Change can be bad but change can also be good. Giving up a passion in Italian cars after 10 years of commitment is a big change, but one that Matty Lawson doesn’t regret.
In just 3 short years Matty has managed to transform his “nearly” standard Evo IV into a full on track weapon!
Matty was tired of the Italian car scene. He had owned some of the quickest Fiat Coupe’s around Aberdeen for sure, if not Scotland, but he wanted to try his hand at tuning some Japanese machinery. Matty started out with a standard looking Evo IV but it packed a lil heat, “with a 2.3 and FP Green turbo it felt fantastic and with a nice round 400/400 it went well, perfect for what I wanted….or so I thought”
The usual thirst for more power grew within Matty, luckily for him he works at one of the UK’s leading performance car tuners Wallace Performance, and what’s even better, Matty (and the car) is their Dyno tuner. After six months of owning his Evo Matty upgraded the turbo to an early production model of the Turbo Technics S205. It made some good power and he knew that some trackdays would let him enjoy the car.
Matty found out on the track though that power isn’t everything and the evo’s handling was OK but not what he wanted from the car. To make things worse the power bug had truly hit and it was time to push the car, but would it be a push too far???
“I decided to push for 600bhp with the S205 turbo, and a Methanol mix of fuel, and did not expect what followed – although in my head I knew I was close to the edge with the internals. It appears H-Beam rods are matched to exactly 600bhp, and on a run approaching the magic 600bhp a con-rod failed. It was obvious what had happened and after the debry was cleared, the damage was clear to see. The block was destroyed, head damaged, turbo damaged, transfer box took a hit as did the radiator…..”
Matty was gutted. I actually remember being at Wallace HQ a few days after and seeing the car, such a shame to see someone push their car jus that little bit further for them to be let down mechanically. But, he knew what to do next ……
After a few months a 2.37 ltr 4G64 engine was built and fitted to the Evo, the run of bad luck hadn’t stopped and the engine spun a bearing after only 1000 miles!
“At this stage I almost gave up. Money was tight, and the Evo dream was fading ”
Luckily for us and Matty, it didn’t. He sourced a nicely priced forged 2ltr lump to fit into the Evo. 500bhp was achieved and after his savage run of bad luck, Matty had to make do for now.
When Wallace Performance moved premises Matty had to devote a lot of his extra time to helping with the move, which meant the Evo would take a back seat. After a few month’s he knew he wanted to get back on track with “The Submarine” aka HMS Abraham (as the car had now been affectionately called, there is a reason for it but im sworn to secrecy). The past handling issue’s reared their ugly head again. After driving so many other Evo’s Matty knew a lot of the problems were down to the Evo IV narrower track, after seeing Adam Kindness’s Impreza overcome a similar problem he knew exactly how to remedy the problem.
Universal bolt on arches were purchased along with some manly 30mm wheel spacers, combined with a 9″ wide wheel all round, it overcame the “narrow” track issue pretty well just in time for Matty’s first competitive run in the Time Attack series. ” I woke up excited, but also very nervous, and as I queued for the first time for practice I looked around at all the cars around me – cars I’ve seen race each year in TA and other events – and I’m in amongst them” This was at Knockhill, a track that he had driven quite a few times before. In his first time out he recorded a respectable finish in Third, only 0.7 seconds off the leader.
After Knockhill Matty wanted to pursue the Time Attack series a bit further, he entered the next round at Brands Hatch, but to be even more competitive he decided to get serious with “Abraham”. He stripped as much as he could from the car and made the journey south on what was now a very tired forged 2ltr block. On one of the warm up laps the engine gave way due to oil starvation, it was the end of his day but he wasn’t too concerned as he knew he had his brand new but used before 2.37 ltr engine sitting in the workshop.
“After getting the short block back from the machine shop I spent the entire weekend in work, all I had was a bare block to start with, but by late sunday night everything was together – timed up, box on ready to drop in” A Norris design’s 1000bhp rated block mated with a ND stage 3 head and GT35/42 turbo is recipe for a fast car! With the Snetterton round of TA approaching fast Matty was in no rush to make it, but when he was offered a place from a customer it was hard to say no. He set the car on low boost and enjoyed the all the hardwork he had put into the car.
2012 has been a year of developing the car even further. A Motec 800 ECU has joined in the fun and the car has been fully mapped with 700 BHP and 600 ft/lbs of torque on V-Power at 2.3 bar of boost. There is still a lot of potential for the engine and car, but with it weighing in at around 1200kgs, its more than a handful! Matty hopes to continue on in the Time Attack series aswell as running in more drag days at Crail Raceweay, where his lowest time to date is 10.8 sec’s on low boost.
Matty’s Italian days are far behind him and to be honest with a car like this it’s not hard to see why!
Matty would like to thank all the guys at Wallace HQ and of course his missus (who has to put up with him!)