6 Years of Top-Flight Competition on the same set of Bushes!
There’s one car in the UK, if not Europe - and possibly the world - that defines the virtues of SuperPro products more than any other. It has proved without question that SuperPro components stay in grade far longer than standard parts and do so successfully in some of the most demanding and technically challenging conditions – even during the heat of competition. That car is a three-time Time Attack Championship winning 2005 Mitsubishi Evolution IX GT.
Time Attack originated in Japan in the 1980s to provide a showcase for the rapidly growing tuning aftermarket where regular production cars were modified in order to increase performance. Many of them remained street legal and initially went head-to-head on the public roads. As the technology and engineering developed so did the speeds and it was inevitable that the one-to-one shoot-outs would migrate to the circuits.
The sport became more-and-more popular as tuning companies pushed the boundaries of what could be done to a production car in order to set the fastest lap. Power, aerodynamics, grip and handling were all exploited to the limit, but underneath it all, most cars retained the original manufacturer’s chassis and major components.
It wasn’t until the mid 2000s when Time Attack came to the UK, with the first full season of events taking place in 2006. As the years progressed, the championship went from strength-to-strength and, now accredited by the MSA (Motor Sport Association), the governing body for motorsport in the UK, the series regularly sees entries of over 60 cars.
Shipped into Britain in late 2005 - exactly the same time as the Time Attack Championship was launched in the UK - the said Mitsubishi stayed with its first owner for only a short time before it was bought by Lee Broadhurst, an aspiring competitor from Mansfield. Initially the car was used for trackdays and was gradually modified to improve its performance.
In May 2006 the first Time Attack event was held and after seeing how the series had developed, Broadhurst entered the next two seasons and achieved a considerable amount of success. Deciding to move up to the Pro class, he set about making some serious modifications, but the scale of the work meant that he sat out the entire 2009 season.
For the start of the 2009 season the car emerged fully caged, substantially lightened, more powerful and almost totally carbon fibre panelled. But although now heavily modified, the car retained its original shell and every single suspension pickup point in its original position. The front subframe was totally unmodified and the rear subframe standard, other than the removal of a cast-iron link bar.
Later in the season the Evo was bought by motorsport enthusiast Phil White, who together with tuning specialists NR Autosport, set about improving the car even further – and one of those improvements was the fitting of SuperPro bushes.
With no aspirations to drive himself, White employed the services of experienced Time Attack competitor Gavin Renshaw. The rest, as they say, is history, as Renshaw went on to take an unrivalled three Time Attack Pro Class championship titles in succession in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Notably, when the championship visited Cadwell Park in April 2013, Renshaw’s lap of 1:26.500 not only set a Time Attack lap record, but it was also the fastest ever lap by a saloon car on a circuit where it’s twists, turns and undulations making it one of the most technically demanding in Europe. In fact, it was only in May of this year that the record was finally beaten.
Not taking into account the 100s of laps that were carried out in testing and a number of sprints and demonstration events too, the three championships combined represented over 20 Time Attack rounds. It was hardly surprising then that Renshaw and White took a step back in 2014 with the car only appearing on a few occasions. But when it did, it usually won or a set a new lap record.
The Evo was bought in 2015 by its present owner, Andrew Barbour – the Scot a former Time Attack Champion in the Club Pro Class. A programme of selected events in the UK, Holland and Germany since then has continued to prove that the now well-known Mitsubishi Evolution is still a force to be reckoned with and continues to set records and take podium positions to this day.
But there’s one more impressive statistic about the car. Since they were first fitted at the start of the 2011 season, the SuperPro bushes have never been changed and, on inspection, don’t need to be either, even after the stresses and strains of competition that’s included a string of fastest laps, event and championship victories.
If this isn’t the ultimate accolade for SuperPro products, then we don’t know what is.