There's nothing like the fumes from high-octane fuel and the smell of tortured rubber to get your eyes watering and your mouth salivating for the heat of competition. And so it happens every year, when we invite the nation's top tuners to take part in our Grand Prix event.
Entering its seventh year, etGP has grown in stature as horsepower numbers rise and quarter mile times dive with the controlled tires we provide to every participant in an attempt to level the playing field slightly.
This year would see perhaps the most diverse collection of cars in the event's history, with cars from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini, Porsche and VW vying for top honors.
Previous years had seen only VW and Audi tuners prepared to put reputations on the line and back-up their claims of horsepower and performance. However, 2009 would see the arrival of the latest M3, a dark horse from Mercedes and a Porsche Cayman take to the field of combat.
In previous years, we resisted attempts by tuners to enter cars like the 911 Turbo since we don't feel it represents our audience. Nor do we feel it's especially difficult to make one go fast. But with the arrival of several supercharger conversions for the M3 V8, and the continued dominance of the Audi A4/S4, we decided to open the doors to a modified Porsche Cayman since it represents the first step on the sportscar ladder for many aspiring Europhiles. We were also interested to see whether it could hold its own in this impressive company.
Inevitably, there are some tuners who don't want to appear in the GP, many who couldn't afford to make the journey to SoCal, and several who experienced last-minute car trouble before the event.
So what we have here represents a good cross-section of vehicles popular in the European tuning scene to give you an idea of the performance gains from the modifications on display.
As we've said before, the GP isn't really a competition with winners and losers because very few of the cars are the same. Instead, it's our opportunity to scrutinize specific products and packages in order to see if they meet the tuner's claims. So don't imagine the fastest and most powerful car wins. Yes, the team with the highest numbers has something to brag about, but that's not the whole story.
The GP isn't a head-to-head competition. Don't simply look to see who's fastest. Rather, you should use it as a tool to measure the relative performance of various tuning options on specific platforms.
Basically, etGP is a shop window where you can browse tuning conversions under the harshest conditions and draw your own conclusions about what will work for you.
As we always say, etGP is a test of speed, power and poise. The cars must participate on the dyno for outright power, the drag strip to underscore those numbers, and the road course to see how the engine, brakes and suspension perform as a complete package.
Like every GP the rule is there are no rules - except no nitrous in the engine. And because some teams previously had a big advantage through tire choice, we were again grateful to Continental for supplying its excellent ContiSportContact3 tires to all the teams.
On the GT-Pro dyno day, teams are allowed a maximum of three pulls and can tune in between. In the past we've seen high numbers and this year was no excepetion.
With a change of venue, our drag strip was on the long straight at Buttonwillow Raceway. Competitors were unrestricted in the number of runs they could take during the three-hour session, and many took full advantage. However, the track officials were again unprepared by the speed of some cars and limited the fastest to a few runs, although it had little bearing on the final outcome.
The road course at Buttonwillow Raceway was also our venue for the third day, providing an interesting comparison to the Super Lap Battle that took place a week before. The road course is the event every team wants to win and is the real indicator of overall car preparation. This is where the boys sit down so the men can stand up. It's always the highlight of etGP and the scene of the greatest drama.
For etGP09 we had initially wanted to provide Continental's new DW tires to all the competitors after it took first place in our giant 2009 Tire Test (et 12/09). However, an absence of some sizes after its introduction meant we returned to the trusted ContiSportContact3 used last year with great success.
The ContiSportContact3 was designed to meet the demands of powerful performance cars by providing shorter stopping distances, increased cornering grip and greater stability. Yet these tires are also used by several OEMs, so also have to provide good mileage, low noise and rolling resistance. As such, they represent a great choice for both wet and dry use on your modified Euro. They're also very capable of withstanding the tremendous abuse under the harshest conditions dished out in our Tuner GP.
As a testament to the performance, none of the competitors spun-out on the road course with grip problems. The tires' stability meant the teams could push them very hard and know how they would respond.
Similarly on the drag strip, all found plenty of traction off the line and were able to improve their times throughout the session. Many teams even drove to and from the event on the same tires without any problems at all.
The first thing you want to know when tuning a car is the horsepower number. That's why it's the first thing we test in the Tuner GP. We visit the drag strip the following day to see how power relates to acceleration, but the dyno day sets the tone for the entire competition. This is where a bragger backs down and a dark horse steps up.
We returned to GT Pro in Fullerton, CA for their expertise and use of the AWD Dynojet 424X dyno in their workshop. However, this year would be slightly different. Yes, the teams were able to tune their cars between runs and allow them to cool for a few minutes. They were also allowed to add ice to the intakes and blow nitrous onto the intercoolers. They were even allowed to operate the dyno if they so desired. But the big difference this year was that GT Pro was taking part in etGP for the first time.
