About a month ago we caught a very cryptic teaser video on Ryan Gates’ YouTube channel announcing the debut of the “311RS” on March 8 at Oakley’s exclusive, bunker-like headquarters nestled deep in the heart of Cali’s South Orange County. You know the place, right where those MILFy “real” housewives prowl. After some begging, pleading and (we’re not gonna lie) outright crying we secured an invite to the debut of a car about which we knew nothing.
We may not have known anything about the car, but we do know The Man. For some time now Ryan Gates has been crushing the US time attack scene. He looms larger than life within the Mitsubishi community because of his accomplishments behind the wheel of his iconic blue Evo X. Here are just a few of his notable exploits. In 2009 Ryan took home eight track records and won both the Super Lap Battle and the Redline Time Attack Modified Class Season Championship with an unprecedented 100 percent win rate. While 2010 was a rough year for Ryan, plagued with mechanical difficulties, he pushed on with the development of his AMS Performance 900X engine package. Last year saw more success with an extremely gear-limited 180.0mph pass at The Texas Mile, which was good enough to earn the title of world’s fastest Evo X. Ryan also showed up to our Global Time Attack at the Autobahn Country Club taking both the Limited AWD win and the class record with his 1:30.692 lap.
But on this night at the Oakley headquarters the focus wasn’t on Ryan’s familiar blue TA X but his new bespoke, limited edition 311RS creation.
Here’s what we know. This is a street car. Limited to 11 units. Cost $49,000. deliveries will begin as early as Summer of this year. These cars will be fully warrantied. No word on whether the 311RS will be warrantied or actually sold through Mitsubishi dealers. But we do know the specs.
On the 311RS power is increased to 353.1hp with 358.6 lb-ft of torque courtesy of an AMS Performance intake, intercooler, IC piping, widemouth downpipe, cat pipe, exhaust and tune. JRZ RS1 coilovers and top mounts are treated to an alignment by Evasive and Girodisc improves the stopping with its two-piece rotors, 311RS pads, stainless lines and Ti heat shields. Ryan’s trademark Volk CE28 wheels (18×10.5 +18) and Nitto tires (NT05 285/35R18) complete the footwork upgrades. Exterior mods are subtle with a JDP front lip, Voltex rear wing and minimalistic Jon Sibal livery that is painted on (all the better to preserve the exclusivity). In addition to Oakley, one of Ryan’s other prominent non-endemic partners is Etnies and their proprietary E-Suede appears throughout the interior of the 311RS on select touch points and wear items. Good thing too since E-Suede is said to be three times as durable as traditional suede. Is it wrong that we want to rub our cheeks against this stuff (face or butt, doesn’t matter)?
The 311RS debut also featured a screening of a well-produced promo/hype video. The film felt a bit long at points but it featured some spectacular visuals and provided great insight into Ryan’s unwavering vision and the well-thought nature of the car and the entire 311RS project as well. Many of the products featured on the car were on display in the cases normally reserved for Oakley’s eye jackets, or optic enhancers or whatever they call sunglasses these days. Ryan also revealed plans for optional items such as exterior pieces, more performance oriented JRZ coilovers, an upgraded AMS turbo and internal engine modifications (stroker kit?). A “Track Spec” package is also available, which will include JRZ RS Pro coilovers, AMS harness bar, Takata harnesses, Cusco Rear LSD, Carbonetic twin plate clutch and sticky Nitto NT01 rubber oddly in a narrower 275/35R18 size (this actually makes sense since the next available NT01 size is in a phat 315 cross-section). “Track Spec +” is the next package that includes an AMS roll bar and Recaro Pole Position seats, Cusco front and rear tower bracing, a fire suppression system, lightweight battery and cut off and Voltex aerodynamics. Interior upgrades include additional E-Suede covering and a Rockford Fosgate Punch audio system.
We like the progression of the various packages but what really piqued our interest was what is called the “Ultimate Evolution to the 311RS Program – The 311RS Black”. No other information was revealed but no matter, we want that one too. The car shown at the debut is a prototype (#00), which was procured from SIM Raceway Performance Driving Center at Sonoma Raceway. This, no doubt means that Jeff Westphal and Tyler McQuarrie probably beat it like a rented mule under the guise of “showing students the line” for its first five thousand miles. Once Ryan got his hands on it he developed the 311RS package and put another 12,000 miles on the kit (including the Nitto NT05s) and then proceeded to wheel it to a very respectable 1:59 lap at last year’s Super Lap Battle finals at Buttonwillow’s CW13 configuration. This year the Texas Mile, the Modified Tuner Shootout and the One Lap of America are on the menu, while Ryan might even bring his TA X to a few Global Time Attacks to boot.
Here’s a brief video of the presentation and if you can check out 311RS.com for more info. From what we’ve seen of it we like the planning and execution of the 311RS. But our absolute favorite part has to be that a time attack driver has his own signature edition car.