Professionally Awesome- A look inside Professional Awesome's EVO VIII Street Class Time Attack Challenger

Professionally Awesome - A look inside Professional Awesome's EVO VII Street Class Time Attack Challenger

By Mike Kojima

We first spotted Team Professional Awesome's EVO VII at last year's Redline Time Attack at Cal Speedway.  To be honest, it was not the car that first attracted us but the name of the team.  After looking the car over, we knew at once that this was a well constructed and balanced car.

After the event we caught up with team principle Dan O'Donnell to see if we could get more info about the car.  After a few back and forth attempts we were finally able to get some decent pictures of the car's parts, enough to be able to talk about the car in detail.

Professionally Awesome- A look inside Professional Awesome's EVO VIII Street Class Time Attack Challenger
The Professional Awesome Evo is a car close to our heart.  Fairly low buck but well thought out and thoroughly massaged this is a car that any intelligent enthusiast could build with some research and elbow grease.  Photo by Abby Jons

What has impressed us is that this is the car that does more with less.  This is not a super esoteric machine constructed with the most exotic bespoke parts imaginable but basically a winning machine constructed at a bolt on level using a great deal of common sense and professional awesomeness!  It's something that nearly any enthusiast could build by making smart parts choices and a bit of thinking.  Let's go through the car bit by bit and check out the attention to detail and the simplicity of this machine.

The engine is a giant killer consisting of just bolt ons. Brian Crower 272º Camshafts were selected because the cams were on sale for a really good price!  The BC cams are designed to work with the OEM spring and retainers and have an intake and duration of 272º and a duration @ .050 of 206º with a lift of 10.54mm intake and 9.86mm on the exhaust side.

Professionally Awesome- A look inside Professional Awesome's EVO VIII Street Class Time Attack Challenger
We also think the PA Evo is a good looking machine.

After repeatedly blowing the head gasket, to help assure a reliable head seal ARP Head Studs were selected.  ARP uses premium grade 8740 alloy and are precisely heat-treated to a yield strength of 200,000 psi. The ARP head studs are undercut which makes for a more consistent clamping force, one that compensates for head gasket compression when the head is installed.  With ARP studs and copper coated stock headgakets, the blow out problem was solved.

An APS Intake was used due to its smooth bore cast aluminum construction which sources cool air from the driver's side inner fender. A really important feature is its long length before the MAF which helps give more consistent air temperatures and reduces turbulence before reaching the MAF sensor. This allows for more consistency and reliability when tuning.  This is important as the EVO's Karman Vortex MAF sensor is very sensitive to turbulence, allowing the intake air more time for the flow to become laminar before hitting the MAF simplifies tuning issues at higher vehicle speeds.

Professionally Awesome- A look inside Professional Awesome's EVO VIII Street Class Time Attack Challenger
The PA Evo at Sebring.  Photo by Abby Jons


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Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, June 02, 2011 2:52 AM
Awesome car. I like the fact that only stuff that was actually needed was installed, and only the most effective (and not necessarily most expensive) parts were used.
Thursday, June 02, 2011 3:33 AM
So, is this actually a Evo VII or VIII?
Thursday, June 02, 2011 4:50 AM
It's a real deal Evo VII, not an VIII. Most, if not all of the guys that built the car were still in college at Purdue. That's why everything was built within a very tight budget and the thing still hauls major ass.
Thursday, June 02, 2011 4:56 AM
Not that I'm disagreeing that it hasn't been well built or on a good budget, but how do a few college students afford to import a specialty car, and all the costs associated with that over getting a used US Evo 8?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, June 02, 2011 5:06 AM
Easy, its not a street car.
Thursday, June 02, 2011 5:13 AM
Ahhhhh I see... thanks for the clarification
Thursday, June 02, 2011 5:54 AM
Hello all, I am Dan the "owner" of the car and driver. I'd be glad to answer any questions you may have. Regarding how we afforded the costs, first and foremost is sponsorship support. Without the names on the side of the car, attending as many races as we do and being as competitive as we are would not be possible. Each and every sponsor went above and beyond and we are very grateful! We also have 4 team members that have financially supported this project with their own money along with loads of free labor from friends and family. This is truly a group project and without each individual it would have been significantly more difficult. We have learned that simplicity, attention to detail and reliability are critical aspects to going fast with a major emphasis on preparation and commitment. We all, eat, sleep and breathe making this car fast.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, June 02, 2011 6:21 AM

What made you decide to use KW coilovers? Do you like them so far?