The company has been a Mitsubishi specialist for years but we've mentioned their diversification into the Euro scene in recent years, even showcasing their turbo upgrade for the 335i at eurotuner.com More recently, Brian La Fuente and the GT Pro team has been working on various Mercedes-Benz and decided to enter its mildly-tuned C63 AMG at the last minute. You can see how it fared throughout the GP but we did ask 034 Motorsport to operate the dyno during the C63's runs to ensure impartiality.
Generally speaking, the dyno day is when the first tears are shed, with competitors breaking engines early. However, etGP09 proved to be the exception, with very little drama to report. Most cars simply pulled onto the rollers, did their three runs and left.
Of the FWD teams, the Streamline Industries Mk4 VW GTI 337 was first up. Its three runs were all within 2hp of each other, and 225 wheel horspower was in the realm the team was expecting from its K04 turbo upgrade.
Euro Sport Accessories was one of only two teams returning from last year's GP but had left its Mk1 racer, Mk3 VR6 and Ford Focus at home, choosing to debut a new Mk4 Golf GLS 1.8T instead. Other commitments meant it wasn't as developed as the team had hoped, but three consistent runs within 3hp of each other netted a best of 210whp.
Then, the Revolution Mini Works Cooper Swas strapped to the dyno. We've seen very powerful but fragile Minis in the past and were hoping this wouldn't be the same. Fortunately, this example wasn't as frenetic as previous examples, yet put down a respectable 298hp on its first run. It then followed up with 306 and 310whp to be the most powerful FWD in the GP.
There have been GPs in the past without a single RWD car, so we were grateful to have five in GT Pro's yard waiting their turn. First up was the E92 BMW M3 coupe fitted with a G-Power supercharger. Again, it proved remarkably trouble-free and very consistent, putting down 530, 535 and finally 546hp at the wheels.
The E90 M3 sedan from Gintani was also supercharged and its four tailpipes seemed to bellow even louder than the G-Power car. It was amazing to hear these V8s at over 8000rpm, especially when Gintani's M3 put down 578whp on its first run. With some cooling time in between runs, the M3 jumped to 585 and eventually 592whp, which is hugely impressive and substantiates the claims of the M3 tuners.
Our third BMW was the little 135i from Evolution Racewerks. A recent dyno run had seen 400hp, so the team was satisfied with its best run of 392whp. On the bright side, all three runs were within 2hp of each other and we suspect the low reading was caused by another problem that would raise its head the next day...
The GT Pro Mercedes C63 AMG was limited to in-house mid-pipes and Asura software. It was also the only naturally aspirated car with an automatic transmission, as well as being the heaviest. In its favor, it sounded like a Nascar on the dyno, repeating its best 414whp on two occasions once 034 had got the hang of holding the trans in-gear. The final RWD entry was the TPC Racing Porsche Cayman. The company has developed its own turbo kit to give the sportscar some testosterone. However, the first dyno run produced only 377hp and some confused faces. After an inspection, it turned out the boost solenoid was disconnected. Once rectified it hit 415 then 422whp.
With most teams being etGP virgins, few could imagine the intense battles between the Audi teams in previous years. With their fellow competitors falling by the wayside, we were left with one remaining Audi A4 from 034 Motorsport.
These guys take preparation to a new level, testing components on six different track days before being confident the car wouldn't break this year (as it had done in the past). However, they're pushing the envelope on every part fitted to their A4 quattro with its turbocharged VR6 engine, so breakages are to be expected.
Having put down more than 800whp last year, we encouraged the team to limit boost pressure and preserve the engine for the three-day event. But a first run of 255whp wasn't quite what we had in mind...
It turns out there was a problem with the dyno's software sensing the engine RPM. So the team applied more ice to the inlet manifold, sprayed nitrous on the intercooler and hit 908whp at 35psi. They'd chosen not to switch to the 42psi setting to save the motor, but the potential for 1000whp is there!
034 Motorsport, we salute you. You are the etGP dyno kings, putting down the highest number ever recorded in our event and winning the Dyno trophy we give to the most powerful car.
Our thanks to GT Pro for the use of its dyno facility in picturesque Fullerton, CA. Their technical expertise again provided trouble-free results thanks to its reliable equipment and expert technicians. The 11000sqft premises houses the dyno as well as a large workshop area plus a machine shop, engine building room, fab shop and the largest customer reception/showroom you've ever seen. My apartment is half the size!
