Those who made it out to this year’s Hot Im­port Nights in Las Ve­gas are likely to say Gio­vanny Ayala smoked the #TBGLIVE com­peti­tors with his 2013 Mit­subishi Evo­lu­tion X GSR. While there’s no deny­ing that state­ment to be true, it’d also be a lie to say they couldn’t have fore­seen the blow out af­ter reading the Evo’s hit list.

Pre­vi­ously com­ing home with three 1st Place Best Mit­subishi wins and a sin­gle 2nd Place at IFO, Ayala has gained an ad­di­tional two 1st Place ti­tles at 742 Race Wars and Puente Hills Subaru Show, re­spec­tively, as well as Hottest Mit­subishi at HIN San Diego.

It about took three years to turn an or­di­nary Evo into a one-of-a-kind mas­ter­piece. Dur­ing this time, Ayala made nu­mer­ous changes to the car, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a Varis wide­body and Vol­tex spoiler, as well as ad­di­tional mod­i­fi­ca­tions with the help of Mishi­moto, SPEC-D Tun­ing, Tomei, NGK, Blitz, Ac­tion Clutch and Pass­word JDM.

“When it comes to body work, no one lays hands on my car but West­ern Auto Crafters,” ex­plains Ayala. “When it comes to in­stalls, no one touches my car but 5150 Rac­ing and my dad, Car­los Ayala.”

Now the owner of Elite Throt­tle, work­ing closely with in­stalls and mod­i­fi­ca­tions on a day-to-day ba­sis, Ayala re­calls first get­ting his hands dirty, along­side his fa­ther. It was a 2007 Honda Civic Si, cus­tom-painted AMG gal­axy sil­ver by – you guessed it – West­ern Auto Crafters.

“The mo­tor was built by my fa­ther and my­self,” Ayala re­calls. “The car was equipped with a K24A2 bot­tom and a K20Z3 head that was port and pol­ished with Buddy Club val­ve­train.”

It was around this time when Ayala would be hit with the di­ag­noses of a life­time: stage four Burkitt's lym­phoma cancer. Yet, in the true spirit of a cham­pion, Ayala not only came out vic­to­ri­ous in the long run, but later de­cided to chan­nel his en­ergy into a new per­sonal project.

“I built this car to my lik­ing and to what I en­vi­sioned it to be,” Ayala proudly states. “My big­gest ob­sta­cle was beat­ing stage 4 cancer, so af­ter beat­ing that, I learned to never give up.”

Of course, there are those who Ayala says he couldn’t have done it with­out, and wants to give a spe­cial thanks to: Team El­e­vate, An­drew Juarez, Brian Canales, Marko Dimin­ski, West­ern Auto Crafter, Luigi Ar­royo, Nick Ho­gan, Jimmy Gomez and Team Nvus World­wide, as well as Mauri­cio and Os­car Roque.

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