Check Out This Mitsubishi Four Banger Smoking Supercars on the Drag Strip

It's natural for drag strips that stretch for half a mile to be littered with supercars looking to showcase their top-speed prowess. What's not so typical is when a Mitsubishi Mirage steals the spotlight by charging faster than the said supercars, which is pretty much what went down in Puerto Rico.
Mitsubishi Mirage vs Porsche 911 in drag race 9 photos
Photo: 1320video YouTube channel
Lamborghini Aventador SVJLamborghini Huracan STO on drag stripLamborghini Huracan STOMcLaren 720S Le Mans Edition on drag stripMcLaren 720S Le Mans EditionMitsubishi Mirage drag racerPorsche 911 vs Mitsubishi Mirage drag raceMitsubishi Mirage drag racer rear end
Mitsubishi has a knack for making its models sound confusing, and what better way to exemplify that notion than by introducing its fourth-generation Mirage? For starters, the model went by many names such as the Lancer GSR, Cyborg, Dodge Colt, and Eagle Summit. No, it's not suffering from an identity crisis; it's basically the same car sharing a similar platform, albeit in various body styles like sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes. At its core, however, is a tiny four-cylinder engine whose output varies depending on the buyer's chosen configuration. Despite some variants sporting more ponies than others, it's still unlikely to reach past 250 horsepower in stock form, even in turbo variants.

Living under the shadow of Mitsubishi's more popular Lancer Evolution doesn't make the Mirage look better either, as it's often overlooked among its sporty JDM peers. Aside from passing off as a peppy little vehicle with decent power, the Mirage isn't exactly supercar material by any means. So, like its baffling menagerie of names, it's equally befuddling to find a fourth-gen Mirage coupe at a drag strip filled with Lamborghinis, McLarens, and Porsches. Add the fact that it's over 30 years old and you get what's akin to a retired senior competing next to promising young athletes.

In the red corner: Special-edition supercar behemoths

McLaren 720S Le Mans Edition on drag strip
Photo: 1320video YouTube channel
Given such bizarre circumstances, it might be tempting to count out Mitsubishi's forgotten coupe, especially in an event like this. For those unfamiliar with the Puerto Rico Half Mile event, it's a high-performance exotic exhibition that started in 2011. It attracts luxury car owners to long, vacant runways, allowing them to “measure their vehicle's true potential.” Half-mile drag strips tend to highlight ludicrously high speeds, which doesn't bode well for a decades-old Mitsubishi powered by a modest four-cylinder engine. If you're wondering what exactly will this aging jalopy be up against, well, let's just say it's a line-up comprised of cars worth six to seven figures.

In fact, this year's event drew the likes of the Lamborghini Huracan STO – an over 630-horsepower V10-powered stunner capable of getting from 0 to 62 mph in 3 seconds flat. The raging Huracan ended the half mile going just a little over 150 mph. Another Lambo worth mentioning, a rare Aventador SVJ, managed to reach the end of the runway at a faster 161 mph.

Next is a McLaren 720s Le Mans edition – a 710-horsepower brute powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. With a manufacturer-estimated top speed of 214 mph, it easily charged through the drag strip at a blistering 182 mph. Take note that these cars were allegedly battling headwinds of up to 25mph, likely leading to slower-than-usual speeds in general. What's more surprising is how little that hurdle affected our next contestant, which went even faster than your average supercar.

In the blue corner: taped-up old Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Mirage drag racer rear end
Photo: 1320video YouTube channel
Since the 4th-gen Mitsubishi Mirage isn't as aerodynamic as a supercar, it utilized the power of plain 'ole tape, sealing up any exposed seam to counter air resistance. Doing so helped it achieve peak performance despite strong headwinds that persisted throughout the day. Don't let its makeshift looks fool you though; this old Mitsubishi sounded nothing like its stock counterpart thanks to a 2-liter turbocharged inline-four 4G63 engine swap from a 1st-gen Lancer Evolution.

The Mirage also had another trick up its sleeve: a drivetrain swap from the original Eclipse GSX, transforming it from a stock FWD vehicle into an AWD beast. After being jampacked with all the good stuff Mitsubishi had to offer back in the day, the monstrous Mirage churned out a claimed 810 horsepower. Now that's a bold statement for a four-banger, but it did prove it's not all talk by reaching 182 mph on its first half-mile run. It even upped the ante on its next attempt when it passed the finish line doing a crazy 187 mph, seemingly outpacing a Porsche 911 in the process.

Mitsubishi Mirage drag racer
Photo: 1320video YouTube channel
While it wasn't the fastest top speed reached at this event, it was close to the highest one recorded on the video, which stemmed from a Nissan GT-R R35 – it hit 206 mph. Other JDM icons in attendance weren't even close to matching the Mirage's top speed. Among those participants, we count a Nissan GT-R R34, Nissan 240SX, and an 880-horsepower Subaru WRX STI. They ran the half-mile topping at 148 mph, 138 mph, and 160 mph, respectively.

Of course, many factors might've hindered the competition from showcasing their full potential, including driver skill, weather conditions, and whether the cars were properly prepped for drag racing. Still, that doesn't take away the fact that a nameplate – which isn't in the same league as Mitsubishi's Evos – can do so much damage against modern day exotics. It turns out that reaching supercar speeds in an old economical '90s car isn't just a mirage; but it can be done WITH a Mirage – and an older fourth-generation example, no less.

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About the author: Kyle Encina
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Kyle still remembers the times when people read magazines, after all that's what sparked his passion for cars and tech. In 2016, he's turned that passion into a journalism career fueled by a unique view afforded by his mix of philosophy and business degrees.
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