Next to the elusive Evo VII, it seems Evo X owners almost as hard to find. Fortunately, our friend Nathan at Mitsubishi tipped us to the inspiring story of Ryan Gates, which we’re excited to share with you today, in Ryan’s own words.
What’s your real name? Where do you live?
My name is Ryan Gates and I’ve lived in Minneapolis, MN, my entire life.
What do you do for a living?
I drive across the country to drive my car… listening to music a lot.
Your website prominently states, “Follow you dreams, to the max!” What is your dream?
Haha, glad to see that someone noticed! That’s actually a quote from ‘Party Down’, the quote is something I really try to live by. My dream is to be happy, live well, and surround myself with my favorite people while doing what we all love. My main focus is on racing and driving fun cars, but there are a lot of other things I dream of doing… one of them is to live New Zealand with time to explore.
What originally attracted you the Evo X? How did you come to own yours?
Before I picked up the Evo X, I had a Wicked White Evo IX MR. It was my daily driver that I would occasionally take to the track. When the Evo X was announced, everyone was skeptical, usually pretty negative about it too, and I just kept thinkin’ there is no way Mitsubishi would make an Evo that’s worse. When Brookdale Mitsubishi up here in MN got their first Evo X in February 2008, I went and looked at it for awhile. That night I decided on a whim to put my Evo IX up for sale. In under 26 minutes, the car was sold – locally – for cash! That was it. I was getting an Evo X now, haha. The next day, Valentine’s Day, I had a new Octane Blue Evo X w/SSS back home in the garage. Pretty much fate ever since!
What’s your selection criteria for the events you run?
In the past, I tried to run the entire series of Redline T/A mainly to get out there as much as possible. In 2009 that worked out really well, but after a pretty disastrous and extremely stressful year in ’10, my thought process has changed a bit. From now on, I’ll be using the car for what I originally intended, fun! For 2011, you’ll see the car out competing for sure, but only at events I really want to attend… not limited to just Time Attack either.
What makes/models represent your closest competition? How does the Evo compare?
The obvious competitors are other Evos and STis, but in 2010 there were a few Nissan GTRs that stepped up and were quick. There are other cars out there too, some very fast BMWs and Audis, but those aren’t as common. I’d like to see more variety in my competition, look for that in 2011.
Tell us about a time something broke and what it took to fix it.
Well I have plenty of different situations I could give you here… haha. I’ll go with the latest story though – Super Lap Battle Finals 2010.
After spending over a month with the car cleaning, upgrading, rebuilding, restoring, etc., I took the car out to SLB feeling really good about finishing the year off with a great result. I didn’t make it out for Saturday practice, which was fine, because I spent the day going over all the little details on the car; making sure it’d be perfect for Sunday. So then Sunday morning Warm Up session comes around and I head out on a warm up lap before going all out to test the car.
Without even completing that warm up lap, the car just died… while cruisin’, too. So I coasted to a stop, got towed in, and then went to work in the garage to diagnose. My first thought was something electrical because it shut off so suddenly without any noise, but it turned out to be so much worse. I took the valve cover off to find the timing chain sitting there completely off the gears. It was laying there limp. The day was done, the guys at AMS confirmed that after they took a quick look over the car at the track. So now my Evo is currently at AMS getting fixed – new valves, pistons, headwork, etc.. There’s a quick look into my 2010 season, haha.
What is your embarrassment moment – a time you made a stupid mistake?
The first time I met Bryan from JRZ Suspension back in early 2009. Probably the most embarrassing moment I can think of. We were at Buttonwillow to get the baseline testing done on my new JRZ Triples. I was extremely under prepared. So much so, I had to run the car on track without harnesses and only two bolts holding my seat in place. Luckily Bryan is the best person I’ve had the opportunity to work with. He wasn’t quick to judge and we ended up winning that weekend!
What is your finest hour – a time you saw everything come together perfectly?
Hasn’t happened yet.
What’s the best part about sponsored racer? The most challenging?
My favorite part is working with these huge companies! It’s always fun to see how well I can help them reach their goals, whatever they may be. You can use the same answer for the 2nd part of the question too, haha.
What keeps you going; keeps you motivated?
I dream huge so I’m constantly working to make it all happen. That, and I really enjoy cars… and hate failing. And a Guards Red GT2RS.
What’s next for your Evo? Your team?
A lot of fun! Like I mentioned, after 2010 I’m really looking to get back to the root of all of this, fun. I’m working with a great film crew – Film Matters – to finally turn some of our ideas into a reality. These guys are great, so look for some cool content featuring the Evo and my Ralliart Sportback over the winter and throughout 2011. Beyond that, you may see me racing in a different series driving something with an engine in the back. Maybe.
Who has helped you the most along the way with the Evo?
My family has been huge. Always there for support and they’ve helped me with a lot of decisions over the past few years. Car wise… AMS Performance has always been there for me. Without them, the car would be no where near its current level of performance… it’s just so fast. This season, we developed the car on the fly, and with that there were a lot of little problems at each event. I can’t wait to show what the car can really do!
What aspects of competition are most interesting to you?
Who are your sponsors and how have they helped?
I’m very lucky to have a good group of sponsors that all help out in different ways. The main thing my sponsors help with is car development. I push this car as hard as I possibly can, and anytime an upgrade is needed it’s the sponsors that step up with a new and/or upgraded part. Also, companies like etnies, Film Matters, Andy Blackmore Design, etc. keep it interesting for me. They’re they creative side to all of this and it’s cool to work with them to turn ideas into reality. Pretty soon here you’ll have a better understanding to what I mean by that.
Nitto Tires | AMS Performance | etnies | K&N | JRZ Suspension | RAYS | Girodisc | Carbonetic | JE Pistons
Evasive Motorsports | Mitsubishi Motors | Andy Blackmore Design | Film Matters | Cinesthetics | Phenom Global | Aeromotions
How did you get into the industry? That is, how were you able to cross over into the realm of being able to make a living as a wheel man?
It’s pretty simple… I just bought my Evo X and went to the track. Timing had a lot to do with my jump into the car industry, the Evo X was just coming out and people were really curious to see what it could do. I was lucky enough to grab the car early and start proving it’s worth to the masses with unique coverage online.
What advice would you give to those who would like to follow in your footsteps and race for a living? How do we go about doing that? What kind of role do sponsorships play and what tips could you share to help others achieve their dreams to that end?
The best advice I could give is to do it all for fun, be nice to people and provide something genuinely unique to your target audience. If you’re out there with the sole intent to make money, you might end up discouraged quite quickly. It’s extremely hard to legitimately make money while racing, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Like I mentioned earlier, I had timing on my side and there was a window of opportunity for me to prove what this new platform could do. I took full advantage of that, and did it for the right reasons, and thankfully things are starting to pay off.
We’ll be looking forward to seeing just Ryan – and his sponsors – come up with in 2011. Sounds like some exciting, right-brain thinkers have some big ideas. Big ideas rule.
Special thanks to Ryan for sharing his stories and advice and, again, to our friend Nathan at Mitsubishi for steering us in Ryan’s direction. None of us can do any of this alone, right?
How about you?
- What are your automotive dreams?
- How confident are you that you’re on-track to achieve them?
- How can the Gearbox community help you achieve them?