Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Black Fibre

  Text by: Ben Photos by: Ben

The passion we have for cars is something rather unexplained  For most cases I know, it is something we have from infancy and with which we grow. The day we get our first set of wheels is a day we will remember our whole life. For Bernie, this special day happened about 6 years ago when he took the keys of his ’06 Mazda Rx-8. While the modifying bug had not bitten him yet, he quickly started getting more exposure to the horizon-broadening potential of aftermarket parts and the rest, as they say, is history.

His time with his beloved Rx-8 came to an end 2 years ago, when he had to change his ride. His ‘8 was fun, but now he was looking at upping his game. The rules were simple: it had to be manual, and it had to be Japanese. His list of potential candidates, was trimmed down to 2 finalists: the 5 door STi or the Evo X. Reliving the age-old rivalry of these two models, Bernie had to make a call. After test-driving and researching on modifying avenues of both models, the ’09 5-speed manual Evo X GSR won him over.

Then began the part we all love: parts-hunting. Bernie wanted to get a visually subtle but potent street/track machine tuned to his liking and driving style. Countless hours of research later, he had his plan of action. His parts list did not aim at getting his power plant to churn out a massive army of horses, but worked to improve the handling. An additional consideration was given to comfort, as this was also his daily driver.

With a clear idea in mind, he headed over to Monster Garage, where he had his Rx-8 built previously, and set upon enhancing his AWD toy.

For the exterior, Bernie found that C-West’s designs were on the ball and went ahead with the whole kit comprising of the front bumper with carbon fibre canards, side skirts and rear bumper. Still sticking to C-West he then added their GT-wing to add downforce on the rear axle. 

Finally, C-West’s carbon fibre vented bonnet with rain guard was installed, held in place by D1 spec aero catches, shedding weight in the front and helping with the air flow in the engine bay.

Hunting for more weaved carbon goodness, he turned to CarbonRevo for their carbon fibre J-panels and Replica Varis carbon fibre fender vents. The final touch was brought by adorning the doors with carbon fibre Ganador mirrors.

To complete the exterior looks, Bernie went ahead with the popular (for a good reason) Volks Racing TE37-SL sized 18”x9.5J with a +22 offset, shod in Goodyear Eagle RS. The gunmetal spokes with chrome lip fits the style of the Evo perfectly and the wheels definitely earns their share of nods.

Inside, the driver’s side Recaro RS-G Alcantara Edition bucket seat proudly shows off its red Raemco 6 point racing harness fastened behind the rear seats. Bernie fit in a Tomei gear knob, but decided to keep the steering wheel and pedals as they came from the factory.

From behind the wheel, it is hard to ignore the Type BF Défi gauges staring at you in the face, mounted on their Carbing carbon fibre meter hood. The five gauges read out the essentials: fuel and oil pressures, oil and water temperatures and, of course, boost. 

On the left of the steering wheel, an Blitz Boost Controller Type R (Double Solenoid) allows Bernie to fine-tune his settings on the fly and find that sweet spot where the car behaves exactly the way he wants.

As mentioned before, this car is also his daily, thus Bernie chose to keep the stock Recaro passenger seat for comfort and practicality, and added in a Pioneer AVH-P4350DVD head unit with custom panel for audio entertainment.

If things were not interesting yet, it’s under the skirts that the fun really begins. As Bernie stated that his first aim was to improve on the handling, he browsed around for the right goodies. His past experience with his Rx-8 had him knock on Aragosta’s door for their Type S coilovers for a reliable, improved handling.

He then proceeded to make his Evo X stiffer with a Carbing 2 point front strut bar with brake stopper that can be seen peeking through the vent of the C-West hood. At the back, a Carbing 2 point rear strut bar keeps things held up tight. Seeking even better control, Bernie opted for Whiteline front and rear anti-roll bars, front and rear end links and roll centre adjuster to complete the handling package.

After making some extra research, he also bought Spoon’s Rigid Collar. “When I first saw them,they didn't look impressive. I was wondering how these little rings could really make so much of a difference” Bernie recalls. “But after installing them, I was simply amazed at how much my car’s handling characteristic had improved and I never regretted installing them since!”

The way Rigid Collar work is simple yet the results are impressive. These fit in the boltholes linking the chassis panel and the subframe and prevent these two from moving, while perfecting the geometry of the car. Simple yet deadly, this simple fix gives any car a much improved handling.

While Bernie is still running the OEM Brembo callipers behind his TE37-SL’s, he gave them stronger teeth in the form of Ferodo 2500 Street pads, and gave them Girodisc 2 piece rotors at the front and rear to munch on. To prevent any brake fade during demanding track days, he completed the set with Goodrich stainless steel braided hoses.

With such a throughout handling package, anyone would agree that his Evo X could handle a tad more power. Bernie surely did not miss that out, and while he wanted to keep things on a streetable level, he still could not help but throw in some goodies under the hood. Just a handful of them. Really.

