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2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 2.0t GP

We called everyone out—the brave answered

Aaron Bonk
Mar 29, 2017
Writer: Michael Febbo Photographers: Luke Munnell, Danny Nguyen

The 2.0L turbo engine has become the go-to answer for most of the world's automakers—from hot-hatches like the Mercedes GLA45, Mini Cooper S, Volkswagen GTI, and Golf R, to sports sedans and coupes like the Audi A4/5, BMW 3/4-series, Mercedes C-Classe, Jaguar XE, and even sports cars like the new Porsche 718. The powerful yet efficient design has all but replaced the naturally aspirated six-cylinder and in a few years, looks to replace even the legendary V-8. With that in mind, we announced the european car magazine Continental Tire GP for 2016 would showcase tuners' talents focused on cars powered by forced-induction engines of 2.0L or less.

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We imagined tuners from all over theindustry would be anxious to compete, representing not only themselves, but their chosen marque as well. We had visions of BMW 228s mixing it up with Caymans and Golf Rs and maybe even Alfa Romeo 4Cs or Lotus Exiges.

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We chose The Streets of Willow as the venue for the track day. The dyno competition was held at World Motorsports and utilized the hightech Wind Tunnel Dyno. The tire of choice this year was the brand-new Continental ExtremeContact Sport. The latest in Max Performance Summer Tire will be available by the time you read this but at the time was so new that it represented a leveling of the playing field for builders and drivers alike. Nobody was able to get an extra set of these, which meant no testing or tuning prior to race day.

As it turned out, this was again a VW/Audi event. None of the BMW, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Ford, or Jaguar et al, wanted to mix it up with the old standbys from Ingolstadt and Wolfsburg. We saw a variety of hotshoe pro drivers as well as everyone from well-known tuning shops to independent track day enthusiast car owners who decided to come out and compete.

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The laps were done Time Attack style, with multiple cars on track together, but racing against the clock and not each other. We counted best laps only, so you could easily win with a single Hail Mary, although all the teams ran rather consistently, showing continual improvement throughout the day. Morning sessions were used for practice and dialing in the car, while the afternoon laps were used for scoring. The following day on the World Motorsports Wind Tunnel Dyno, cars were given three runs and the top run counted. The power and torque numbers given are estimated at the crank and not at the wheel.

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The Wind Tunnel Dyno uses a Mustang Dynamometer inside the wind tunnel that simulates airflow at road speed. Sadly, we had a single contestant unable to make the dyno day after human error caused a mechanical issue at the end of the track day. We hope to get the car on the dyno at a later date after the car is rebuilt. On to the results.

1st 034 Motorsports

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Driver: Gary Sheehan
Car Number: 42
Car: 2016 Audi S3
Time: 1:26.675
World Motorsports Dyno: 408 HP/382 LB-FT

Setup: As far as 034 Motorsport project cars go, its 2016 S3's modification list isn't an exhaustive one. Here, first place at the track and 408 hp come by way of the company's R460 turbo upgrade and software package. It's all based on the hybrid LOBA Motorsport LO462 turbo that features a billet compressor wheel and turbine wheel that's been clipped for more airflow. The whole thing allows for more boost and yet still spools up within the same range as the smaller factory turbo.

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This S3 gets driven regularly, which means its suspension has to be just as capable for the Audi Club North America track days it competes in as well as for the roads it drives on the rest of the time. Everything underneath came straight off of the 034 Motorsport shelves and includes adjustable bits like the company's solid antisway bars and rear upper control arms that allow for easy alignment changes.

Impressions: 034 Motorsport's marketing man Laszlo Tallai says they were all surprised at just how well the car did, considering its limited modifications. "Compared to most of the cars we've brought in years past, the R460 S3 is a relatively tame build."

According to Tallai, race-day changes were also minimal and limited to incremental antisway bar adjustments as well as tire pressure changes that led to a succession of consistently fast laps that, by day's end, were only bettered by a few tenths. "Our goal was to show how well the platform can perform with our catalog of bolt-on upgrades," he says. "We're confident we came with the perfect car [that embodies] an OEM+ upgrade philosophy with a focus on function and reliability. Any S3 owner could duplicate the level of performance that the 034 Motorsport R460 Audi S3 delivers."