Formerly focusing on imports, the large yard is littered with Mitsubishi 3000 GT project cars but they've seen the light and are moving into Euros. Some Porsche and Ferrari projects got them started but they've since done a turbo upgrade for the 335i, Mercedes turbo conversions and now a series of C63 AMG modifications, with a full exhaust and possibly a turbo to follow the work on the car featured here. To have them work on your car, visit gtpro.com, boostedbimmer.net or phone 714/447-1697.
|034 Motorsport||Audi A4||AWD||908.11|
|TPC Racing||Porsche Cayman||RWD||422.39|
|GT Pro||Mercedes C63 AMG||RWD||414.52|
|Evolution Racewerks||BMW 135i||RWD||392.28|
|Revolution Mini Works||Mini Cooper||FWD||309.79|
|Streamline Industries||VW GTI 337||FWD||225.95|
|Euro Sport Accessories||VW Golf GLS||FWD||210.39|
For the first time in recent memory, day two arrived with a full field of nine cars. Nobody had suffered the catastrophic failures on the dyno we'd seen in the past and it was shaping up to be a good day for drag racing.
With our quarter-mile set up on the back straight at Buttonwillow Raceway, the cool temperature was perfect for the forced induction systems but not so good for the tires. Getting heat into the rubber would be critical, and competitors were trying every trick. Many were reducing tire pressures to find traction, with one FWD team going so low the tires failed tech inspection because they looked flat. However, another RWD team was increasing pressures up to 40psi in an attempt to get more wheelspin and a higher top end.
With three hours of track time, both the G-Power and Gintani M3 drivers were on the track early and were also the last to leave. Not only were they having enormous fun, but the cars performed consistently and flawlessly all day. Initially, they experienced traction problems with the huge amount of torque both cars were putting down, but eventually the drivers improved their techniques and the numbers came tumbling down into the low 12sec bracket. What's more, their elapsed time (ET) at the end of the quarter was 122mph for both cars.
The cat among the pigeons was the TCP Racing Cayman, which had considerably less power than both M3s but was also considerably lighter. With its weight over the rear wheels, the Porsche soon got into its stride and would eventually split the M3s.
With these three cars consistently in the 12sec bracket, they were joined by the GT Pro C63 AMG. Its extra weight was a disadvantage but it got within a couple of tenths of the M3s although its ET was a slower 112mph.
We also expected to see the highly-developed Evolution Racewerks 135i running with these faster cars. After all, it had similar power to the Merc but was lighter. But on one of its first runs, the 135i suddenly turned sideways halfway down the run and the builder/driver miraculously prevented a nasty incident.
After a few more awkward runs that produced a respectable mid-13sec time at 113mph, the team returned to the pits to investigate. It turns out, the 285/35 R18 Continental CSC3 tires were substantially wider than the Yokohama rubber they normally run. With little space to spare, the tires were actually jamming against the inner fender wells when the suspension was compressed. And on the slightly undulating drag strip, the car was an accident waiting to happen. The team retired early, contemplating wheels spacers for the next day.
With the RWD cars in the 12s, the fastest FWD runners were in the 13s, headed by the Revolution Mini Works Cooper S. Its 310whp was causing some traction problems but they seemed to get to grips with it, eventually finishing in the mid-13s at 108mph.
Just 0.2sec behind was the Streamline Industries VW GTI 337. It spent most of the morning lined up alongside either the Mini or the Euro Sport Accessories Golf. However, the latter was struggling with a quick-shift that had been fabricated at the last minute. It worked fine on the road but, with the engine under full load, it wouldn't allow the driver to change gear smoothly. Our biggest concern was that a missed gear would result in an over-revved engine, so the car retired early to avoid disaster.
Of course, that just left the 034 Motorsport Audi A4. Its huge power and quattro grip had seen it run 10sec quarters in previous GPs and we expected something similar this time.
The first two runs were at the low-boost 23psi setting, which produced 11.3 and 11.2sec runs. But that was just the warm-up.
Switching to 35psi, the car launched with an unexpected aggression. All four wheels scrabbled for grip and smoked as they spun. The car shot forward before the rear seemed to lift off the ground as the violence was momentarily halted for the change into second gear, which was followed by more tire smoke. With a run that left the competitors and track organizers shaking their heads, the Audi produced a 10.7sec runat 139mph.
With more to come and the possibility of a high-boost run at 42psi, the track officials got nervous and called a halt to proceedings. The team bowed out gracefully, aware they'd won the day and the trophy that goes with it, but hadn't beaten a previous best of 10.5sec on a different strip. Yet the car was still in one piece and they were looking forward to the third day.
