Although the break between the end of the 2009 season and the start of 2010 was a short one, it still gave MML Sports the opportunity to turn its attention to releasing more of the potential from its Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X rally car. The next phase of its ongoing programme concentrates on engine developments and weight reduction to ensure its version of the latest offering from Mitsubishi is as competitive as possible.
It was clear from the car’s debut in Talsi in 2009 at the hands of double British Rally Champion Guy Wilks that the MML Sports EvoX Gp N had masses of potential. Since then, the company has been constantly developing the car and has made major advances.
The first area for consideration was the bodyshell itself and the underbody protection. The aim was to reduce the car’s overall weight as much as possible without compromising its strength or reliability. The design engineers went through the bare shell with a fine toothcomb and applied the same techniques to the sump and tank guards, to reduce the finished car’s weight by some 30Kg.
It has also begun a comprehensive engine development program, allowing it to free up more low end performance from the two-litre turbocharged motor, as well as make the maximum gains offered by the FIA’s decision to allow the turbocharger restrictor to become larger for 2010, from 32mm to 33mm.
While on paper this may not seem like a big difference, according to MML Sports Managing Director John Easton, it should make all the difference on the road. “We’ve carried out some initial work with our engine partners HKS on their dynamometer and things are already looking good. I am confident that we will be able to release at least an additional 25bhp from the engine in absolute terms. Once we have completed the engine development work, I will be surprised if the MML Sports EvoX isn’t on par with the current generation of Super 2000 cars on gravel.”
In addition to these specific areas, the company is also continually developing the transmission control systems and the suspension, including development of the BOS dampers using its in-house damper dynamometer. This allows MML Sports to simulate a range of road conditions to assess the effectiveness of design and theoretical set-up changes.
MML Sports is now planning several outings with its Group N EvoX early in 2010 to demonstrate the competitiveness of the car on both gravel and asphalt.
Commenting, Easton said; “Now that last year’s competition season is over, we can spend some time concentrating on unlocking some of the EvoX’s potential. I don’t think we will ever stop developing the car – it’s the only way to move forward and we can put all our resources onto it for the moment.
“However, it won’t be long before this year’s season starts. We’ve already had orders for several new EvoXs so of course, we’ll be adopting the new developments on them and look forward to even more success in 2010.”