After Mid-Ohio, I settled down for a bit. I knew that there was a ton more work that I needed to do to ready both myself and the OneLapGSR. At least I was moving in the right direction. I still had a ton of time, but progress was slow. In the winter of 2014, I bought an aftermarket intercooler from ETS, read a guide on how to do it, and installed it in my garage. Nothing crazy here, and not much to say about it. At this point the car was full-bolt ons, and stayed that way for a while.
I took a work trip in February 2015. I was going to be working in St. Louis for 2 weeks at WashU, so I took the Evo with me. This was the last time that I drove the car any appreciable distance, not in a racing capacity. It's probably for the best anyway. There are dozens of better alternatives for a fun road car. This one was a hog on fuel, was expensive to maintain, uncomfortable for long trips (LOL!). I was about to go down the rabbit hole on modifications and there was no turning back.
In the spring of 2015, I spent a lot of time reading, and learning about turbos. I was doing my homework, and reading a lot. Maximum Boost (Amazon) and the Turbocharging Performance Handbook (Amazon) were like the bible for several months as I dug into learning more about what products were on the market, and which of those would serve me well for OLOA. There was a mountain of examples of what other people had done, on the forums but that wasn't good enough. A number of companies sell stock frame turbo units to add some pep over the stock unit on the X, but I am a sucker for data and expertise. I wanted to purchase a turbo from a company that provided a compressor map, and I wanted to be sure that I could retain as much heatshielding as I could. I had read horror stories on (EvolutionM) about cars with tubular manifolds building up too much heat back by the firewall and catching fire.
This is precisely the kinds of complications I was hoping to avoid on One Lap, so I thought that tubular manifolds weren't an option. In sticking with the stock manifold, there were really only a couple of options that fit what I was looking for. Finally, after picking the brains of anyone that I could, I had settled on purchasing a GTX3071 from Garrett's distributor (ATP Turbo). This seemed like the best option that existed for a modestly sized turbo that wouldn't be too crazy in the performance category. Because I didn't have the resources to do a built motor for OLOA, I wanted something that was going to extract as much performance as possible without a catastrophic connecting rod failure that would put a window in the side of the block.
Chad Block threw a wrench in my plan, when he announced his RB-X turbo kit for the Evo X (CBRD Speedfactory). I had been following CBRD Speedfactory's updates for quite some time and his post changed my thoughts completely. Looking at the dyno's he posted showed me that it was possible to take a lightly modified Evo, make good power, but keep the torque in check. I knew that part was critical for maintaining the integrity of the block.
This was an open-scroll v-band turbo kit using a tubular manifold and a Borg-Warner EFR 7163 turbocharger. I knew that the v-band was what was going to give me a little slower spool, and help me keep the mid-range torque under control. As I was still a very inexperienced driver, this was also going keep the car pretty easy to drive. The next part though, is what is going to make me sound silly. CBRD's kit was the only one on the market at the time that did anything to shield the surrounding components from the heat of the manifold. That's what sold it for me. It was this attention to detail that helped me trust that part's from CBRD were designed by someone that had taken the time to consider how the products could ultimately be used. This turbo was going to be the focal point for my "build" for One Lap. Looking at the compressor and turbine maps, this turbo was going to be perfect. At 60lbs of air per minute, I would be easily able to max out the potential of the stock motor without stressing the turbo.
Also in April, I was lucky enough to secure a donation from a sponsor that was enough to cover a set of tires and wheels. As Tire Rack is close to my hometown, I opted to go and pick them up locally. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I had been paying attention to the success of a new team "RS Motors" and the One Lap RS (Facebook). As a rookie team, these guys were performing at a level that I never imagined. I paid attention to the results all week, and their standings just continued to improve. As I had a weekend afternoon free, I headed to Tire Rack to witness the finish, and see what I was getting myself into. I got to talk with Ronnie, Andy, Brandon, and Churchill for 20-30 minute that day as they finished 3rd on the overall podium and first in the Mid-Priced Sedan class. I told them I was planning on being at the starting line in 2016, and that I would hope to see them there too. It was the interaction with those guys that made me sure I could accomplish my goal. They set the bar high for what an Evo could do, in the hands of talented drivers. I owe all these guys a huge thanks for leading by example, endless friendly competition, and always challenging me to drive faster.