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp 034 motorsports audi s3 Photo 17/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp 034 Motorsports Audi S3

Tech Spec
034 Motorsport S3

Engine
034Motorsport: R460 Hybrid Turbo Upgrade Kit & Software Package (featuring LOBA LO462-EA888 Gen 3 Turbocharger), X34 Carbon-Fiber Air Intake System with Front Air Duct, Cast Stainless Steel Downpipe, Res-X Resonator Delete Wagner Tuning Competition Intercooler Upgrade

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Drivetrain
034Motorsport: Performance DSG (S-Tronic) Software, Billet Aluminum Dogbone Mount Insert, Density Line Engine/Transmission Mount Pair, Billet Aluminum Rear Subframe Mount Inserts

Suspension
034Motorsport: Dynamic+ Lowering Springs, Density Line Strut Mounts and Shock Mounts (front and rear), Solid Adjustable Sway Bars (front and rear), Spherical Sway Bar Endlinks (front and rear), Adjustable Rear Upper Control Arms, Spherical Rear Trailing Arm Kit

Brakes
034Motorsport by Cobalt XR1 Brake Pads (F/R)

Wheels/Tires
HRE FF15 FlowForm—19 x 8.5—255/30/19

2nd Tim Myers

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Driver: Chris Mora
Car Number: 50
Car: 2016 VW Golf R
Time: 1:27.399
World Motorsports Dyno: 343 HP/358 LB-FT

Setup: Privateer Tim Myers didn't have the sort of company backing that some of the competition did, and at 343 hp and 358 lb-ft of torque, his Golf R wasn't the most powerful of the bunch. Still, none of that mattered. Here, highlights include the factory turbo that's been matched with a Neuspeed front-mount intercooler and engine tuning by way of United Motorsports.

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Follow-up mods are extensive and made up of intake, exhaust, suspension, and braking bits, all from Neuspeed, that were fitted to the GTI with the help of Automotive Performance Systems' Aaron Neumann. According to Myers, "Power delivery is linear and very usable," and the brakes that are made up of six-piston Neuspeed calipers and lines are, in his words, "nothing short of amazing."

The most significant change made if you ask Myers is the United Motorsport ECU tune that addresses both the engine and the DSG transmission. "It's a night-and-day difference," he says. "The shifts are so much faster." Fast enough, he says, for his girlfriend to post a 12.3-second quarter-mile pass at a previous outing.

Impressions: Ask driver Chris Mora and he'll tell you that Myers' GTI still might have more in it. "A taller and softer spring would be nice," he says. "The car skips a bit and it's overworking the tires." It's among the only shortcomings Mora noticed on the car he and Myers track occasionally and that gets Myers back and forth to work the rest of the time.

Beyond tire pressure adjustments, Myers and Mora didn't deal with much in between rounds. "The car was set up well and was predictable to begin with," Myers says. But if you ask him, he'll tell you this GTI's left room for improvement. "The only real shortcoming was with the stock shock absorbers paired with the sport lowering springs," he says. "The car didn't have adequate rebound or compression to work with such a shortened travel." Myers also says that more power by way of a bigger turbo is coming soon.

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Tech Spec
Myers Golf R

Engine
United Motorsport Engine and DSG tunes Neuspeed: Hi-Flo turbo discharge, P-Flo Intake, Front Mount Intercooler, Power Pulley, Turbo Back Exhaust, Torque Arm Insert

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp tim myers vw golf r Photo 28/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Tim Myers Vw Golf R

Suspension
Ground Control Camber Plates, Neuspeed: 25mm Front Antiroll Bar, 25mm Rear Antiroll Bar, Rear Clamp/Bushing Kit, Rear Sway Bar Link, Sport Lowering Springs

Brakes
ECS Front 2pc 340mm rotors, iSweep IS3500 brake pads for track, Motul RBF 660 brake fluid Neuspeed: six-piston calipers, brake lines

Aero
iSweep front lip spoiler, iSweep roof wing extension

Wheels/Tires
Neuspeed RSe102 Wheels 19 x 9—245/35/19

3rd Eurosport Accessories

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Driver: Raffi Kazanjian
Car Number: 44
Car: 2015 VW GTI
Time: 1:27.487
World Motorsports Dyno: 324 HP/349 LB-FT

Setup: Trailing second place by less than nine hundredths of a second, Euro Sport's GTI isn't the sort of GTI you expected to place third. Technically, the car is only Kazanjian's—Euro Sport's founder—for another couple of years as this car is a lease. Which means this GTI's mods are every bit as reversible as they are purposeful.