It's interesting to see how the drag results closely echo the dyno numbers, with the Porsche jumping up two places thanks to its superior power to weight ratio, which had everybody worrying about what it would do on the road course.
|034 Motorsport||Audi A4||AWD||10.736|
|TPC Racing||Porsche Cayman||RWD||12.442|
|GT Pro||Mercedes C63 AMG||RWD||12.758|
|Evolution Racewerks||BMW 135i||RWD||13.397|
|Revolution Mini Works||Mini Cooper||FWD||13.570|
|Streamline Industries||VW GTI 337||FWD||13.770|
|Euro Sport Accessories||VW Golf GLS||FWD||14.545|
Fastest Lap Competition
Ask any etGP competitor which is his favorite event or the one he wants to win the most, and without exception they'll tell you it's the road course. Building a car that does one thing well is impressive, but success on the track requires a balanced package and that is the true measure of a tuner.
In previous years, we divided the cars into separate run groups to avoid the faster cars tripping over the slower ones. It also gives time in between sessions to fettle and fix problems. However, this year, with the new venue at Buttonwillow Raceway being longer than our previous track, we decided to open it for two hours to everybody and let them all go at it. Teams without any problems would get plenty of practice time, while those having issues would still have time to get some valuable laps in.
All laps would be timed. The two-hour morning session would allow the teams to analyze their progress against the competition. In the afternoon, we put out two cars together for 20mins, during which they would try to set their fastest possible lap. This is the one that counts. And to keep things interesting, the teams wouldn't know how they did until they read this when you do!
With most teams in position before the track opened, there was some frantic activity in the Evolution Racewerks pit as they attempted to space the BMW 135i's rear wheels to clear the inner fenders. Ambitiously, they also decided to install M3 front control arms to give more camber angle. Unfortunately, it would take the team most of the morning to install the parts and then tweak the set-up, with the car only completing a handful of laps all morning.
Adding to their frustration was the knowledge that the same car on different tires had run a 2:00min lap a week earlier at the same track in Super Lap Battle (see separate story). Our Continental control tires should have been capable of something similar but the wider tread and new suspension components would dog them all day.
In the end, they were forced to raise the car to clear the tires, upsetting the center of gravity, but at least it allowed them to complete some laps. At the end of the morning session, they'd set a fastest time of 2:24.288sec, which left them disappointed but determined to improve.
The BMW's problems were nothing compared to Revolution Mini Works. We held our breath when the session was stopped and a tow truck was dispatched from the pits. It returned with the stricken Mini and the team reported a blown head gasket as the result of a coolant hose that had come loose. With a best lap of 2:07.693 it was on target to embarrass some of the heavy-hitters and the team reluctantly packed up.
For much of the morning we saw the two VWs circulating together, with the Streamline Industries 337 sneaking past on several occasions. This surprised us since we know Raffi Kazanjian from Euro Sport Accessories is an accomplished driver and familiar with the track. However, it turned out that Raffi was showing Eric Gustavson the best lines around the track but was still plagued by the same gear selection problems from before. He also changed brakes pads during the session and found he was consuming more fuel than he was used to with his naturally-aspirated racecars. However, he reported he was very happy with the balance of the car, allowing him to do what he wanted with it.
So while Eric appeared to be posting faster lap times, his best effort was 2:14.142, compared to 2.05.522 for Raffi. In fact, Raffi's time was staggering since it was the fourth fastest of the day, beating cars with more than double the power of his Golf.
The C63 AMG from GT Pro was providing plenty of surprise, but its virtually stock chassis was a weakness on the track. One of the few tricks up their sleeve was to use washers on the front struts to increase the camber angle, allowing the tires to turn-in better and reduce the amount of wear. The fix seemed to work as the Merc finished third in the morning session with a time of 2:03.041.
Meanwhile, the BMW M3 teams had their own self-imposed problems. An abundance of power and torque, combined with minimal chassis mods meant the supercharged cars were a handful on the circuit.
We've always said that a vital component in tuning cars for the etGP track day is the choice of driver (a point borne out by the C63 and Euro Sport GTI being placed higher in the time sheets than we would have predicted). And since we allow the teams to pick their own driver, we were a little surprised to see the G-Power crew try to muscle the M3 around themselves.
All things being equal, we figured a good driver would be worth 2-3sec alone, but G-Power showed the gap to be even larger as they could only manage 2:25.391 in the practice session. This was 15sec slower than the Gintani M3 with its more experienced driver who set a best lap of 2:10.971. And while both crews complained of "not enough tire" under their cars, a lack of track suspension and brake equipment was another significant factor.
At the start of the morning, the TPC Racing Porsche Cayman had been circulating with the 034 Motorsport Audi A4. Both drivers seemed to be testing each other, with the Audi crew genuinely concerned the Porsche might have them on the ropes. Certainly, the opening laps saw the Cayman flying around the circuit with consistently fast times thanks to a well-balanced chassis and experienced driver.
Getting on the power early to hit the apex on boost, the Porsche driver had played with the suspension settings and Conti tire pressures to get it working exactly as he liked it. He set a time of 2.00.885, which appeared good enough for victory. However, we can never underestimate 034 Motorsport.
