For most of us, those far too infrequent “Eureka! ” moments-when life comes into clearer focus and million-dollar ideas dance in your thoughts-happen on the toilet, in the shower, or halfway through a bottle of Crown Royal. This tends to really make it difficult to take advantage of these fleeting moments of clarity, but luckily for Kaizen Tuning’s Scott McIver, his happened while going “ludicrous speed” in his Japanese dream machine.
To correctly appreciate Scott’s moment of clarity, we need to rewind for the second and take a look at how he got there. As Scott told us, “I was involved in my family’s manufacturing business back in 2000 and made frequent business trips to Japan. I needed a free day in Tokyo, so I went down to Ginza to pick up something nice for my girl. While in that area, I was stopped dead during my tracks outside a Nissan showroom. A blue car the likes of which I had never seen was rotating on a raised platform. I went in and got the hardbound brochure and stared in that car for just two and a half hours. It was actually an R34 GT-R V-Spec in Bayside Blue. I had been in love. I vowed that whenever I could afford it, I would personallythe 1st R35 GT-R in New England. But his dream car experience was quickly brought straight back to reality as he took it to the dealership for its first oil change. “Unlike in Japan, in which the Japanese know what the GT-R is and just how much the owner cherishes it, the dealership here didn’t give a shit. It was another Sentra in their mind. I vowed that I could do it better and started servicing these cars out of my garage. Kaizen Tuning was then born.”
Steadily growing ever since, Kaizen Tuning is located in a new 10,000-square-foot facility just outside of Boston. The company has become a 12-man operation that are experts in GTEvos and Rs, and STIs, and Scott along with his crew take pride in being a full-service tuning shop modeled afterIAG and AMS, and SP Engineering. As Scott explains, “We knew that we could build something special up here in New England that had not been attempted: a higher-end, dedicated import speed shop that concentrates on customer support and quality foremost and first. Our Name, Kaizen, literally translates to ‘constant improvement.’ We strive to achieve that daily while focusing on building motors, twin-disc transmission builds, and dyno-tuning the ideal cars up here.”
2010 mitsubishi evolution x interior
2010 mitsubishi evolution x camber plate
2010 mitsubishi evolution x AiM MXL digital dash
So, if Scott’s dream car has always been a GT-R, why an Evolution X? “I’ve been track driving since 2001. I started by helping cover their HPDEs and fell in love. My driving has reached the point were I really want a full safety system in a car-something I realized while doing 171 mph down the back straight at Watkins Glen in my GT-R. We desperately wanted to produce a track-going GT-R but could not justify the expenses, and I still wanted to drive mine on the street. It would have been painful to see it gutted to ensure a full rollcage could be welded in.”
And just that way, the idea for this particular ’10 Evolution X project was born. “The Evo project really started to roll once we met with Varis in Japan at the ’11 Tokyo Auto Salon, based on Scott. We tune a huge amount of Evo Xs here at KT, so we wanted a showcase for our in-house know-how. We had set a meeting with Varis to chat over our thoughts on a racing program sponsorship in the united states.
Their wide-body kit was icing on the cake, since it fit our ideas for the auto perfectly. We explained to Varis that we wanted to concentrate on the East Coast time attack circuit with Real Time Attack, a group that does mostly northeast time attack events. Varis loved the theory, as they wanted to prove the functionality of the kit, so we got started.”
Enough time attack race car conversion started by sending the Evo to one of the best rollcage fabricators inside the northeast, HT Motorsport, where they spec’d out a rally ’cage from Custom Cages in England using T45 steel. With the X stripped towhich had been flown over first class from Japan (OK, maybe it flew coach), was in fact the first Varis Evo X wide-body kit installed in the united states. As Scott explains, “It’s the full wide-body kit with the VSDC diffuser, VSDC hood, and VSDC trunk. The VSDC process is unique to Varis, using a lighter, stronger mixture of wet and dry carbon. This can be a perfect combo for motorsports aero using a front splitter providing enough downforce to fully eliminate any understeer.”
To balance the aero package, Kaizen Tuning opted for an Aeromotions wing. “These guys are aero engineers from MIT and make an amazing product that we use on Evos and GTRs that see track duty. These guys rented the Haas wind tunnel and did real aero testing about the wing at 140 to 180 mph. It’s an establishedpower to fully utilize its newfound downforce, Kaizen’s Evo got a serious tune-up using an AMS 750R turbo kit. “We moved to this kit once the NJMP event last year once we were running a stock-frame turbo and aftermarket header, in accordance with Scott. Each and every time I got from the car I found myself throwing up. It was easily 150 degrees in the cabin of the car. Our crew chief just kept shaking his head at me, telling me to grow a set.
After our first run on the 2nd day of racing, I came in early, after setting best time of the day, and started heaving again. Once I could talk, I told the chief that this car was down on power and making weird noises under boost. Lo and behold, the welded manifold had cracked right across the middle and was dumping raw exhaust right into the firewall, cooking me from the feet up! That’s if we made the decision to go to the cast manifold from AMS around the 750R so we would not have this issue again.”
Because by the end of their first season of competition, Scott with his fantastic Evo claimed the Real Time Attack Unlimited Class championship, outrunning 15 other heavy hitters from well-known shops, clearly the Kaizen Tuning crew possessed a moment of clarity of their own when they chose to build this Evolution X instead of converting Scott’s beloved GT-R into something similar. And situations are only going to get more intense this year, with all the Kaizen Evo moving on to tackle the Whelen USTT Championship, a far more competitive time attack series with national exposure.
2010 mitsubishi evolution x keys racing steering wheelseats and seat rails; Schroth 6-point harnesses; Key’s Racing steering wheel, fire suppression system; AiM MXL digital dash; Zeixtronix ZT-2 wide-band and boost gauges
Sponsors Kaizen Tuning, Varis Japan, AMS, Tomei Powered Japan, Gardini Law, Driven Perfection