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The list starts with H&R's RSS+ coilovers and camber plates as well as the company's 24mm rear antisway bar, both of which have been dialed in for Streets of Willow by Kazanjian, who's frequented Willow Springs' small track since the mid-'90s. "We [had] the car ready for the event with the right alignment and suspension setup," he says. "All we had to do [was] make some tire pressure adjustments to make sure it handled properly."

Power upgrades are minimal and start with GIAC Stage 2 ECU tuning for the engine and the DSG transmission and end with 324 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. In between, there's an ITG Profilter housed inside of a modified airbox and Euro Sport's own 3-inch downpipe that terminates into a MagnaFlow exhaust system.

Impressions: "It's a solid car and easy to drive with the DSG transmission," says Kazanjian, who trailed less than a tenth of a second behind Myers' Golf R. "You just leave your hands on the wheel so there's no shifting, which makes it quicker."

Kazanjian says there's room for improvement, but such improvements may not prove practical for a lease. "We could always use more horsepower, but managing it on this twisty, technical track is difficult," he says. "And a limited-slip differential would have helped on this track for sure."

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Tech Spec
Eurosport GTI

Engine
GIAC Stage2 ECU Software with GIAC DSG Transmission Software, ITG Pro-Filter with modified airbox, eurosport custom 3-inch downpipe, Magnaflow 3-inch cat-back exhaust system

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Suspension
H&R Springs: RSS+ adjustable coilover kit with camber plates, 24mm rear sway bar

Brakes
Euro Sport: cross-drilled rotors (f/r), EBC yellow pads (f)

Aero
Maxton Design front splitter

Wheels/Tires
Neuspeed RSe10 18 x 8.5 - 245/35/18

4th Pacific German

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Driver: Tyler Setterstrom
Car Number: 47
Car: 2015 VW GTI
Time: 1:28.012
World Motorsports Dyno: 485 HP/392 LB-FT

Setup: Setterstrom's GTI was among the most heavily modified and, at 485 hp and 392 lb-ft of torque, was by far the most powerful. But Streets of Willow with its tight and technical nature doesn't always take kindly to more power. Dyno honors come courtesy of the Revo turbo upgrade that Setterstrom—performance director at Pacific German— installed and tuned himself.

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This GTI's mod list is the most extensive of the bunch and points to the car's primary use as a nearly full-time track car—as does the six-point, welded-in rollcage and A/C that was ditched just before the event. Highlights include the S3 aluminum subframe up front, the rear brakes borrowed from the MK6 Golf R, the Wavetrac limited-slip diff, and the Snow Performance water/methanol injection system that allows for higher boost and helps ward off detonation, along with CTS Turbo front-mount intercooler.

Impressions: "We needed a few laps to adjust to running street tires on this track compared to the slicks that we're used to," Setterstrom says about getting settled in. Track-day changes were minimal and were made up of tire pressure adjustments as well as reduced power by way of ECU mapping in hopes of better traction.

"We wish we could have been at the Big Willow track next door to stretch out the car a bit more, since there were really only two straights on the Streets of Willow track that we were able to go into [with] full power," Setterstrom says. "We were spinning the tires through second and into third, so throttle input was the key that day."

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Tech Spec
Setterstrom GTI

Engine
Revo: TTR Turbo Upgrade, Stage 4 Beta Engine Performance Software, Stage 3 Beta Transmission Software, Carbon Air Intake Upgrade, Carbon Air Intake Lid, High Flow Turbo Inlet, Engine
Drivetrain: Transmission Mounts, Subframe Mount, Wavetrac Limited Slip Differential Autotech: Sport Tuning High Pressure Fuel Pump Upgrade, Sport Tuning Cat-back Exhaust System
CTS Turbo: Downpipe, Front Mount Intercooler, Throttle Pipe, High Flow Turbo Outlet Pipe, B-Cool Billet DSG Filter Housing, 17-pound Odyssey Racing Battery w/Bracket, Golf R DSG Breather box, iAbed Industries Oil Cooler Kit, Snow Performance Water/Methanol Injection System, Spulen Coolant Hose Re-Locate, Fluidamper Crankshaft Pulley