As the best-prepared and most professional crew in recent etGP history, 034 Motorsport was always favorite for this event since they've built a car to excel in every discipline, being powerful, fast and now reliable. During practice they had been experimenting with the tire pressures, suspension settings and even the amount of downforce in an attempt to balance the chassis with the huge amount of power. In the end, their speed was limited by the grip of the street tires, which didn't allow them to use full braking effort, and yet they still managed a 1:57.772. This was 3sec faster than their nearest challenger and seemed unassailable. Yet stranger things have happened between lunchtime and the checkered flag...
With 20min to set their best lap after lunch, all the teams made final preparations before taking to the track. And the team that benefited most was Evolution Racewerks whose BMW 135i climbed from eighth in practice to fifth in the final standings. They did this by shaving more than 17sec from their earlier best thanks to some determined driving and a powerful package. Given better preparation, this car could have finished third, but that's racing!
At the bottom of the pile was G-Power with a time of 2:20.911. While it represents a 5sec improvement, the team knows where it fell short and will address those areas next year with a proper chassis set-up and a professional driver. However, the best time was set late in the final session when the driver was simply having fun and drifting the turns. And while this is usually slower than a conventional racing line, it appears he was less afraid of the car snapping on him.
In seventh was Streamline Industries GTI, which again suffered with an inexperienced driver. On this occasion, Eric was skilled but unfamiliar with the track, and that cost him against Euro Sport Accessories. In the end,his best time of 2:12.707 was 6.5sec slower than Raffi's heroic 2:06.226, which put Raffi in a remarkable fourth place overall.
Another car where the driver was a critical piece of the package was the GT Pro Mercedes C63 AMG. It really shouldn't be in third place being the closest to stock, the heaviest, the only automatic and the only naturally aspirated car. However, the skilled driver pushed it into third place overall with a time of 2:03.029.
A car that should have beaten the C63 was the Gintani BMW M3. Again it suffered from a severe lack of grip and overheated brakes, but its horsepower should have pushed it faster than its best time of 2:08.024. We hope to see this car better prepared for next year.
With only two cars left, there's no prizes for guessing the TPC Racing Porsche Cayman was second with a time of 2:00.927. This was slightly slower than its practice time but it's impressive nevertheless.
So 034 Motorsport won the track day and overall honors in the 2009 eurotuner Tuner GP. Its incredible Audi A4 quattro set a blistering time of 1:57.407 and has set the benchmark for the GP's new venue.
Sadly, it's the last time we'll see this warhorse at etGP since the team is retiring it and will be building something new for etGP10. However, it won't disappear since the team intends to shed more weight and run it in Time Attack events such as Super Lap Battle next year.
So that was etGP09 - a glorious spectacle of horsepower and handling that crowned another champion and has highlighted the health of the European tuning scene. With new blood arriving, there's still plenty to get the saliva flowing, and still plenty to be excited about with the older cars.
Turn to the final conclusion pages to see where the teams ranked in the competition overall, taking each discipline into consideration and ranking them according to results. It was a dominant victory by 034 Motorsport but nobody need be ashamed for their valiant effort.
|034 Motorsport||Audi A4||AWD||1:57.407|
|TPC Racing||Porsche Cayman||RWD||2:00.927|
|GT Pro||Mercedes C63 AMG||RWD||2:03.029|
|Euro Sport Accessories||VW Golf GLS||FWD||2:06.226|
|Evolution Racewerks||BMW 135i||RWD||2:06.870|
|Streamline Industries||VW GTI 337||FWD||2:12.707|
2001 Audi A4
After snapping its crankshaft last year, the renowned Audi/VW tuner, 034 Motorsport, from Fremont, CA returned with one mission- domination. Its A4 has competed in etGP for the past two years, but on its third outing there wasn't going to be any guesswork.
"We spent six days testing the car at various tracks, changing suspension settings, testing tires, wheels, sway bars, breaking things and bringing them back. We tested the car to the point where nothing breaks and everything works optimally. If we'd brought the car here without testing, it would have broken in every event," explained 034 president Javad Shadzi.
The main difference from last year was a new turbo trim. 034 started testing with smaller turbos that were able to make more power than '08. "The engine was 100whp up with a smaller turbo." The 2.9 liter VR6 block remained the same but had been repaired from last year's crank casualty.
The suspension was now more sophisticated, with a blade-type rear sway bar. All the subframe bushings were switched from rubber to billet aluminum, and spherical bushings were used in the control arms. The driveshafts were upgraded along with lighter 17x9" Enkei wheels, which Javad told us were 12 lb lighter per corner compared to last year's 18s. "Even with narrower tires, we were 1.7 sec faster at Sears Point with the lighter wheels," he noted.
