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Unread 03-24-2010, 10:18 PM
movovr movovr is offline
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Default Re: Vorshlag/AST begin Evo build!

Originally Posted by LVIIIR View Post
Well, I agree with parts of your statements there. However, from what I've gathered, many of the quicker/quickest evos that autox/roadrace/etc are running suspensions from him. Sure, the driver is the most important aspect, but why are so many guys running "his" suspension?

Either way though, I've only had these coilovers for a couple months, and trying to get in contact with that guy is next to impossible. I will not be a repeat customer due to this.

I was looking at AST's prior to buying these coilovers. We'll see how this setup handles this year, and if I look to upgrade I'm going to go with a set of AST 5100 or 5200's next year.
The Evo can mask a poor suspension more than the typical car due to it's AWD and flexible motor. But getting it to be the quickest is tough and leads to a lot of the misinformation and a proliferation of lemmings. Hate seeing it but it is what it is. I had the good fortunate of being able to lead the development of several solo National Championship Evos and advise on other successful ones, having performed hundreds of hours of testing and development. Just shy of putting one on a 7 post shaker which was offered but a bit cost prohibitive. Finding the optimal competition setup for an inherently front heavy chassis, poor camber gain strut suspension and variable torque transfer thru the ACD while needing to maximize the AWD turbo shot off a corner presents unique challenges. It caused me to do a few things that were very atypical but effective. I just find that most "so called" experts really don't know enough to get the "best" out of that other than by hit and miss. Most important is to start with quality components, but that's a universal requirement.

I didn't use AST on my former Evos, didn't know about them at the time, but have only praise for it on my current BMW. A Vorshlag fan sure.
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Unread 03-24-2010, 10:28 PM
movovr movovr is offline
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Default Re: Vorshlag/AST begin Evo build!

Originally Posted by Fair! View Post
My comments about the bent KMacs were not menat to be a jab at Robispec.... he makes/sells/tunes stuff well, but until recently had hadn't heard of Vorshlag plates. And his hands-on track tuning does tend to improve lap times greatly. Having a knowledgeable setup guy setup your car at the track - with a custom alignment, spring rate changes, and proper data logging - will drop laps times, no matter who's shocks you have. He does that a lot - flies in to an area, meets people at a track, and sets-up their cars - and he's very good at it.
Additionally, mine were opinions based on personal observation from several years ago and not meant to unnecessarily disparage others, usually try to avoid it. But helping others get into quality components to better enjoy their cars is a priority of mine.
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Unread 02-12-2018, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag/AST EVO X - Project / Deveopment Thread

Project Thread update for February 12, 2018: Some of you might have noticed that this thread went dormant for nearly a decade. Recently I have come back in here, cleaned up some posts, and changed the format to better match my "Project Build Threads" from the last 10 years. There was still one major event that we competed in the EVO X that was not covered.

Amy, John and I all raced Hanchey's EVO X for the last time at the 2009 SCCA Solo Nationals, and I never drove it again after that event. I did not write another forum build thread update here or even a write-up on that particular event for a couple of reasons. Now, nine years later I have the time and clarity to be able to cover that event.

This thread was cross-posted to other forums over the years, including to a major EVO forum we sponsored that we have since left. I have also changed how and what we write about in these build threads - from only "shop cars" to a more generic "development thread" covering one type of chassis. This thread started as a chronicle of a shop car but is going to morph into the latter, as this car has left but we have a lot of cars coming through our shop and can cover a lot more ground now.


To explain this large gap I need to inject a bit of company history. A lot has changed at Vorshlag since we began in 2005. Initially this was "home based business" for Vorshlag and AST both (in my 1100SF home shop + half of my house used as offices). We split AST and Vorshlag into two separate businesses in 2009, which was a pretty massive change.

Left: Our home based shop from 2005-2011 for Vorshlag/AST. Right: Our first commercial space 2011-2014 was 4 times as big

I kept Vorshlag and grew it with new staff in some new directions in 2010. By 2011 we had moved to our first commercial space, hired even more staff, and opened a race fab shop within Vorshlag.