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Suspension
H&R Springs: RSS+ Coilovers, Corner Balanced, Super Pro Supaloy—Alloy front control arms, Super Pro rear poly bushing kit, Neuspeed 25mm Front Antiroll Bar, 27mm Rear Race Series Antiroll bar, Rear Sway Bar Endlink kit Audi S3 Aluminum Front Subframe

Brakes
Brembo: Race Front Brake System—fourpiston with 355mm Type III Discs, HTC 64T Brake Fluid, MK6 Golf R Rear Brake System—310mm Vented Discs, Neuspeed Rear Slotted Discs, EBC Yellow Stuff Rear Brake Pads, Autotech Sport Tuning Rear Stainless Steel Brake lines, TTRS Brake Duct Shields

Exterior/Interior
Sabelt: GT-160 Driver Seat, GT-130 Passenger Seat, Custom Seat Brackets, Schroth fourpoint Quick Fit Seatbelts

Wheels/Tires
Neuspeed RSe52 18 x 8 - 235/40/18 s

5th Emmanuele Design

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp thomas emmanuele Photo 52/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Thomas Emmanuele

Driver: Thomas Emmanuele
Car Number: 43
Car: 2017 Audi A4
Time: 1:28.996
World Motorsports Dyno: 306 HP/351 LB-FT

Setup: Simple and effective. That's the path Emmanuele followed that subtly addresses each corner of the chassis and is made up of a stiffer antisway bar out back, two-piece brake rotors, a CTS Turbo downpipe, a Neuspeed Power Module, and a water/methanol-injection system, all of which help yield what the dyno says is a conservative 308 hp and 351 lb-ft of torque.

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Impressions: According to Emmanuele, it's the suspension and brakes that are the weak links here, the former of which is just too compliant for the track. "We could use a bit more suspension work," he says, "but the primary limitation for this challenge was the stock brakes," of which aftermarket upgrades for this particular chassis aren't yet available.

Emmanuele—a rookie to Streets of Willow—says the car's initial laps were spent getting used to the track itself as well as the new tires and the limitations of the factory brakes. The car, which is used primarily as a research and development tool for Emmanuele's company—Emmanuele Design—was also driven to the track and back. "We were on stock brake pads, which wore heavily by the end of the day," he says. "We ended up cutting our last sessions short for safety, as we had a lengthy commute home."

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Tech Spec
Emmanuele A4

Engine
CTS Turbo: downpipe
Neuspeed: Power Module water-methanol system

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp dpe wheels flowtech ft 5s Photo 58/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Dpe Wheels Flowtech Ft 5S

Suspension
Emmanuele design rear sway bar

Brakes
Emmanuele design two-piece brake rotors

Wheels/Tires
DPE Wheels Flowtech FT-5S 20 x 9.5 - 255/35/20

6th Auto Union Tuning

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Driver: Karla Pestotnik
Car Number: 58
Car: 2012 VW GTI
Time: 1:29.858
World Motorsports Dyno: Not Available—Mechanical Issues

Setup: Driven by Pestotnik, built by AU Tuning, and owned by one of the company's longtime customers, this GTI, which didn't make it to the follow-up dyno day, may have proved just too powerful for Streets of Willow. According to AU Tuning's Raz Sebastian, the Garret GTX 3076 turbo, the e85 fuel, its forged internals, and the methanol injection all mean that this GTI approaches the 600hp mark and just so happens to be driven regularly on the street.

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Impressions: "It's a wild car to drive," Pestotnik says. "You've just got to really focus on the straights. There's quite a bit of power and there's instant torque."

Any changes to the car were few. According to Sebastian, "The car was doing as we expected, initially, and we made small adjustments to the tune and tire pressure as Karla became more comfortable with [it] throughout the day."

"We knew it wouldn't be the most competitive on the track, but we were planning on making good power for the dyno day," Sebastian says. "Unfortunately, before the end of the track day the car overheated, which resulted in catastrophic failure to the engine's internals."

