Mod Rides

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents -

it­subishi’s ra00y her­itage is never far away from its cars. ere’s 4roo' it’s natura0.

it­subishi has a long his­tory of pro­duc­ing some very in­ter­est­ing cars. We’ve been blessed enough to re­ceive some of them, like the Lancer GSR of the mid-’90s. At the time, it proved to be a fresh of­fer­ing in a mar­ket full of sedans and hatch­backs.

This par­tic­u­lar rally-prepped Lancer GSR is a 1996 model, and was ac­quired in 2003 by Alex Gon­za­les. While it started life as a sporty yet hum­ble pas­sen­ger car, fate and friends soon wrote a dif­fer­ent story for it.

Alex and his ride were in­evitably set on the path of lo­cal racing af­ter meet­ing some of the most hard­core Mit­subishi en­thu­si­asts this side of the planet. As part of Club Mitsu’s Mo­tor­sports Di­vi­sion, he found him­self com­pet­ing as a novice in lo­cal au­tocross, hill­climb and rally sprint races, ul­ti­mately so­lid­i­fy­ing his path to the Mit­subishi and Ral­liart way of life.

The car was ini­tially raced in au­tocross races with just a Koni and Sheep­dog sus­pen­sion combo, EBC brakes, and a set of Rota J-SPL wheels. Soon, Alex started join­ing rally sprints and hill­climbs. Af­ter a mi­nor mishap on his first rally sprint, he de­cided to in­stall a welded roll cage. This set the tone for the rally setup the car would em­brace in years to come. At this point, no ma­jor mod­i­fi­ca­tions were made apart from Sparco seats and a stripped in­te­rior, be­cause Alex made it his goal to max­i­mize what he had and learn his car the best he could.

It was between 2011 and 2012 when he felt he could level up. The GSR was sent to Xtreme Auto Cen­ter, owned by a fel­low Mit­subishi rally en­thu­si­ast, and was com­pletely done over with a full strip-down, so that the body could be seam-welded and an in­te­grated roll cage could be in­stalled. Af­ter mulling over the pros and cons of an en­gine re­build over a swap, he went for the lat­ter in the form of a smaller 4G92 MIVEC mill. The bump in power with a min­i­mal weight penalty was what he needed to raise his game, but given that the goal for the en­gine was re­li­a­bil­ity, the new one was kept pretty much stock.

Driv­e­train up­grades in­cluded a trans­mis­sion swap from a Lancer MX mated via an Exedy three-puck clutch and an Asti RX-R LSD, and the sus­pen­sion was changed to a Hot Bits DT2 rally set with cus­tom springs. Cus­tom alu­minum guards for the sump and the fuel tank help pro­vide pro­tec­tion, while 15in Rota Cosmo wheels on Fed­eral RSR tires round out the traction de­part­ment. Other good­ies in­clude Ral­liart mud­flaps and ped­als, a Momo rally steer­ing wheel, an ad­di­tional oil-pres­sure gauge, and Sparco and Sa­belt har­nesses to go with the newer Re­caro buck­ets.

Alex says the build goal is for bal­anced han­dling, power, driv­abil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity. His con­stant foray into lo­cal races has given him the proper ex­pe­ri­ence to en­sure that these goals are met, and that the car re­mains fun and driv­able. Asked if he’s happy with where it is now, he replies that at this point, he and his car are a match, but fu­ture plans in­clude in­stalling a hy­draulic hand­brake sys­tem, a rally com­puter for his nav­i­ga­tor, a lamp pod for night stages, and an MT 120 Pel­tor com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem.

As the Lancer GSR pro­vided a fresh­ness to the mar­ket when it was first in­tro­duced, this ral­lyready GSR pro­vides a much-ap­pre­ci­ated re­prieve from the usual pan-scraper, wide-body, ex­treme­cam­ber, big-power builds. It’s a car mod­i­fied with a clear goal: to com­pete in an arena all its own, while proudly bear­ing the three-di­a­mond star and look­ing the part per­fectly.

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