Street Power Magazine 8/97
Reprinted with Permission
One of the most prestigious rallies in the world is the Pikes Peak Hill
Climb held in Colorado every July 4. Its grueling 156 turn course
stretches across 12.42 miles to the summit at 14,110 feet. At that
altitude, the air is thin enough to make it difficult for humans to
breath. you can imagine what it does to cars.
Conquering the Peak is no simple task, and to do well takes a
combination of experience, skill and determination. Road/Race Engineering
from Huntington Beach, California has been to the Peak and come away as
record holders. In 1996, Kristof Huszti's Mitsubishi Eclipse Turbo,
prepared by Road/Race Engineering, took the two-wheel-drive record away
from Rod Millen, who had set it in a Hyundai Scoupe a few days earlier.
Huszti's time of 13:04.03 was 12 seconds ahead of Millen's and a
significant in his - and Road/Race's.
So what do the performance experts at Road/Race do when they're not
The white Eclipse you see here is a good example. Owned by Mario Loria
of Westminster, California, it at first appears to be a lesser, slightly
warmed-over Eclipse. Obviously lowered, with nice wheels and tires, one
could assume those and the GReddy exhaust were the only mods made to this
Obviously lowered, with nice wheels and tires, one could assume those
and the GReddy exhaust were the only mods made to this particular GSX. But
there is a visual clue to more power under the hood in the form of small
red, silver and black stripes on the rocker panel. Not an extraneous
decoration, these are Road/Race's colors, and are the only hint
modifications to this car far surpass the superficial.
Mario bought his Eclipse after learning the aftermarket potential of
the vehicle. After his purchase, he contacted Mike Welch at Road/Race and
work began. The first stage was simple enough: The stock air box was
swapped for a K&N performance air filter, and exhaust flow was freed
up with a GReddy cat-back system.
The next stage consisted of slightly more involved modifications. A
GReddy S-type brow-off valve was substituted for the stock unit (which are
notorious for leaking), and allowed higher maximum boost. A manual boost
controller was installed in the cockpit and a GReddy graduated white-faced
boost meter was mounted on the A-pillar.
But it still wasn't enough. The stock intercooler on the Eclipse is
very small, and tucked in front of the right front wheel. This was removed
and replaced with a larger, more efficient unit in the same location.
Bigger intercooler pipes were fabricated by Road/Race. The bumper was
modified to allow more air into the intercooler, and the fender well liner
was slotted to allow air to exit more quickly, further enhancing the
efficiency of the intercooler. Because the engine was getting more boost
and therefore more fuel the ignition was upgraded slightly with Magnecor
8.5mm spark plug wires and NGK racing plugs to help avoid detonation when
the boost was cranked up.
The next step involved chassis modifications to help improve chassis
stiffness and therefore handling. Road/Race installed their upper strut
tower braces in the front and rear, supplementing the front with an extra
bar that connected the two lower strut mounts. With more power comes
higher speeds, along with an increased awareness of safety. Schroth
harnesses were installed as a result. Finally, a turbo timer was installed
to keep the turbo from cooking itself.
By this time, the stock turbo was stretched to the limit. Road/Race
substituted in a much larger TD05-16G Mitsubishi turbo, which provides
about 20 pounds of boost. The compressor housing and exhaust housing were
both ported along with the exhaust manifold to maximize exhaust flow.
Since the bigger turbo was capable of much higher boost than the stock
unit, a GReddy PRofec fuzzy logic boost controller was installed to keep
better track of boost. An air fuel meter was also installed in the cockpit
to keep Mario apprised of his engine's condition.
The suspension setup was proving woefully inadequate for the kinds of
speeds the Eclipse was capable of. Road/Race modified a set of GAB Super
HP shocks to be used as an adjustable coil-over setup. Race springs were
modified for more travel, and TSW Hockenheim R wheels wrapped in
225/45ZR-17 BF Goodrich tires were put on all four corners. The brakes
were supplemented with Porterfield carbon-Kevlar pads and stainless steel
braided brake lines.
By now, the stock clutch had met its match, and was replaced with a
Clutch Masters full-face Kevlar clutch and pressure plate. The in-tank
fuel pump was upgraded to a higher-flow unit.
Because the car is all-wheel drive, it is impossible to dyno. However,
based on front-wheel drive cars with similar modifications, Mike from
Road/Race estimates power in the 320-hp range. More importantly, the car
is not unusable for the street. The ride is firm, but hardly bone jarring.
Although the bigger turbo does take a little while to spool up, its not as
leggy as we expected.
And when it comes on, watch out. The car launches ahead like it was
fired out of a slingshot, racing to red line as fast as you can shift.
Mario says he wanted a high-performance supercar he could drive every day.
With their Peak performance to work from, Road/Race delivered.