- With racing in his blood, it was only a matter of time before Cameron Soules lined up on the drag strip himself.
- Cameron chose the stout Mitsubishi Evo 8 as the perfect platform to build his ideal single-digit attack car.
- Working with a “no expense spared” mindset and some of the best names in the business, Cameron’s Evo 8 boasts a ferocious 1100whp.
- The local drag strip quarter-mile record is 9.1 seconds @ 156mph, which Cameron aims to best when he finally puts all of the Evo’s power onto the pavement.
Fathers like to see their sons follow in their footsteps. For muscle car dads, that might mean seeing their sons pick up a Mustang or Camaro to build in the family garage. Cameron Soules ultimately chose a different path, but his father was happy to see him as a part of the hobby regardless.
Cameron’s father crewed for a few NASCAR cup teams over the years, so naturally, his son was drawn towards racing and spent countless hours after school in the fabrication shop. There, Cameron was able to nurture his love for the import scene, enjoying the little four and six-cylinders that beat up on the big V8 guys. His first build was a 2019 FK8 Civic Type R, and like most first attempts, it began its life as a parking lot show car until he got the itch to go fast. Unlike previous generation Hondas, the FK8 wasn’t as well-suited to drag racing and power-making potential, so Soules soon parted ways with it to start fresh.
THE PERFECT PLATFORM
After a valuable learning lesson with the Type R, Soules determined that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution would be a much better platform for his goals. As ever, the “Evo” is a four-door turbo four, five-speed, all-wheel drive platform that has proven itself many times over to be extremely fast and reliable. Courtesy of Paul Walker and the Fast and Furious franchise, the 8th generation (Evo 8) became a popular choice amongst the JDM tuner scene. Like all Evolutions, much of the tech trickled down from the Mitsubishi rally program, including the tried and true 4G63 engine. With that kind of motorsport upbringing, Soules knew there was potential to go fast at the drag strip with this platform.
With a target in mind, Cameron scoured Facebook marketplace to find the perfect specimen. Eventually, he ran across this 2003 Tarmac Black example and bought it thinking that, despite the considerable amount of upgrades, it would be as clean as advertised. Of course, if you’ve bought anything off Facebook, there’s a chance that not everything comes up roses.
AN IMPERFECT START
Unfortunately for Soules, this Evo had a slew of surprises in store. Rust in the fuel tank killed two fuel pumps and all four injectors, it wouldn’t stay running when it was unloaded, the transmission whined, and the lower ball joint popped out when he was driving it because it had two misused bolts. Even worse, the previous owner claimed that the 3,500-mile motor had upgraded rods and pistons, but both weren’t there. It goes to show you how truthful people can be.
Despite the shortcomings, the car was still worth it. Soules kept most of the exterior as the factory intended, aside from a few pieces that needed replacing. He added some JDM flare with the EVO 9 headlights and rear bumper. He replaced the factory taillights with EVO 9 MR units to give off the “Euro” look and fit a Seibon carbon fiber hood to shave some weight. From here, it was all drag strip prep: STM provided him with some carbon bumper shutters and parachute kit, and in sharp contrast to his more show-worthy Type R, his Evo was fitted with 15-inch Belak Industries wheels wrapped in grippy Toyo 225/5015 R888s.
Underneath, STM drag brakes provide stopping power to the front, while factory-style Brembos take care of the rear. Getting an all-wheel drive car to launch is no easy task, but with the help of D2/STM drag spec coilovers on all four corners, the Evo will surely leave the line much smoother.
With the rest of the car prepped for loftier power numbers, Soules got to work on massaging the 4G63 with a “no expenses spared” mindset. Along with Darius from Driven Performance, he installed a custom set of outlaw pistons and aluminum rods (one of three cars in the world with the combination), GSC S2 cams, a complete Supertech valvetrain, a Skunk2 Racing intake manifold, and a host of other goodies. Rather than a 2.3-liter stroker, he used a polished 88mm stock stroke crank to create a “Long Rod” 2.0-liter motor to maximize revs.
The forward-facing Precision 6875 turbo sits within sight behind the grill. Two Turbosmart 40mm Comgate wastegate pipes not-so-discreetly exit the hood’s heat vent. An Archer Fab billet front mount was integrated into the bumper exit titanium exhaust — another beautiful Darius creation. All said and done, the team estimates that the Evo makes a mind-boggling, yet completely streetable 1100whp.
To cope with the extra power, Soules sought to upgrade the drivetrain with a Shep Trans Stage 1 transmission. Shifts go through a billet CAE shifter, and an Exedy triple-disc clutch links the drivetrain together. A Shep transfer case coupled with a Buschur Racing mustache bar stiffens it all up.
With everything that Soules has done to his Evo 8, his goals are clear: beat the local quarter-mile record of 9.1 seconds at 156mph. If this is something he’s able to achieve, it’d be a massive achievement. Keep in mind that this Evo is not a cut-up race car — with its factory-optioned Recaros still in place, it’s still mostly stock. Still, with the help of friends like Darius at Driven Performance, Miguel at Shift’d Raceworks, Justin at Custom Kingz, and Tristan at Stage Motorsports, he’s been able to build the car of his dreams. If this build sheet indicates what’s in store, Soules should deepen this record into the 8s and drive it home with ease.
Cameron Soules | 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII
|Exterior:||Seibon carbon fiber hood, OEM JDM Evo 9 MR taillights, OEM USDM Evo 9 MR side mirrors, OEM JDM Evo 9 rear bumper, STM carbon fiber bumper shutters, STM parachute kit, Raw Performance front fender spacers|
|Interior:||AEM wideband gauges (oil pressure, boost), Autopower 6-point cage, CAE shifter|
|Engine/Drivetrain:||Long rod 2.0 4G63, Kiggly 12-tooth crank trigger, Kiggly HLA, ARP Trutime adjustable cam gears, ARP 625+ head studs, ARP main studs, Fathouse Fab catch can, Outlaw 10:1 pistons, ACL race bearings, custom rings, GSC Power S2 cams, Supertech valve springs, Spal fan, CSF half-sized radiator, Precision 6875 turbo, Tail Q 50mm BOV, Twin 40mm Turbosmart Complete wastegates, Pro EFI boost controller, STM 5" race intercooler, Frontline Fabrications black billet valve cover, Skunk2 Racing intake manifold, Magnafuel 750 fuel pump, Alpha Injection 2600 injectors, AEM ignition coils, OHM 10mm racing wires, Archer Fabrications billet T4 headers, Driven Performance titanium exhaust, Shift'd Raceworks titanium dress up bolts, Shep Stage 1 transmission, Exedy triple-disc clutch assembly, solid rear diff bushings, built transfer case with Wavetrac LSD, 20-gal trunk mounted fuel cell, Radium Engineering big bore fuel rail, Magnafuel big bore fuel pressure regulator, AEM V2 standalone ECU|
|Brakes/Suspension:||STM mini brake kit up front, Wilwood calipers, scalloped race rotors, STM ABS delete, STM staging brakes, D2 Racing coilovers, Swift springs, Buschur Racing mustache bar, Whiteline roll center kit|
|Wheels/Tires:||Belak Industries 15x8.5 wheels, Toyo 225/5015 R888s|