THE SEASONED WARRIOR
JASON HORN RETURNS FOR HIS 12TH SEASON AND HE’S GOT SEVEN-SECOND PASSES IN HIS SIGHTS
Twelve seasons on and Jason Horn and his little GSR Lancer are veterans at Meremere Dragway. He took the car from 12s to nines in street trim, before a rear-wheel-drive conversion worked it into the eights. The next step is sevens, and, to get there, a new four-link rear and very serious 4G63 can now be found under its bright-yellow skin.
The 2016 drag season began at Meremere last month with the Spring Nationals. Among the import cars in attendance was a little yellow Lancer, kicking off its 12th season on the fly. Jason Horn and his 1988 GSR Lancer have not missed a season since the early 2000s, back when the car was 4WD and dominating the Night Speed Drag Wars. As for most, those were the events that began it all for Jason and his little yellow Mitsi, which proved extremely competitive. The factory 4WD configuration was pushed to its absolute limits with a 9.54 at 232kph, which is a New Zealand record for the quickest factorygearbox 4WD. Soon, an unquenchable thirst for quicker times took hold, street driving became a thing of the past, and he set a goal of running into the eights.
In 2011, the decision was made to swing the engine around in the ‘wrong’ direction and bolt a much stronger Turbo 350 trans onto the back. A tubular front cross member was put together, and the factory rear four-link set-up was retained with the addition of a ‘Japanese nine-inch’ — a Toyota Hilux diff with a billet full-spool; suspension-wise, it ran some basic King springs and KYBs from its street-driven days. But the motor package was anything but street, feeding in excess of 600kW to the 26.5-inch slicks.
Jason’s rear-wheel-drive (RWD) career had a bit of a rocky start when he put it into the wall at the 2012 nats, after only five runs, but the purely cosmetic damage was quickly sorted, and Jason was soon back on track. that eight-second goal was soon realized and worked down to the current PB of an 8.62 at 262kph, with a best 60-foot of 1.45, achieved over the next few seasons.
However, the suspension was limiting not only the performance of the car but the safety, too. “The more power we would dial in, the more unsafe it [would become] … it was basically like an out-of-control roller coaster,” Jason says. So, during the off season, the old internet was fired up and a bunch of parts was ordered from the US to build a proper adjustable four-link using double-adjustable Strange alloy shocks. Scott at Belair Mitsi Auto Wreckers then took charge fitting the new rear end. The plan had been to swap the front out to spindlemount Strange stuff as well, but that will now have to wait until the next off season, as time just wasn’t on their side. Scott poured over 200 hours into fabrication on the rear, including mini-tubbing the back guards to accept 28x9-inch Mickey Ts, which are mounted on Max billet three-piece wheels.
With all the newfound grip, a few additional ponies needed to be put through the 4G63. Dick from Hytech Engines put together a plan. The current set-up with 45psi was pretty much maxing out the sealing ability of the steel head gasket, and, after looking around at what some of the world’s fastest were doing, the idea to use compression rings in the block and a copper head gasket was decided on, as it would allow boost pressures well in excess of 60psi. Dick started with a fresh 4G63 block, which was then machined to accept the rings, before stuffing it full of billet and forged hardware from the likes of Manley, Wiseco, and Eagle. The head from the old package, which Dick had ported and built a custom drivetrain for, was retained.
The car weighs 1130kg in race-ready trim, which is not bad when you consider that it’s still wearing a complete steel body. The windows are all Lexan, and the interior has been absolutely gutted
SUPPORT STRUTS: (F) KYB shocks, (R) Strange alloy doubleadjustable coilovers BRAKES: Simpson parachute, (F) Legnum calipers and rotors, (R) Legnum calipers and rotors EXTRA: Jegs four-link kit, chromoly rose joints throughout, McDonald Bros sprung wheelie bars SHOES WHEELS: Max Racing three-piece, (F) 15x5-inch Performance Challenger, (R) 15x9-inch three-piece billet drag TYRES: (F) 24x4.5-inch Mickey Thompson ET Drag, (R) 28x9-inch Mickey Thompson ET Drag DRIVELINE GEARBOX: GRP-modified TH350, Hurst ratchet shifter, Auto Trans 7200rpm race convertor, ATI Performance Products trans brake, ice-box trans cooler FLYWHEEL: Custom flexplate DIFF: Modified Toyota Hilux housing, 3.9-ratio, billet full-spool, Mark Williams axles
HEART ENGINE: Mitsubishi 4G63, 2000cc, four-cylinder BLOCK: Hytech Engines–built, Eagle billet crank, Manley forged pistons, forged Wiseco pistons, custom girdle for main bearing caps, main balance shaft deleted, hard-filled water galleries HEAD: Hytech Engines ported head, Kelford 280-degree high-lift cams, stainless oversize valves, beehive valve springs, head studs, Tomei adjustable cam gears INTAKE: Custom plenum, billet throttle body, waterto-air cooler EXHAUST: Four-inch stainless dump pipe TURBO: Billet Turbonetics 67-67 WASTEGATE: Turbosmart Hypergate 45 BOV: TiAL FUEL: Injector Dynamics ID2000 injectors, dual Bosch 044 pumps IGNITION: Spark Tech Pro Drag capacitor-discharge, Spark Tech coil-on-plug ECU: Link G4+ Storm COOLING: Alloy half-size radiator, Davies Craig electric water pump (EWP), Davies Craig EWP controller, 305mm (12-inch) electric fan, AN fittings PERFORMANCE POWER: Not been on the dyno BOOST: Lots
INTERIOR SEATS: Kirkey alloy STEERING WHEEL: Momo INSTRUMENTATION: Auto Meter tacho, oil-pressure, watertemp, Innovate air/fuel–ratio gauge EXTRA: Funny car–style roll cage