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Reincarnation: Tim Butler’s 394kW track-slayer Evo I

15 April 2020



Spitting in the face of a difficult decade-long build, Tim Butler finally got to turn a wheel in anger — although it took a new build to get there, a circuit slayer of the highest order

There are few things that can be considered the benchmark of willpower, commitment, and determination. For some, that may be sailing solo around the world in record time; for others, it may be choosing to run ultra marathons through steaming desert terrain; there’s even those who decide to risk potential expiration while climbing the world’s highest mountain. However, that’s nothing compared to the ultimate test that many of us know all too well: attempting to complete an extensive project car build and surviving to tell the tale. 

You may recall Wellingtonian Tim Butler’s name and his lengthy Evo I build from NZ Performance Car issue No. 273. Back then, Tim had spent over a decade going through the motions of piecing together his dream car, racking and stacking a total of three engine builds and a whole heap of blood, sweat, and tears. Despite having only just ‘completed’ the car after that time, he let slip to us that there was still more to come. What we hadn’t expected, however, was for him to turn up only a few months later behind the wheel of a full race-prepped sister car. Tim tells us it was really only a matter of time before he would wind up with the incarnation you see here, and it would have come by way of the Evo I we originally saw if it weren’t for a bit of well-timed Internet scrolling.

“I built the Evo I as a road car and it got really out of hand. At the time I wasn’t a member of a car club or anything, and it just got stupid. It was too much for the street, it wasn’t nice to drive on the road anymore, it wasn’t fun, and it had been driven only twice since the new package was finished,” explains Tim. “I started going to local club days, because as you get older you start to think you should do this stuff legally. Then it came to caging the Evo I and putting proper safety pieces inside; that’s when I spotted the Evo II on ‘Race Cars In Sheds’ [Facebook group].”

The Evo II checked all Tim’s theoretical boxes, packing a six-point cage and stripped interior fitted with race seats and harnesses. A bonus was being able to run a tyre larger than the 215 to which Tim had already maxed out the Evo I with the factory guards, thanks to an Evo Kits wide-body, and — sealing the deal without a shadow of a doubt in his mind — the engine bay was devoid of running gear, meaning that he could take that engine package he’d spent over a decade perfecting, the one that was too gnarly for the street and crying out to be used to cut laps in anger out on the track and put it to work.

With the tick of approval from the missus and cash in hand, the original spotting of the listing on Thursday night turned into a call to the seller for confirmation on the Friday and Tim on the ferry crossing Cook Strait before loading the car up to head back to Wellington on the Saturday. 

This isn’t a man who mucks around, and he certainly doesn’t do things by halves.

It wasn’t much longer before Tim had both cars in the shed side by side, ready to rip all the goodies out of the Evo I and transplant them into the Evo II. What that also meant was that, while achieving his ultimate plan of a full race-prepped incarnation of the original car, Tim was able to hang onto the tidy Evo I roller to be turned back into a street car in the future. 

The heart now powering the Evo II is the culmination of extensive research and improvements. Transferred from the original car, it’s based on an 85.5mm bored-out 4G63 block that has been crammed with JE pistons, Eagle rods, and a K1 Technologies billet crank — a decision made after the first incarnation suffered a major casualty due to crank walk. Unfortunately Tim is very familiar with this set-up, after having to build it for a second time when the oil pump failed and toasted the lot. To combat any starvation issues this time around, he’s elected to run a modified oil pump, keeping everything lubricated with a RaceFab baffled sump and cool via a Mocal 16-row oil cooler.


Up top, the head is a ported and polished unit that, thanks to a dropped valve in the second incarnation, now houses Supertech 1mm oversized valves, GSC Power-Division lifters, Brian Crower 282-degree camshafts, and HKS cam gears. 

With built internals like that, you already know the bolt-ons are equally serious. A Garrett GTX3582R that makes use of a responsive 0.82 exhaust housing hangs off the front and employs a custom mild-steel top-mount manifold with TiAL 44mm wastegate combo. On the cold side you’ll find a custom carbon-fibre inlet plenum and Skunk2 90mm throttle body, while fuel is delivered via Injector Dynamics ID 1700X squirters. Switching over the custom engine loom was a piece of cake, along with the Link G4+ Storm party controller. 

Backing the package is the same Evo I five-speed gearbox and Tilton twin plate combo found in the original car, now sending drive rearward to an Evo III 3.9 plate LSD.

When the hubs were spun at Prestige Tuning & Motorsport, with Chris Wall on the laptop, the combination was good for 394kW and 550Nm on 27psi.

The rest of the equation was pretty much taken care of, arriving with a solid five-stud big-brake set-up that comprises Evo VII Brembo calipers, two-piece rotors, and Pagid Racing pads. 