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Tech Spec
AU Tuning GTI

Engine
Integrated Engineering:Rods, Mahle Pistons, Valvesprings Supertech Valves AUTuning: Custom E85 Tuning w/Garret GTX3076 turbo, Direct-port Methanol injection, custom intake, custom turbo-back exhaust with SPM muffler

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp enkei pf01 Photo 68/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Enkei Pf01

Drivetrain
VW Beetle transaxle, Sachs Racing Clutch, Wavetrac limited slip differential

Suspension
Koni: Coilovers, Hotchkis: anti-roll bars(f/r)

Brakes
Stoptech Big Brake Kit (f)

Wheels/Tires
Enkei PF01 17 x 8 - 245/45/17

7th Jesse Coyne

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Driver: Jesse Coyne
Car Number: 41
Car: 2009 Audi TT
Time: 1:30.121
World Motorsports Dyno: 324 HP / 351 LB-FT

Setup: Coyne, who's new to Streets of Willow, says that every imaginable bolt-on's been added to this TT. Here, the internals remain stock, but the K04 turbo has been borrowed from the Golf R and engine tuning's accomplished by way of Revo's software that mean this TT's good for a respectable 324 hp and 351 lb-ft of torque. Coyne, who tracks the car at least a few times each year, addressed the suspension with Neuspeed's rear antiroll bar, and MSS height-adjustable springs. Braking's been bettered with Brembo brakes up front along with Stillen rotors in the rear all matched with EBC Yellowstuff pads and steel-braided lines for added firmness.

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp jesse coyne audi tt Photo 73/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Jesse Coyne Audi Tt

Impressions: "I'm really pushing it and learning the limits," Coyne says about the new tires and the new-track experience. "That's how you're able to get the most out of the car, though." But it wasn't easy for him. "Every tire is different, so trying to learn a new tire while on a new track, it was a bit overwhelming," he says. "It was like trying to practice and study while taking a test."

Coyne made sure to have the TT set up properly beforehand, which meant track-day adjustments were few beyond managing tire pressure. Before the event Coyne added stiffer rear springs to try and get the car to rotate a little more.

"There was only one unsettling part of the track on turns nine and ten where the rear would get a little loose and give me a scare," he says. "I almost lost it in one of my hot laps but was able to regain control." Coyne will be back but more suspension work is in order. "I think the car needs an anti-lift bushing kit and camber plates."

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp jesse coyne audi tt Photo 77/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Jesse Coyne Audi Tt

Tech Spec
Coyne TT

Engine
Spulen K04 turbo kit
Revo: Stage 3 ECU Tune (k04), Stage 2 DSG Tune, motor/trans/subframe-mounts, CTS intercooler, Miltek Race Downpipe UM Haldex Gen4 Tune, TTS Quad Exhaust, Neuspeed P-Flow

2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp jesse coyne audi tt Photo 78/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Jesse Coyne Audi Tt

Suspension
Neuspeed Rear Antiroll bar, Whiteline antiroll bar endlinks, MSS Height Adjustable Spring Kit

Brakes
RSQ3 Eurospec Brembo BBK w/ EBC Yellows, USP SS Braided Brake lines F/R, Upgraded rear rotors from Stillen w/ J-hook slotting

Interior
Wiechers four-point bolt-in clubsport cage, Schroth Quick fit four-point harnesses

Wheels/Tires
Neuspeed RSe10 18 x 9—255/40/18

Another year of european car magazine Continental Tire GP is in the books. Again, even on cars with small displacement engines, all-wheel drive shines, as does good ole-fashioned tuning skill combined with top-notch talent behind the wheel.

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The new ExtremeContact Sport proved to be an even better tire than the DW it supersedes. The competitors were able to adapt to it quickly and get the most out of them with cars that are track capable, but still driveable every day. A few of the things that stand out every year, are again: the lack of cars slammed on the ground, good compliant suspension, and the necessity of limited-slip differentials on front-wheel-drive cars.

We are still weighing our options for the 2017 GP; we would still like to see more manufacturers represented. We also want to keep this accessible for our readers in terms of appropriate cars but also giving them the ability to come out and compete. As always, thanks to Continental Tire, World Motorsports, Willow Springs International Raceway, Denis Chalfont Timing, and Formula D Events.

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2016 european car magazine continental tire 20t gp flag Photo 102/118   |   2016 European Car Magazine Continental Tire 20T Gp Flag
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By Aaron Bonk
390 Articles

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