Welcome to the family.
Since its inception in 1992, the Lancer Evolution has lived up to its name and done plenty of changing, growing and, well, evolving. Not only are we in the 10th iteration of the car, but there have been a number of special sub-models along the way, such as the Tommi Mäkinen Edition, the RS Sprint (UK) and the infamous FQ versions (UK). However on March 8, 2012 a very unique new member became part of the Evolution family tree. The 311RS. And seeing as how the special versions are usually reserved for other parts of the world, this time it’s us Yanks who get the cool one. This one is born and bred in the good old US of A.
The 311RS starts life as an off-the-shelf Evolution X GSR, but then the transformation begins. The car’s good looks are the brainchild of Jon Sibal, and I have to say that I found the car absolutely stunning in person. The simple livery is enough to give the car its own personality without going over the top, and is set off by a shade of blue unique to the 311RS. The wheels receive the treatment as well, to round off the package. The interior is finished in Etnies E-Suede, the mother of suede-like synthetics.
An additional 120.8 horsepower and 96.2 lb-ft of torque have been realized over the factory spec Evo X, due to some intake and exhaust modifications as well as a careful recalibration of the engine’s computer. A better ride and handling are achieved with a number of high quality suspension components from JRZ. Grip and stance are improved with a set of 18×10.5” wheels from Volk Racing shod with Nitto’s sticky NT05 tires, sized 285/35/18. The car then receives a proven performance alignment setup from the pros at Evasive Motorsports. Slowing this rapid vehicle comes easier thanks to some lightweight two piece rotors from Girodisc, brake pads utilizing a compound specific to the 311RS which are backed by titanium heat shields, and steel braided brake lines. Helping the car stay stuck to ground are a front lip spoiler from JDP Engineering and a Voltex Gurney Flap which adheres to the factory rear wing.
The Whole Package.
All too often with modified cars, you end up improving one area while neglecting another resulting in an unbalanced car. This can leave the user with a vehicle that has become so focused that it is no longer enjoyable on the street. Or maybe the parts were selected without consideration of how they would interact, making the car perform at a lower level than when it was stock. The 311RS on the other hand was designed to excel in all areas, including street performance, which is where I suspect that these cars will spend most of their time. The car’s tagline says it all: “Developed on the track, prepared for the street.”
Another neat fact is that a number of the components, such as the JRZ RS-1 coilovers, were developed on this car, with the intention of being a dual duty part. To take it one step further, the 311RS’s creator, Ryan Gates, has been competing in Time Attack racing with an Evolution X since the car’s US debut in 2008. Suffice to say he knows a thing or two about these vehicles. Being an enthusiast himself, Ryan had the foresight to allow buyers to further tailor the car to their own personal needs. For example, there will be option packages that increase the car’s track capabilities even further, to parallel his championship winning 750whp Time Attack monster. There’s even a “Camera Pack” which includes two GoPro Hero2 cameras, integrated playback system and portable memory so one can record their adventures.
So, does it work? Short answer = yes. And it seems to work quite well, actually. The car clicked off a 1:58.8 at Buttonwillow’s infamous CW13 configuration. This feat was accomplished on the same Nitto NT05 tires that are standard issue on the 311RS, and in this case, that had seen 12,000 miles and countless heat cycles to boot. It is estimated that the car will be able to accelerate to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, and get through the 1/4 mile in the mid-to-low 12 second range. Pretty impressive for a warrantied, street-legal car that will transport you and 3 of your friends wherever you’d like in climate controlled comfort.
Gearbox Magazine was of the lucky few invited to the 311RS release party, which took place in Southern California at the Oakley Headquarters. Just going to Oakley is cool, but then throw a party on top of it and you’re in for a good time. First of all, Oakley HQ is an amazing place! If you ever get a chance, be sure to stop by and check it out. It looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie. The receiving area, for example, features a quartet of vintage Ejection Seats. The event featured DJ’s, beautiful women, an open bar, free 311RS swag, and of course, the 311RS was on display out front, greeting everyone as they arrived. Ryan’s Time Attack car was on display as well. After hanging out for a bit, we moved into Oakley’s 400 seat amphitheater for a Power Point presentation and a short film on the 311RS. The film featured some amazing footage, a lot of which was shot in Sonoma, CA, on and around Infineon Raceway. Film production was quite good, thanks to state of the art equipment and the guys at Film Matters.
Only 11 of these special vehicles will be built. Production is scheduled to begin after the final phase of development, which involves three competition events: The Texas Mile; The Modified Tuner Shootout; and my personal favorite, the One Lap of America 2012. Deliveries could begin as early as Summer ’12. Pricing starts at $49k. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and/or visit the website www.311rs.com.
What is your definition of “street car”? As gearheads, we may be much more lenient with our requirements for something that can be called a street car. For some of us, our race car may even be a street driven car! On the other hand, some of us may be very conservative with what we will let fly on the street.
- What characteristics are important for your street car?
- Where do you draw the line between street car and race car?