EX­TE­RIOR

An alu­minium fab­ri­ca­tor by trade, Damian has crafted ev­ery­thing on the VR-4 and has turned ev­ery nut or bolt. It was his first ever roll cage and turbo man­i­fold, but the pack­age is prov­ing to be ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive. It just shows what you can build at h

NZ Performance Car - - 1998 Mitsubishi Galant Vr-4 (e38a) -

PAINT: Toy­ota sil­ver EN­HANCE­MENTS: Lexan MR10 win­dows, Evo V front bumper, bolt-on flares

Ca­pa­ble of 1:15s around Man­feild, this VR-4 may not be overly pow­er­ful, but it is no slouch. A large rear GT wing helps sta­bil­ity at speed, and a re­mov­able split­ter that smoothes the un­der­car­riage be­neath the en­gine is used come cir­cuit time

Ralliart vis­cous cou­pling, and a me­chan­i­cal rear diff. With the VR-4 gear­box, I found my­self con­stantly on the lim­iter in sec­ond at hill climbs, and if you changed to third gear it was too lazy. With the Evo III unit, it’s much eas­ier to keep it on song.” Toyo R888 semi slicks mea­sur­ing 235/45R17 were cho­sen for the op­ti­mum bal­ance be­tween me­chan­i­cal trac­tion and me­chan­i­cal fail­ure. Dur­ing pre­vi­ous at­tempts with a full slick tyre, sev­eral gear­boxes and count­less dif­fer­en­tials were de­stroyed.

A ca­pa­ble all-rounder, Damian’s VR-4 has con­quered plenty of hill climbs over the years, but also cir­cuit events such as the North Is­land Jam­boree at which he of­ten hands it to the big boys — one year even win­ning Su­per­lap out­right. Although Damian is a pri­va­teer, he doesn’t come un­pre­pared when­ever he mixes up his mo­tor-sport dis­ci­plines. For cir­cuit use, sus­pen­sion com­po­nents are di­alled in, the ride height is low­ered and the front dif­fuser is in­stalled, which goes right the way un­der the en­gine. For hill-climb du­ties, the VR-4 is raised up and given some more travel, sway bar size is de­creased to al­low more chas­sis move­ment, and the dif­fuser is re­moved just in case Damian drops a wheel and scrapes the un­der­car­riage.

As di­verse as Damian’s cir­cuit and hill-climb tac­tics are, there is one con­stant which has seen him excel over oth­ers — his at­ti­tude, as he ex­plained: “When I got to a race meet­ing, I don’t look at the times un­til the end of the week­end. Most peo­ple get too caught up chas­ing that ex­tra sec­ond, but I do the op­po­site — I drive to my con­di­tions and to what I can do. To this day, I still just go out there and do my own thing, and see how well I did at the end of the day. Con­sis­tency gets me through.”

DRIVER PRO­FILE

DRIVER/OWNER: Damian John­son

AGE: 32 OC­CU­PA­TION: Welder and fab­ri­ca­tor/boat builder LO­CA­TION: Wan­ganui BUILD TIME: Five years LENGTH OF OWN­ER­SHIP: 10 years THANKS: Thanks to my wife for all the nights I spent in the shed, Keith Ste­wart dyno for such a drive­able tune, my brother Nathan and good mate Be­van for help­ing keep the car in top form at events, Gregg Adams for help­ing build a mo­tor that has per­formed day in, day out, Swartz Tyres Wan­ganui for hook­ing me up with the wheel

align­ments and tyres

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