Our 2nd commercial space was 2 times as bigger than the last shop, which we have occupied from 2014-2018

We are now in our 2nd commercial space, where we added CNC machines for suspension part production, and we are building our 3rd shop now. For 2018 I am re-launching this individual car "project" thread as a generic "EVO X Development Thread", where we will show parts and work we have done on EVOs at Vorshlag since this last update in 2009.

Originally Posted by hancheyb View Post
I figured I'd provide an update for the Evo. Now that the season is winding down, the Evo will be used as a test platform for new products, product revisions, and general street and track testing...
The last "update" in this thread on the EVO X was written by Hanchey after he had started his own business and moved the AST distributorship under that company. He sold his EVO X sold shortly after posting that. That was one of the reasons I never posted again in this thread for nine years. Hanchey announced his new business venture the day before Amy and I left for the Vail National Tour event, which made for a tense situation. We were obligated to compete in his EVO for some sponsors, but we got through it.

Another reason why I didn't post about the EVO again was that I did very poorly at the 2009 Solo Nationals - 26th our of 46 in STU class - nearly matching my worst ever showing at this event from 2007. We were having some serious problems with the dual sequential gearbox at that event, plus the move to 245mm tires late in the season really hurt the autocross performance of this heavy car.

I have written many times about "weight to tire width" ratios and this car informed a lot of that. This car was SO good on a 275mm street tire, but went to Hell in a hand basket as soon as we put the class required 245mm tires on. For various reasons out of our control (Yokohama sponsorship and late release of the AD08 model) it wasn't until late in the development of this car that we made the switch to 275s, and we had very little test time on this tire. If we had done more autocross events on the 245s we would not have entered the SCCA Solo Nationals with this car, as it was pretty much a bust.

Without too many more excuses, let's talk about the bloodbath that was the 2009 Solo Nats.


Results: http://scca.growsites.net/downloads/...ultsf/download
Photo gallery: https://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...olo-Naitonals/

This will be short and sweet. I remember the bad parts of this event vividly, which was during a string of poor showings for me at the SCCA autocross championships. Nobody to blame for that other than myself, of course.

Left: Hanchey and I both coned away the STU win in 2005 (I took 6th). Right: I took 2nd in STU in 2006, Amy took 1st in STU-L

I had a couple of good showings in 2005 and 2006 in STU class (see above) racing in our 1997 M3, scoring 6th and 2nd place trophies those two years. Amy co-drove the car in STU-L in 2006 and took the class win by a large margin, even beating the fastest STU "open" class time on Day 1.

Left: My 2007 STU entry for Nationals was a hot mess. Right: So was Hanchey's 2007 STi that year

Then I drove the same 1997 M3 with a lot of "improvements" in 2007, but just tanked it - 28th out of 47 cars in STU. My co-driver John Scheier was in 20th. Yet Amy won STU-L once again by a large margin. Hanchey (26th) and his co-driver Casey (15th) also had trouble that year in a 2007 STi. I blame our showing in 2007 on a lot of things: not enough testing on asphalt, bad decisions in tire choices, and a year of development "down the wrong path" on some fundamental items (a wider tire size that led to compromised alignment). We were also having too much fun prepping and racing in our shop owned E36 LS1 Alpha car (below) at that time, plus with Hanchey prepping his 2007 STi that divided our focus.

At the 2008 Nationals I raced our shop E36 LS1 "Alpha" car in X Prepared. This was a V8 BMW we used for LS swap and suspension development. We had a lot of good results on track and at local autocrosses that year but terrible results at the 2008 Solo Nats - I took 8th out of 13 in XP - when the ABS computer died during my first run of the event (shown above). I couldn't stop the car at all, and even with light pressure on the brake pedal it would lock the rear tires - it was a total disaster! We had decided to go back to STU for 2009 with this EVO X being the "big" gamble - could the additional power and sequential trans make up for the big weight penalty of the EVO X?

continued below

Last edited by Fair!; 02-19-2018 at 07:10 PM.
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Unread 02-12-2018, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag/AST EVO X - Project / Deveopment Thread

continued from above

The short answer was NO, the weight disadvantage of the EVO X cannot be overcome for this SCCA "STU" class.

I recently spent some time looking at the Nationals' STU results from 2009-2017 and EVO X has never placed in the top 10, ever. There's just no getting around the 3600 pound weight of the X chassis compared to the 2950-3100 pound weight of the EVO VIII and EVO IX chassis. Carrying 500 extra pounds on the same skinny 245mm tires just doomed this car from the start - and frankly, I should have known better.

