September 15, 2020 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos: Nickey Jones Bautista

Tuner: Cyborg Runner

Here’s an all-wheel drive track monster

Given the competitive nature of motorsports, everyone who’s into it spend countless hours tuning and tweaking down to the last bolt. Having established that, searching for the same competitive edge also served as the impetus for autocross champion Danby Yaptinchay to take a normally aspirated, front wheel drive, Mitsubishi Cyborg R and turn it into an All-Wheel Drive, turbocharged track monster.

Starting with seventies and eighties-era Lancers, including nineties era Galant’s, Danby has progressed into modding more serious Mitsubishi’s such as EVO’s and more as his autocross car can attest to. So, when the time came to build a dedicated track car, it wasn’t an EVO but a Cyborg was exactly what he wanted as he explains, “It’s rare, short wheelbase, and light. Plus, I wanted a lighter and shorter EVO.” The chosen platform to wreak havoc on the track is what’s known as a 4th-generation, FWD, Mitsubishi Mirage Cyborg R. This was Mitsubishi’s popular hot-hatch in Japan during the mid-nineties. Equipped with a 175ps, n/a, MIVEC engine, it could hold its own given its lighter weight over its rivals. As for the Cyborg’s origins, Danby explains, “I Bought the car approximately 5 years ago in La Union and raced it in Rallycross and Autocross events. I Initially thought of using its naturally aspirated MIVEC engine, but I quickly figured out that it won’t be competitive enough for circuit racing so I decided to go turbo AWD.” Sounds easy on paper, but transforming the Cyborg into something else wasn’t going to happen without its own set of challenges. They were literally going to put an EVO III, 4G63T engine and its AWD driveline onto the Cyborg’s unibody. Take note that it’s a FWD car, as Danby adds, “It took me almost 5 years to finish the project racecar since most of the parts are scarce and expensive like complete EVO engines and drivelines. Plus, we naturally encountered a lot of difficulty during the conversion phase.” Surprisingly, the whole conversion process was accomplished without hacking the sub frames or fabricating new mounting points as Danby points out, “Most of the parts were simply bolt-on with minor fabrication as the suspension mounting points are the same as that of the EVO 1 to 3. The only major mod we did was cut the propeller shaft by a few inches.”

Given its capability to produce insane amounts of power, Mitsubishi’s 4G63T engine is still hard to beat and remains one of the most sought-after engines by tuners and enthusiasts. In this case, a first gen 4G63T from an EVO III filled the Cyborg’s engine bay. Since this was going to see a lot of high rpm abuse and increased power levels, an internal engine rebuild was necessary. In fact, Danby quips that using forged pistons and race-spec connecting rods are a must to prevent the engine from blowing up and to help reach the desired hp levels. Other mods they employed include aftermarket camshafts from Kelford that feature a more radical profile to allow more air and fuel. Such hi-lift cam profiles require heavy-duty valve springs, in this case a set of beehive valve springs were used to prevent spring binding under high rpm’s. The stock turbine and cast manifold was tossed out in favor of a Forced Performance 68HTA turbo with a matching DSM Race Manifold. Aside from the increased mass flow, this unit also spools faster despite its stock looking dimensions. With smoothened large ports to accommodate more intake pressure from the aftermarket turbo, the Forced Performance race manifold fits perfectly. Controlling all the engine functions is a programmable ECM Link ECU that was dyno tuned to dish out 420 whp using E85 fuel. The tune is suited for circuit racing where the torque curve is more linear according to Danby.

The way they grafted the EVO II front end to the Cyborg certainly does wonders to the overall look and certainly makes the front mount intercooler at home. Other exterior details such as the rear flares, J’s racing rear wing with custom mounts, rear diffuser, front canards, and of course the HKS Kansai chin spoiler seem. Everything looks factory installed that it can strongly convince anyone that they’re actually staring at an EVO Hatchback. The body and paint were done by WRG, while a WRC Ralliart inspired livery gives a lot of detail to the exterior making it downright proper. Inside, the interior speaks volumes about its overall build quality and attention to details. Spartan as it may be, it clearly shows what this car is built for and what’s needed to make it safe. As such, only the bare necessities can only be seen like a proper 6-point roll cage, air ducts, Sabelt Race Seat and Safety Harness to keep the driver in place.

Footwork duties are handled by racing coil over dampers all round with polyurethane bushings and using what Danby refers to as their secret camber and alignment settings. He also quips that “An AWD configuration may have more traction over an FF and RWD but sacrifices weight.” Sure enough, with the added weight of the AWD driveline and rear differential certainly adds weight. In order to maximize all the traction available, it relies on Federal’s popular 17-inch competition spec RS-R tire wrapped on lightweight Rota Grid wheels finished in their signature speed bronze. EVO-spec Brembo rotors with Performance Friction pads provide adequate stopping power for the Cyborg. Overall, this is certainly a one of a kind, purpose-built racecar build effort. Despite a seemingly impossible challenge, they’ve proven that it can be done as Danby puts it, “Converting a FWD car to AWD is costly and time consuming but worth it.” With a lot of track time currently being spent to work out the bugs, this is one wickedly built racecar to watch out for as Danby’s future plans entail a bigger turbo and a sequential gearbox. Now that’s even more serious hardware in an already seriously built racecar.



Mr. Danby Yaptinchay

Engine: 4G63T from Lancer Evolution III

Engine Type: 2.0-liter, Inline-4, DOHC, 16v, Turbocharged and Intercooled

Engine Mods: Kelford 272 Camshafts, Beehive valve springs, Titanium Retainers, CP Forged Pistons, Eagle Connecting Rods, Forced Performance 68HTA turbo and DSM Race Manifold, HKS Air Filter, HKS Timing Belt, HKS Blow Off valve, Front Mount Intercooler, 1000cc injectors,

Other Stuff: Samco Hoses, Aluminum Radiator, Ultra Plug Wires, Cusco Oil Catch Tank

Horsepower: 420whp on E85 Fuel

Engine Mngmt: ECM Link

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual, AWD

Suspension: HKS Coilovers, Strut Tower bar (rear)

Brakes: Brembo 4pot (front) Brembo 2pot (rear) Performance friction pads

Rollers: ROTA Grid Wheels (17×7) Federal RS-R Tires (235/40ZR17)

Interior Sabelt Race Seat, Sabelt Safety Harness, Sabelt Steering Wheel, Innovate air/fuel ratio gauge, Defi Racer Gauges, Sabelt Deep Dish Steering Wheel, 6-pt. Roll Cage, HKS EVC4, Ralliart Pedals & Shift Knob, Custom Switch Panel, Fuel Cell, Battery Box, Electrical Cut Off Switch,

Exterior OEM Evolution II front bumper, HKS Kansai Chin Spoiler, Rear Flares, J’s Racing Rear Wing, Rear Diffuser, Front Canards, Air Ducts,

Kudos To: Federal Tires, ROTA Wheels, Autoperformance (Sabelt, Brembo) JCT-Blanche, Foil-a-Car, WRG


Best known for powering the Lancer Evolution I all the way to the Evolution IX, the 4G63T engines are classified into three generations. The first gen powered the EVO 1 to 3 as identified by the right-side cam orientation. The second gen came with the IV to VI EVO, while the third gen can be found on the EVO VII to IX. The 2nd and 3rd generations sported the left cam orientation and offered more power due to factory mechanical upgrades.

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