(I'm thinking of eventually going with KW coilovers on my car.)
Thursday, June 02, 2011 6:38 AM
Mr. Duster,
We were in a tough choice between JRZ and KW. The reason for those two companies specifically was due to proven components and being able to have them serviced relatively easily. To be frank, we went with KW for budget reasons, but we have been extremely, perhaps even beyond extremely, pleased with the performance that the coilovers offer.
By the end of the season we were pulling an astonishing 1.6-1.7g steadily (measured via GPS with our AIM MXL dash) on the banking of Autoclub/Cal Speedway. The car felt extremely composed and stable at all times. This was with the out of the box settings recommended to us on the instructions!
We plan to revise the springs rates very slightly for this season and hope to get some suspension guru help to dial in the car. Considering how little we have changed we feel we are leaving a fair amount of grip on the table.
My only complaint I can think of, and it isn't much of a complaint, but a little oscillation from the rear of the car if bumped mid-corner under heavy throttle.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, June 02, 2011 7:35 AM
Try reducing compression a little and upping the rebound some. The back may set a little quicker though.
Thursday, June 02, 2011 8:12 AM
I'm a little confused about the placement of the brake duct inlets, they're out in front of the best high pressure area created by the splitter.

Not bad for a DIY college student build though, pretty impressive overall.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, June 02, 2011 10:26 AM
Dan - I like what you guys have done with the car and love the attitude of doing more with less! When talking about reliability, I was wondering why you guys didn't go with a balance shaft delete? I was under the impression they can become a concern when you up the HP or increase the rev range.

Vince - Just save up for the V3s. Mike had me convinced months ago. I just had to punch myself in the gut, man up and have started saving up! Unless I sell my quad sooner :)
Thursday, June 02, 2011 8:23 PM
Are there any pics of the brake master cylinder brace around? I'd like to see the design if possible
Thursday, June 02, 2011 9:25 PM
Mike- Thanks for the input, we will be sure to try that as soon as we can.

Fabrik- That is a good point, we had some concerns about air spilling past the inlets if mounted flush to the bumper, but for 2011 we are completely revising our brake cooling ducts.

Der Bruce- I have heard of that concern as well, but I have also heard of concerns when removing the shaft as well. Since our motor was run within the stock RPM limit as well as at the time being almost completely stock, I thought it best not to mess with what the factory had designed and kept the stock configuration. We did upgrade to Gates Kevlar Belts and having Grant Davis, our team mechanic, installing all of our product and keeping a watchful eye for issues really alleviates any concerns I have. That being said, for 2011 we will be going with a balance shaft delete, but this was not done for reliability concerns.

538- Send me an email at dan@professionalawesome.com and I'd be glad to take any pictures you might want.

Lastly to clarify a few things. Our Evo VII did start out as a daily driven street car. It is still fully insured and registered in Indiana. Thank goodness for relaxed BMV laws here! I purchased it used by chance from an individual in Kentucky at a price in line with what a standard Evo VIII would have cost at the time. I got really lucky there!
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Friday, June 03, 2011 7:46 AM
Dan - I'm looking forward to updates in the future (engine, cooling, etc)! My understanding of the balance shaft delete kit is it should also free up some ponies by eliminating that extra rotating mass.

I have to say something about this first picture in the article. With that dark background and brightness/placement of the Professional Awesome sticker, my eye keeps thinking the rear window was bobbedor shaped for aero. Keeps tripping me out!
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