The team also played with a two-step launch control, with the ECU holding a pre-slected RPM to maximize takeoff for drag racing. A Tilton triple-disc clutch sealed the deal.
"Every decision was tested and datalogged. We had a year to complete the testing because we wanted to beat our own records. We put down more power than ever before and went faster on the quarter-mile. In a sense, we were competing against ourselves," Javad concluded.
A huge (literally!) factor in 034Motorsport's success was its own driver, Christian Miller, who won the '09 Koni Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner driver's championship for Compass360 Racing.
2008 BMW M3
This might be the first time you've heard of Gintani but rest assured; it won't be the last. After forming in '04 in Van Nuys, CA the shop began tuning BMWs and Minis. "We've been concentrating on R&D. Our testing is almost complete and we're ready to release our products," explained founder Alex Gintani.
Its star player is a new supercharger kit for the E9X M3 V8. Consisting of a Vortech T2 blower, eight-rib pulley, replacement manifold, heat exchanger, chargecooler and carbon airbox, the kit demonstrated both its brawn and longevity at etGP.
Although Alex wasn't able to finish his personal M3 for the event, he has several customers daily-driving the kit, so he brought Brian Sosa's M3 sedan. Equipped with Gintani's cat-less exhaust, the car put down an impressive number on the dyno with 100-octane and max boost of 9.5psi. They also lit up the drag strip, giving it second place in both competitions.
On the road course, however, factory brakes and a lack of traction presented problems. The team also didn't have a pro driver. "We tried our best with the customer car but we'll be back next year, bigger and better," Alex promised.
Contact: www.gintani.com, 818-787-8260
2007 Porsche Cayman S
etGP09 happened to be one of the most diverse fields in its history, and we were excited to welcome a Porsche Cayman into the mix. The Cayman is good value for money if you have around $60k. Yet older models, like this '07 Cayman S, are going for as low as $43k - considerably less than a new M3 or S4...
The Porsche Cayman is good out of the box, so it would be interesting to see how it fared against the highly modified Euros in our challenge.
With over 20 years repairing and tuning Porsche, TPC Racing from Maryland has been involved with Porsche racing since '98 and is responsible for 23 Grand Am wins. "We support everything from factory to club racing and have a diverse group of customers, but Cayman owners are great enthusiasts. These cars handle well and give a good bang for the buck," explained Mike Levitas, owner of TPC.
The car in etGP09 was owned by David Grieshaber from Northern California. It was fitted with TPC Racing's turbo kit plus sport springs and a sway bar package. "Our turbo kit basically takes the Cayman beyond 911 GT3 performance - it's faster than the GT3."
The kit consists of TPC's in-house GT62 turbo plus a chargecooler. The software was developed by TPC and Revo, so it's switchable. "Our kit has plenty of torque, so it's really good out of corners because it's not laggy but won't spin the tires like most turbo cars," Mike explained.
Although the Cayman's dyno numbers were overshadowed by some others, it shone on the road course where chassis balance was equally important. "It doesn't take big horsepower; just takes getting everything to work together," Mike smiled as he reflected on the car's performance.
Behind the wheel on the road course was Craig Stanton, a veteran driver who won the '05 Grand-Am Rolex GT series and '04 Grand-Am Koni Challenge GS class.
2009 Mercedes C63 AMG
While our dyno operators at GT Pro were busy strapping down cars and measuring horsepower, we had several competitors drop out at the last minute. And since GT Pro has been shifting its focus from Japanese imports to European tuning, they asked if we might include their Mercedes C63 AMG in the mix.
It's modification included GT Pro's mid-pipe exhaust, front strut brace and adjustable control arms. It also had software co-developed with Asura Design.
"We didn't expect to compete because its still early in the car's development, but we figured it would be a fun experience," Brian La Fuente from GT Pro explained.
The mildly-tuned car put up exceptional numbers on the drag, dyno and track, where it excelled with Koni Challenge GS and ST driver Billy Johnson behind the wheel.
At the track, GT Pro developed a front camber correction to improve its handling response using washers and ingenuity. The forged three-piece wheels from Advance.One Wheel were also a lifesaver. "They bent over backward to get the wheels done with one day's notice. Advance.One put everything on hold to take care of us," Brian said gratefully.
By next year, GT Pro will have a full range of products for the C63 from power adders to chassis mods. But for now, Brian's happy with the results. "We were the only normally-aspirated car there," he explained, "but we had a positive outcome with the C63 and plan to improve on that next year when we'll be better prepared."
Contact: www.gtpro.com, 714-447-1697
2008 BMW M3
G-Power is becoming a familiar name in the BMW scene. Although the German tuner has been around since '71, it only recently began making news in North America with incredible feats such as claiming to have the fastest BMW sedan and coupe in the world - its twin-supercharged M5 V10 hit 211mph three years ago and its M6 reached 228mph last year.
