its introduction, demand had been high for what was intended to be a Japanese-only model. By the late 90s, the Evolution had hit the shores of European and Pacific Rim countries. Unfortunately, American motoring enthusiasts were left out in the cold.  But that changed in mid-2001 when the Evo’s main competitor, the Subaru WRX, was introduced in North America.  Two years later, after seeing that American drivers wanted a 2-liter, all-wheel-drive, rally-bred compact sedan; Mitsubishi brought the eighth generation Evo onto US shores, much to the delight of many tuners.

Mike Braeuner, the owner of the 2008 Evo X GSR pictured here, actually started with a WRX STi, but after becoming convinced the STi was cursed, he decided to sell the Scooby and go in a new, but similar direction with the Lancer.  Using the money saved up that was earmarked for building the now gone STi, the original plan was to build a car using only a handful of top-shelf JDM parts.  But like most automotive projects, what starts small eventually snowballs into something much bigger.  In Mike’s case, his car had become a rolling catalogue of high end JDM parts.

First off, the car’s exterior has a commands attention.  Most of the kit is supplied by Varis, including the hood, front bumper, and side skirts and are Mike’s favorite parts on the car.  A carbon fiber front lip, side and rear diffusers are also out of the Varis catalogue.  The stock trunk with the large Evo wing has been replaced with a Do-Luck decklid with a lip spoiler. Craft Square TCA-RF carbon fiber mirrors replace the stock mirrors while Ralliart taillights finish off the rear.  Rolling stock consists of a set of beautiful Volk CE28N’s with a custom Formula Silver color.  Mike then wrapped those with Hankook Ventus V12 Evo 285/30/19 tires providing traction to the ground.  Keeping the wheels firmly attached to the hubs is a set of Project Kics Caliber lugnuts, which are slated to be changed to a set of R40 Neo Chros.  But what really sticks out when examining the insides of the wheel wells is the unmistakable color of the Project ? calipers.  The already excellent brake package on the Evo GSR has been swapped out for a six piston setup up front and four in the rear which clamp onto larger rotors.  All together, the exterior finished in the standard Octane Blue paint is enough to make any enthusiast green, or in this case, Project ? blue with envy.

Of course no self respecting Evo owner would be caught just looking good without the power to back it up.  Popping the hood open reveals that the pages of another prominent, but now defunct, Japanese tuning company has been consulted: ARC.  Plucked from their selection of go fast parts is an induction box, radiator cap, upper intercooler pipe attachment, blow-off valve pipe and a burnt titanium plated intake pipe.  What really sticks out though, is the front mount intercooler with “ARC” clearly stenciled on the front to let everyone know where it came from and the seriousness of the car it is installed in.  Lucky for Mike, all this was purchased before ARC’s bankruptcy allowing him to avoid the up charge that some of the parts are now commanding.  Also taking up space beneath the bonnet is a Colt Speed Limited Blue Super Taikyu 2009 Championship engine cover and upper strut bar.  A pair of hood dampers keeps the hood from falling on your head, while Blitz piping stoppers make sure all the piping stays connected under pressure.

After being sucked, squeezed, banged and blown, the exhaust gas exits the currently stock turbo, is then routed through an AMS downpipe, followed by a top of the line Tomei titanium testpipe and finally a Tomei Extreme titanium catback system.  While this may seem like the basics on upgrading a boosted machine, a new HKS GTII 7460r Kai turbo with a 225 L/h Walbro fuel pump supplying huge 1000cc injectors are sitting and waiting to be installed.  To match the power, the suspension has been upgraded with KW V3 coilovers.

If you have the chance to stick your head, or even sit in the car, you’ll notice a few new parts there too.  A Key’s Racing D-Shape steering wheel with a Works Bell quick release short hub transmit lateral inputs to the front wheels and an ARC burnt titanium shift knob transmit commands to the all-wheel-drive transmission.  Lastly a Pioneer Z110BT head unit takes care of navigational and music playing duties.

When Mike started this build he made himself the promise not to comprise on the quality of parts, no matter the cost.  He feels lucky to have had the help of his friends and staff from Bulletproof Automotive, Fizz Autosports, Touge Factory, and A&L Autobody while building the car.  However, the work is still not done.  Along with the new turbo and fuel system, new Bride Venus seats and Exedy clutch are in the plans as fall and winter mods.  In the meantime, he’ll continue to enjoy the dropped jaws and numerous looks and stares he deservingly gets while out on his weekend drives.

-JDM Chicago

Mod List:

Engine Bay:
ARC induction Box
ARC Front Mount Intercooler
ARC Upper Intercoolor Pipe Attachment
ARC Burnt Titanium Plated Intake Pipe
ARC Blowoff Valve Pipe
ARC Radiator Cap
Colt Speed Limited Blue Super Taichyu 2009 Championship Engine Cover
Colt Speed Upper Strut Bar
Colt Speed Hood Dampers
Blitz Piping Stoppers

Varis 09 Bumper with Varis carbon lip
Varis Hood
Varis Side skirts with Carbon side diffusers
Varis Rear Carbon diffuser
Craft Square TCA-RF Carbon mirrors
Ralliart Taillights
Doluck Trunk

Key’s Racing D-Shape Steering Wheel
Works Bell Quick Release
Works Bell Short Hub
ARC Burnt Titanium Shift knob
Varis Carbon Shift knob (Blue)
Pioneer Z110BT headunit
Alpine PDX-5

Tomei Expreme Titanium Catback
Tomei Titanium Testpipe
AMS Downpipe

KW v3 coilovers

Full Project Mu Big Brake Kit
6 piston front / 4 piston rear

19×10.5 +22 Volk CE28n’s in custom color Formula Silver
Hankook Ventus V12 Evo 285/30/19
Project Kics Calibers Lugnuts

Not installed yet:
* HKS GTII 7460r Kai Turbo
*Injector Dynamics 1000cc Fuel Injectors
*255 Walbro Fuel Pump
*Varis Dual Canards
*Voltex Type 5 1700mm Wing
*Project Kics R40 Neo Chro Lugnuts


Gallery (click thumb to expand):

Video Preview (Full length video Coming Soon)!

JDMC Feature: Mike’s Evo X (teaser) from Unscene Media on Vimeo.



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