The 2009 STU season was dominated by EVO VIII and EVO IX models - a 2004 EVO took the top spot and a 2003 EVO took 2nd, and the image above shows that 7 of the top 10 cars were VIIIs and IXs.

We struggled all week at Lincoln to dial in the setup on the grippy concrete, a surface which we had not done much testing on all year - much less with the recently added 245 tires. Man I cannot describe how different the car was on 275s compared to this!

Having "blocked out" this event for nearly 9 years I never looked closely at the images from this 2009 Solo Nats. The shot above shows the outside front tire with massive deformation (tire pressure was too low) and the inside rear tire off the ground. The AWD system also doesn't deal well with a lifted tire. The lifted rear, the skinny tires, plus the heavy front loading led to considerable understeer.

My co-driver in the EVO X in STU class that year was once again John Schier. While only a tenth apart over two days we were both 3.2 seconds back over the two courses. That's an eternity - yet running nearly the same times as each other led us to believe we had a serious car determent. Neither of us wanted to compete in this car on 245s ever again.

It didn't seem to matter in STU-Ladies as Amy had a huge 2.5 second lead going into the last runs on Day 2 for her class. She was fighting the setup but we had raised tire pressures to try to deal with the push. Of course it rained before her runs and she was driving in wet but drying conditions - which she always does well. There was a protest in STU-L the day before against a car that was visually illegal in 3 ways, but the protest was thrown out because the driver "came from so far away". I cannot make this stuff up folks.

With a massive lead going into day 2 it wasn't a worry and we expected Amy to once again salvage our poor showing in Open with a win in Ladies. The DSG trans had been acting funny for a month and it was really giving her fits on Day 2. On her last run the wet pavement was really drying, so she pushed it to ensure that none of the other competitors could drop a hero run on her.

On Day 2 the auto-shifted DSG transaxle was possessed - and the damned thing auto-downshifted from 3rd to 1st in the final offset before the finish, which caused Amy to snap spin her last run away. She was super pissed off when she came in, but we thought still comfortably in the lead. Of course the car that was much more prepped, 600 pounds lighter, and visibly illegal had a hero time - dropped massive time on the final drying run, and nipped her time for both days by .069 sec, dropping Amy to 2nd. Just figures, right? We should have pushed the protest on this car through, over the weak sauce objections of the National Solo group.

Still, the EVO X was the wrong car for either class, when penalized with the 245mm tire. We had no business bringing the car to this event, so the results it generated should have come as no shock. We had to be there for various company/sponsor reasons, but it still made for a bitter end to our time with the EVO X.


Running this 2009 Solo Nationals, and the previous year of autocross, track and suspension development with this EVO X taught me a great many things. I will try to list out the major points learned or reinforced with this project:

1. Most cars are usually easier to class and compete with equally in NASA Time Trial than in SCCA Autocross
2. You can't beat physics: a 600 pound weight penalty with the rest being equal (tires, power, aero) is insurmountable
3. Prepping and racing in a new car that is A) under warranty, B) has monthly payments, and C) owned by somebody else is a bad idea three times over
4. Never trust the SCCA to follow their own rules (protest)
5. Never build around SCCA autocross classes when they are fundamentally broken (took me a few more years to learn that)
6. I am a better driver in NASA Time Trial than in SCCA Autocross (has taken a decade to figure this out)
7. Brand new technology (DSG) is often unreliable and problematic in the first year
8. Most "All Wheel Drive rally cars" are still very front weight biased, and chew up front tires quickly
9. You cannot race a car all year on a 275mm tire and then jump to a 245mm at the 11th hour without setup and performance repercussions
10. Without any controls on weight-related advantages, class winners tend to narrow down to a single chassis within each class

Now not all of this was learned immediately after this year in the EVO X, and not all of these things were the EVO X's fault. The DSG had been giving us a few clues as to its issues that popped up on Day 2, which cost Amy the win in STU-L.