These accomplishments in Germany led to the recent opening of G-Power North America and new product such as supercharger kits for the M3, M5 and M6.
Partners Samir Said and Cameron Hassid are runnng G-Power USA and have made every effort to personally test the parts before presenting them to customers.
The red Coupe is Cameron's daily driver with more than 5000 miles on the kit. Cameron was also one of the few to drive to every event, racking up 800 miles and a speeding ticket in the process. Image Group "We're very happy. We knew our car was strong and we've shown it's dependable. We really wanted to beat up the car and see what breaks, but nothing has," Cameron said.
The G-Power kit consists of an ASA centrifugal blower, front-mount intercooler, uprated injectors and mounting hardware. The stage 2 kit is tuned to 7.5psi for the street, and during the competition the car was using a mix of 91-octane with splashes of 100-octane. It wasn't optimal but prevented possible engine knock when the car was pushed to its limits.
The G-Power and Gintani M3s made the most passes on the quarter-mile. But unfortunately, the Coupe's chassis remained almost stock and without a professional driver they struggled on the road course. But they proved the supercharger works flawlessly for daily driving and weekend track days. Next year, don't be surprised to see a stage 3 G-Power conversion with more power, tuned suspension and aspirations of a top finish.
2008 BMW 135i
Evolution Racewerks (ER) made its etGP debut with this BMW 135i, which has also competed in the Super Lap Finals two years in a row in the Street class.
The 1-Series is used for product development, being equipped with ER's own intercooler kit, charge pipe, exhaust and downpipe for the N54 motor. ER has also developed brake lines and the carbon widebody that allows it to fit wider front tires in order to overcome one of the 1-Series' weaknesses. Later this year, the tuner plans further suspension upgrades and an oil cooler for 1-Series customers.
After a promising effort in Super Lap Battle the week before with a 2:00min lap, the team was optimistic for its first GP. Unfortunately, everything went wrong.
"The dimensions of the Continental tires were bigger than we normally run," explained ER's Fred Su. "The Contis have a wider tread area and larger rim protector, and while it drove fine on the street, the problem arose on the quarter-mile. There were slight undulations on the track that compressed the suspension, pushing the wheels into the body. Every time I went over a hump, the car would lose traction as the tires locked up. I was fighting the car the whole way down. Because of that, I didn't run it at full power." Disappointed, the team earned a high 13-sec quarter-mile pass, although low-12s was in the tuner's forecast.
To keep the tires from rubbing on the road course day, they installed spacers. "This just caused the tires to rub on the outside of the fenders, shredding the sidewall," he told us. "It was dangerous so we raised the suspension. But this caused the rear tires to toe-out. So we had to re-align the suspension with each change or the car would just pin-out."
Constantly chasing a solution, the team ran out of time and Grand-Am driver VJ Mirzayan drove the road course conservatively because the rear-end was "very twitchy."
It didn't help either that the car developed a huge flat spot on a front tire after the brakes locked up during practice following an ABS fault after a visit to the dealer. This made the front grip very inconsistent. "The car was crippled," Fred concluded. "With the tire rub and intermittent ABS it was totally unpredictable, so we couldn't repeat our previous performance."
Unfortuantely, the ER 135i wasn't able to show off its full potential at etGP, but they hope to return next year.
Euro Sport Accessories
2001 VW Golf GLS
We can always count on Euro Sport Accessories to surprise us at etGP. Last year, It's Ford Focus finished in the middle of the pack, while the year before its Mk1 GTI terrorized the road course. This year, Euro Sport did it again; posting the lowest horsepower but one of the quickest lap times. It's all credited to great preparation by the VW/Audi/Ford tuner and excellent driving from Euro Sport owner, Raffi Kazanjian.
Euro Sport's '01 Golf GLS started stock with 160k miles on its 150hp 1.8T. Raffi and his crew then tore apart the car, bringing the weight to 2475 lb (2890 lb stock) and adding the best bolt-on parts to improve the chassis, power and throttle response. "The car really ran well," Raffi told us. "It's easier to drive on the road course with less horsepower, so I was able to put the power down. And it was doing all the right things in the corners."
Raffi has been competing in etGP from the beginning, with the goal of doing well on the road course using low horsepower setups. His Golf's handling was greatly improved with a Wavetrac LSD plus H&R coilovers, GIAC software and other Euro Sport goodies. He had planned a GT2871R turbo upgrade but ran out of time with other project conflicts.
His drag race results were weak due to a last minute short shift kit, which wasn't aligned properly. But Raffi's car undoubtedly proved a point that it's not always how much power you have that makes you fast. Balance, weight and driving skill are just as important in achieving exceptional lap times.
