On the fifth and final day of Sick Week 2023, we we’re back in Orlando at Orlando Speedworld and looking for more competitors to chat with. We had seen Tony Niemczyk’s Mitsubishi Eclipse on the track over the course of the week, but until that last day of competition, we hadn’t had the chance to speak with him about his turbocharged 2.0L 4G63 engine. In a sea of domestic-powered street cars, Tony’s Mitsubishi Eclipse and 4G63 engine was a nice change of pace. It’s an engine that has helped Tony win the Sick Week Freaks class two times in a row now.
According to Tony, the Eclipse is a 1995 model year, which he purchased in 2001 and has had ever since. The car started as his regular commuter vehicle and it’s been constantly evolving ever since.
“I bought this car in 2001 as a commuter car to drive back and forth to school, and then to my job at the time,” Niemczyk says. “It slowly progressed from there. I’ve always had the car, but I actually hit a deer with it in 2002 or 2003, and it totaled the car. It didn’t do any structural damage to the car, so I rebuilt it. The car has just evolved over that time, and it’s become what I never thought would be possible with one of these cars. Back when I bought it, an 11-second car was a full out race car. Now, this thing made it a week driving 1,000 miles and has an 8.75 average.”
The Eclipse sports a turbocharged 2.0L 4G63 engine that is 122 cubic inches and makes mid-8-second passes consistently.
“The engine has a Mitsubishi block, crankshaft and cylinder head,” Niemczyk says. “It’s got custom GRP pistons and Manley rods in it. It has Kiggly springs, Kelford cams, and oversized Manley valves in it. The motor is not anything super exotic and a lot of the work is done with the 72mm turbocharger. It has a big 5” thick intercooler and a DV/DT Fab intake manifold as well.
“We control everything in the car with a Haltech Elite 2500. We run eight fuel injectors from Fuel Injector Clinic. The Haltech Elite controls the drive by wire, the transmission, all the injectors, and it phases in the injectors under boost. There’s a lot of control logic in it.”
Through the 72mm turbo, Tony says he typically runs 46-lbs. of boost and tried as much as 51-lbs. during Sick Week. This year, he has a slightly different setup in an effort to reach new goals, and the short turbo exhaust is a change Tony is undecided about.
“The previous two drag and drive events I did with the car, I did it exactly the way that I always dreamed the car could be,” he notes. “I had two different fuel systems in the car. I had a full exhaust out the back. It was a comfortable drive. We had to do nothing but change the tires at the racetrack and we could click off 9-second passes all day long.
“This year, we wanted a new challenge. We wanted to see how fast we can really push this combination. To do that, I had to ditch a bunch of weight. We got about 200 lbs. out of the car. The other thing I wanted to do is free up exhaust flow. That’s the story here on this really short exhaust sticking out of the hood. It’s working. The car is going almost half-a-second quicker than my best average ever. But, it’s also pretty miserable on the drives because it’s loud and sounds terrible. I hate the way it sounds, but it’s working.”
The exhaust note aside, Tony’s 4G63 is cranking out excellent time slips, so it’s hard to argue with the results and the impressive horsepower.
“I think we’re making about 850 hp to the ground based on trap speeds,” he says. “That’s through a DSM automatic transmission, which are not the most efficient transmissions in the world. I’m guessing the engine makes 950 hp or so at the flywheel.”
Tony won the Sick Week Freaks class last year here at Sick Week, and was in a good position to win the class again with one more pass to make in Orlando.
“We still have one more pass, but we’re sitting in first place right now with that 8.75 average,” Niemczyk says. “Most of the cars in this class can only go 8.50 because of our certifications. If the car in second place runs an 8.50, I have to run a 10.15 to win the class. That should also win me quickest four cylinder as well. We’re sitting in a good spot.”
Tony recorded a final day 8.79 at 153 mph to capture his back-to-back Sick Week Freaks class victory. He also ran ETs of 8.79 at 153 mph, 8.73 at 152 mph, 8.76 at 160 mph, and 8.71 at 153 mph for a five-day average of 8.76 at 154 mph.
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade1, Elring – Das Original and NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].