Evolution VII

 

The Professional Awesome! Evolution VII

Currently the main car in Professional Awesome’s stable, Dan O’Donnell’s weapon of choice for dispatching mile after mile of tarmac is a 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII Ralliart RSII. Thankfully, the car has a repertoire that lives up to its long title. Dan never intended for the Evolution to become a track star, but as he attended more events, he saw potential. Import car enthusiasts may realize that the seventh iteration of Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution was never available in North America, but in a lucky series of events, a rare example of Mitsubishi’s top performer found its way into Dan’s possession.

Fans braving the weather to take a look at the PA! Evolution before its track time.

The car was originally prepared to the Ralliart RS-II spec, which fitted the Evolution with a mild version of anti-lag, weight reduction over the stock Evolution, uprated suspension, and other modifications, all the while retaining both a Mitsubishi-backed warranty and air conditioning. Another enthusiast in America originally found the Evolution available for purchase overseas and had imported it for his brother, who had aspirations of racing it himself.

If you’re on track and you see this bearing down on you, do yourself a favor and point the car by. You’ll be happy you did.

With a stroke of good fortune, Dan found the Evolution listed for sale online and was instantly attached to the idea of owning a rare and exceptional automobile. Dan and Mike made the trip down to Kentucky to retrieve the Evolution and returned to Lafayette at 3am, a proud owner. At the beginning, Dan had no intentions to turn the Evolution into a fire-breathing race machine, but after a few autocrosses, the temptation to race became too great. Having read about the Redline Time Attack series in 2008 in the pages of the late, great Sport Compact Car magazine, Dan had his sights set on entering the quickly expanding sport of Time Attack racing. Over the winter months of 2008 and early 2009, Dan analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the Evolution and began a thorough reworking of the car.

Testing at Gingerman in early 2010, where we handily removed 4 seconds off of last year’s times. With less power. We have since fixed the power issue, we’ll let you figure out what that’s meant for our lap times. Hint: Faster.

Dan began with making small modifications to the Evolution. A set of coilovers led to a full exhaust, which led to a seemingly never-ending list of parts. To see the current modifications list, click here. The modifications have already made the Evolution VII an impressive car, but Professional Awesome is always striving to create a truly track-dominating automobile. In 2010, Professional Awesome plans to add more power, further hone the handling, strip more weight, and create a class-legal aerodynamics package. With the help of Professional Awesome’s current sponsors, as well as that of potential future sponsors, 2010 should see the advent of an even more impressive Evolution.

En route to a first place finish at the Autobahn Country Club, 2010. Photo courtesy of Redline Time Attack.