On the suspension side of things, the chassis already offered BC Gold coilovers and a slathering of adjustable arms, sway bars, and bracing. The only piece that Tim needed to add was the fuel arrangement, which makes use of twin Walbro lift pumps that feed a surge tank drawn upon by twin Bosch 044s. There’s also a fresh body loom from Newport Motorsport Services for good measure.

From start to finish, Tim managed to crank the Evo II out in record time, having it ready to go just two months after picking it up. He’s since managed to iron out any teething issues at his local Manfeild Circuit and the recent Port Road Street Sprint. Next in his cross hairs is a stint at the Wallaceville Sealed Hillclimb, a route he’s been driving since adolescence, and, he hopes, a chance to see what the combination is actually capable of.

With a résumé like the above, it’s hard to argue against solid results, but for Tim it’s going to be about getting out there and finally enjoying the much-deserved seat time that his decade-long test of willpower, commitment, and determination has earned. 

Timmy B
LOCATION: Wellington
OCCUPATION: Business change manager
BUILD TIME: Five months
THANKS: To my partner, Jess, for never batting an eye at my spending — especially with buying another shell and building it over in such a short period; my nephew, Jett, for always asking “How’s your race car, Uncle”; Zac Haar, Ollie McChesney, Tim Chai, Brad Doughty, Garrison Pullen, Nathan Spencer, Muppet McLaughlin, Nick Chiew, Keegan Goodall from NST, Matt Newport from Newport Motorsport Services, Chris Wall from Prestige Tuning & Motorsport, Ash and Matt from Kaizen Works, and the Circle Jerk Crew

ENGINE: Mitsubishi 4G63,  1998cc, four-cylinder
BLOCK: Bored 85.5mm, JE pistons, Eagle rods, K1 Technology billet crank, ATI Super Damper crank pulley, ACL Race Series bearings, ARP mains studs, Racefab baffled sump
HEAD: Ported and polished, Brian Crower 282-degree camshafts, HKS cam gears, Brian Crower valve springs, Brian Crower titanium retainers, Brian Crower billet valve keepers, Supertech 1mm oversized valves, GSC Power-Division lifters, HKS cam belt, Cometic head gasket, ARP head studs
INTAKE: Custom carbon-fibre inlet plenum, custom spun trumpet runners, Skunk2 one-litre manifold spacer, Skunk2 90mm throttle body, K&N air filter
EXHAUST: Custom three-inch downpipe, three-inch stainless rear section
TURBO: Garrett GTX3582R, 0.82 exhaust housing, custom mild-steel top-mount manifold
BOV: TiAL 50mm
FUEL: Injector Dynamics ID 1700X injectors, twin Walbro 450lph lift pumps, twin Bosch 044 primary pumps, Aftermarket Industries three-litre surge tank, 8AN hard-line feed, 6AN hard-line return, Aeroflow dash fittings, Sard fuel-pressure regulator, ethanol content sensor
IGNITION: M&W Pro-14 CDI, 300M coil, NGK plugs
Link G4+ Storm
COOLING: Half-sized radiator, 16AN radiator fittings, ITL intercooler, Flextech silicone joiners, Mocal 16-row oil cooler
EXTRA: Custom Mil-Spec engine harness, custom alloy catch can, custom coolant overflow bottle, Motorsport Fabrication alloy swirl pot, Frontline Fab billet rocker cover and coil plate, Racefab chromoly north south bar

GEARBOX: Evo I five-speed, short shifter, 80mm shifter raise
CLUTCH: Tilton twin-plate
DIFF: (F) viscous LSD, (R) Evo III 3.9 plate LSD 

STRUTS: BC Gold coilovers
BRAKES: (F) Evo VII Brembo calipers, Pagid Racing RST 1 pads, DBA5000 Series two-piece 320mm rotors, (R) Evo VII Brembo calipers, Pagid Racing, RST 1 pads, DBA4000 Series 300mm rotors; Goodridge braided hoses, hydraulic handbrake
EXTRA: Six-point roll cage, Racefab chromoly rear trailing arms, Hardrace rear camber arms, Evo V front lower control arms, Racefab sway bar adapters, Evo VIII tie rods, Ultra Racing 22mm rear sway bar, Super Pro polyurethane suspension bushes, front strut brace

WHEELS: 18×9.5 (+15) Enkei RPF1
TYRES: 245/40R18 Hankook Z221

PAINT: Resprayed in Evo white
Evo Kits wide-body, custom alloy front lip, custom splitter, Lexan side windows

SEATS: Racetech RT4100HR, Racetech Magnum six-point harness
STEERING WHEEL: Sparco, NRG quick release hub
INSTRUMENTATION: Racepak IQ3 Street digital dash
EXTRA: Custom chassis loom by Newport Motorsport Services, billet buttons, Tomei gear knob

POWER: 394kW
BOOST: 27psi
BP 98
TUNER: Chris Wall at Prestige Tuning & Motorsport