Hanchey had done most of the track driving in this EVO X, often using the auto-shifted Super Sport mode that keeps the revs above 4000 - so it shifts a lot. Left Foot Braking tricked the trans into down shifting at times when it shouldn't have. Brian noted a "trans overtemp" condition about 8 or 9 times, even once or twice after we did the DSG fluid cooling mods above. We were worried about the SCCA Solo rules with respect to cooling mods, as well as potential warranty problems, so we just "dealt with the issue" as best we could by removing the fog light from in front of the DSG cooler. The DSG trans was so new that none of the local dealers could or would even service the fluid.

Starting in 2014 the STU class was thrown a major curve ball with the addition of the Nissan 350Z and Chevy Corvette C5 (non-Z06), both of which can run substantially wider tires than the previous RWD chassis that competed in this class (E36 M3). From that point on the once popular "AWD Rally car class" looked completely different, and the total entrant numbers that nearly topped 50 for many years in a row fell to 18 in 2014, 36 in 2015, 39 in 2016, and 29 in 2017. Nissan 350Z cars have won STU class for the 4 years in a row since.

During 2014 the S197 Mustang, C5 Corvette and 350Z were all lumped into STU. The S197 later moved to STP

How did this change in chassis dominance happen so quickly and completely? Well the suspension on a 350Z and C5 Corvette are both better than what comes on the E36 M3, Subaru STIs and Mitsubishi EVOs (McPherson struts). These two cars can also fit the 2WD STU class limit of 285mm tires, which is a damn sight larger than 245s. These two RWD chassis have Naturally Aspirated engines (3.5L V6 in the 350Z, 5.7L V8 for C5) that can also make pretty decent power within STU limits, unlike the S50/S52 engines in the E36 M3. And in STU trim the 350Z can dip into the 2900 pound range. So you have the lightest car, on the biggest tires (+40mm wider), with the same (300+ whp) or more power than anything else in class... confused as to why this 350Z is now the STU class overdog?

The EVO X never had a chance in STU, even before the dominant chassis changed from AWD rally cars to 350Z / Corvette chassis in 2014. It was always too heavy (I usually worked Impound and weighed STU class EVO VIII RS cars on the scales at 2950 lbs) and the rules did not allow us to get any substantial weight out. In their infinite wisdom SCCA precludes any tire-to-weight based rules in Street Touring and most other classes - the hard 245mm limit for all AWD cars handicaps the EVO-X massively.

Something as simple as even a casual look at what cars weigh could alter SCCA classes enormously

NASA does a much better job of creating rules around these weight related factors. Their rules are more based in measurable things like power/weight (ie: physics) than hearsay and old wive's tales. These are the most important aspects of rules within NASA:

1. Power-to-weight ratios are part of Every. Single. Class.
2. Tire-to-weight ratios and imbalances are addressed
3. Upgraded Aero is also factored into the P-to-W and T-to-W limits

I've had a number of great battles over the past decade in NASA Time Trial racing, and have even run against some EVO IX and EVO X cars in our shop Mustang and other cars. With the power-to-weight, tire-to-weight, and aero balancing that this series bases their rules around we have seen that it almost doesn't matter what chassis you start with - you can make a winner out of virtually any car, with the right amount of prep.

Racing rules that preclude a clear "chassis advantage" leads to much more car diversity within classes

There also seems to be much less of an advantage with AWD vs 2WD chassis when speeds get above about 45 mph in the dry and additional tire width from stock isn't prohibitive. This has shown to be the case up and down the grid within NASA, at all power and weight levels. Even in SCCA autocrossing, when the 2WD cars get a tire width advantage (245mm on AWD turbo vs 285mm on 350Z) the "AWD Advantage" also seems to go away. Exception is ProSolo, which always has a straight, drag race style start.

I am not going to explore all 10 points of things I have learned from the EVO X, other than to say "racing is complicated". We welcome you to read our other posts on this forum to see all of these detailed extensively.


Thanks for catching up with us! That will be the last post I write about a particular car that we stopped developing and driving in 2009. We have another EVO X in the shop right now getting a roll cage and many other upgrades, which I will detail in future posts.

We have since found ways to get weight out of the EVO X chassis, as this one lost 447 pounds in about two days, before we started adding the roll cage. An EVO X race car will likely never be as light as an EVO VIII or IX, but the small differences once prepped don't really matter when you are running in a power-to-weight restricted class. We will go over this and more next time.

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