Under the Colt Speed metal engine cover, the engine breathes through a Blitz Power Suction SS air intake with carbon fibre cover. While the turbo has been kept stock, Bernie has it nicely complemented by a Synapse diverter valve with custom steel BOV piping, a Carfeels custom steel turbo return line and upgraded to a more reliable ARC upper intercooler piping. To prevent build up of oil on the engine intake when his Evo is driven hard, Bernie fitted a Cusco oil catch tank.

Ensuring that the engine never gets a dry throat is a Walbro fuel pump linked to a SARD fuel pressure regulator, which maintains a constant fuel pressure and allows for a proper fuel atomisation for an optimal combustion at all times. The OEM injectors are fed through a custom Carfeels fuel rail. Keeping the oil cooled down properly is a Monster Garage 15-row oil cooler with custom parallel adaptor.

To properly transfer his Evo’s 433bhp and 591Nm of torque to all four wheels, Bernie opted for an OS Giken twin plate clutch and fitted an Evo 9 steel clutch pump to complete the drive-line. As a final touch, to optimise his engine’s operation Bernie went to see Rommel to have his EcuTek dyno tuned.

Bernie is a track enthusiast, and while he is satisfied to roll everyday with a rather mild exhaust system consisting of an LTA friendly, law abiding Trust PE II exhaust plugged to the OEM manifold, downpipe and catalytic converter, he has a second set in his garage that he takes out for the track days. This secondary more serious setup consists of a FullRace manifold, 3"test pipe, Tomei wide mouth turbo downpipe and a thunderous Tomei Expreme titanium exhaust. Simply talking about this setup makes Bernie smile as it is, in his opinion, the best modification he has done to his car, along with the Rigid Collar. “The Tomei exhaust gave me the previous generations’ Evo exhaust note, unlike those of other brands, and I instantly fell in love with it when I first heard it” He states.

As we all know, a build is never really over, and Bernie is now eyeing on a new set of brakes as he finds that his current setup is starting to struggle handling his black-and-fibre monster on the track. He is also considering adding undercarriage member braces to push the handling a notch further. “However, this is an Evo!” he says with a laugh, “the temptation to change parts is extremely great, and I just may buy some things on impulse!”


Lancer Evolution X GSR 2009
2.0-litre DOHC turbocharged I4
5 Speed Manual
Drive Layout
Max Power
433bhp / 591Nm


C-West Front bumper with carbon fibre canards
C-West rear bumper
C-West sideskirts
C-West carbon fibre vented bonnet with rain guard
D1 Spec aero catch
C-West GT-Wing
Ganador carbon fibre mirrors
CarboRevo carbon fibre J-panels
CarboRevo Replica Varis carbon fibre fender vents


Recaro RS-G Alcantara Edition (Driver)
Stock Recaro (Passenger)
Raemco 6 pt racing harness
Type BF Défi Gauges: oil temp., water temp., fuel press., oil pres., boost
Carbing carbon fibre meter hood
Tomei Gearknob
Pioneer AVH-P4350 DVD head unit with custom panel


Blitz Power Suction SS Air Intake with Carbon Fibre cover
Track setup: FullRace Manifold
3"test pipe
Tomei Wide mouth Turbo Downpipe
Tomei Expreme Titanium Exhaust
Street setup: OEM manifold
OEM Downpipe
OEM catalytic converter
Trust PE II Exhaust
Cooling Systems
Monster Garage 15-row oil cooler w/custom Parallel Adaptor
ARC Upper Intercooler Piping
OEM Turbo
Synapse Diverter Valve with custom steel BOV piping
Carfeels custom steel turbo return line
Blitz Boost Controller Type R (Double Solenoid)
Carfeels Custom fuel rail
SARD Fuel Regulator
Walbro Fuel pump
Drive line
OS Giken Twin Plate Clutch
Evo 9 Steel clutch pump
Colt Speed metal engine cover
Cusco oil catch tank


Aragosta Type S
Volks Racing TE37-SL 18”x9.5J offset +22
Goodyear Eagle RS
OEM Brembo callipers
Girodisc 2 piece front and rear rotors
Ferodo 2500 Street pads
Goodrich stainless steel braided hoses
Carbing 2 point front strut bar with brake stopper
Carbing 2 point rear strut bar
Whiteline front & rear anti-roll bar
Whiteline front & rear end links
Whiteline Roll center adjuster
Spoon Rigid Collar

Special Thanks:
“First off, I would like to thank my parents first, if it wasn't for them I wouldn't have had the freedom or opportunity to indulge myself in such an expensive hobby. Heaven knows the number of nights my mom stayed up wondering where the heck I was at 3am in the morning, while I was hanging out with the car club guys. Or the number of times she freaked out whenever I headed up North to the track.

Next, I would like to thank is the staff at Monster Garage who taught me the most about modifying a car but also how a car actually works.

Finally, I would like to also thank the members of the Rx-8 Club Singapore. You guys have made my car journey enjoyable and exciting, and I truly treasure the friendships I have with you all!”


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