We suppose when you have a fourth-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse laying around, but you’re jonesing for a mid-engine track car, you use your engineering ingenuity. That is what James at his Canadian enclave called Speed Farm. We’ve always liked these Eclipse coupes, but you don’t see them much anymore. And we’ve never seen one done as a mid-engine scorcher.
Why did Speed Farm want a mid-engine Mitsubishi Eclipse?
He told The Drive that the swap was fairly straightforward. “No major issues came to light,” he says. “Just time-consuming things and a lot of research had to be done.”
He’s more than familiar with this 2009 Eclipse as he has plenty of track time with it. But it needed something more. “It lacked grip and the physics just wouldn’t play along no matter what.” So the solution, to him, was some mid-engine action.
How much power does the mid-engine Eclipse have?
He started with a 3.8-liter 6G75 canted forward 30 degrees. That put it closer to the axle and also has a large water pump. That was important because the radiator stayed in the stock location in front, so the extra douting from front to back meant the water pump needs to be able to push more volume.
As for the structure or cradle for the engine and rear suspension, James created the rear subframe similar to the front. This way the whole engine, transmission, and suspension bolts up as one unit. The only deviation from the stock setup was welding up the rack and pinion steering to keep it pointed straight.
Is the mid-engine Eclipse done?
With a new intake, headers, and a tune, the engine pumps out 279 hp to the wheels. Since he has gotten it running, a few modifications were deemed necessary. For starters, two K04 turbochargers are in the works, as are a smattering of aero additions to plant the car better.
“A flat floor, wing, and splitter,” he says. He is also using simulation software for aerodynamics to help guide him. A variety of coil overs have been tried out, to sweeten the handling and the ride. So the Eclipse is a test lab for some of James’ ideas as he barrels toward refining his Mitsubishi.
Why not make this a dual-engine track car?
Some have suggested keeping the stock engine in front to create a twin-engine monster. But James is after an optimum handling track car. Dual-engine cars have more weight, negatively change the weight ratio, and sometimes don’t take kindly to syncing up with each other.
Even straight-line dual-engine beasts are notorious for unholy handling. In some cases the front loses traction, then regains it, only to have the rears break loose. It is like a dancing whipsaw, with too much power and no traction.