2002 VW GTI 337
New contender, Streamline Industries from Salt Lake City, UT, put on a good show with its budget-built GTI 337. The company specializes in Audi, VW and BMW servicing and upgrades. Owner Mark 'Elf' Ellefsen couldn't make it to etGP, but mechanic Jake Peacock along with part-timer Eric Gustavson, brought the race-prepped Mk4 GTI.
The car was driven to and from Southern California without a trailer. "The theory was to see how far we could push a relatively simple set-up," Eric began. "We intentionally didn't go big-turbo because we split the car's time between autocross and road course. Once you go big, the car becomes useless at autocross, so we kept it simple with a K04 upgrade."
The turbo package was reliable with its Audi TT injectors and MAF plus GIAC software. "The power curve doesn't fall off like the K03, so we're happy with it," he told us.
Equipped with the stock clutch, the car ran like a champ on the road course with the most laps of any car.
Eric drove the entire competition but took some time to learn the track. Compared to Euro Sport, for example, the lap times highlighted the difference a driver could make on the course. "It was very impressive to see Raffi on his home court," Eric admitted.
But Eric happily reported there were no issues with the car. There wasn't a single failure or overheating, even on the haul from Utah. "Our GTI doesn't have 500whp or all-wheel drive, but it was fun to run something budget-oriented," Eric said.
Revolution Mini Works
2003 Mini Cooper S
Revolution Mini Works from Orange County, CA was formed in 12/06 and sponsors some of the top racers in the Mini community. From Grand-Am, NASA and USTCC, the company provides support and parts for these cars.
Founder Jan Brueggemann brought his '03 Mini Cooper S with his stroker kit, larger supercharger and more, but unfortunately they retired on the track where he was hoping to shine. "We didn't properly clamp a coolant line," Jan explained. "It popped off, we lost water and the head gasket blew. Our driver Ian Stewart had never seen the track before and we were cutting three seconds each lap. We just needed a few more laps..."
The Mini gave a courageous effort but didn't have enough to finish the competition. "We're disappointed, but will be back next year," concluded Jan.
1. 034 Motorsport
2001 Audi A4
Dyno: 908.11whp, 730 lb-ft (1st)
Quarter mile: 10.736sec (1st)
Lap time: 1:57.407sec (1st) *Overall Winner
Engine 2.9 liter overbored VR6 24v block with ported R32 head, custom GT4202R turbo with 4" downpipe (dyno), GT3582R turbo with 3.5" downpipe (road course), JE pistons, forged rods, Techtonics cams, 1000cc Injectors, stock-size valves, high-rate springs, titanium retainers, porting, manifolds, FMIC, modified front core support, tubular exhaust and intake manifold, engine and trans mounts, 034EFI stage IIc engine management, remote oil filter
Drivetrain Stasis-built Audi close-ratio six-speed 01E transmission, Stasis 5:1 high-bias center diff, Stasis Motorsport clutch-type rear differential, CNC 034Motorsport aluminum flywheel, Tilton OT-II 7.25" triple-disc clutch, JH Motorsport short shifter, Apikol center diff mount, billet rear diff carrier mount, front and rear Axle Shafts
Suspension Stasis Ohlins three-way remote reservoir shocks, relocated front suspension pickup points, revised front suspension geometry, spherical control arm bushings, custom sway bars with blade-design rear bar
Wheels & Tires 17x9" Enkei wheels with 245/45 R17 Continental ContiSportContact3 tires
Brakes Stasis front brake kit with four-piston Alcon calipers, 328mm rotors, 034Motorsport rear brake upgrade with 300mm rotors, AP Racing 5500 dual master-cylinder pedals
Exterior replica RS4 front bumper, widebody and composite panels
Interior rollcage, Fuel Safe "saddle bag" dual fuel tank setup with surge tank and dual Bosch 044 Motorsport pumps, Firesafe system, driver's seat moved with extended steering shaft and OMP racing wheel
2. TPC Racing
2007 Porsche Cayman S
Dyno: 422.39whp, 347.61 lb-ft (4th)
Quarter mile: 12.442sec (3rd)
Lap time: 2:00.927sec (2nd)
Engine 3.4 liter flat-six with TPC Racing turbo kit, BBI underdrive pulley, chargecooler
Drivetrain six-speed manual transmission with Quaife LSD, Sharkwerks lightened flywheel, B&M short shifter
Suspension TPC Racing suspension
Wheels & Tires 19x8.5" front, 19x10" rear HRE C21 wheels with 245/35 front, 265/35 R19 rear Continental ContiSportContact3 tires
Brakes front Brembo brake kit with F50 four-piston calipers and 355mm rotors
Exterior Motor-Lux carbon rear diffuser and winglets, SpeedArt rear wing
Interior OE GT3 seats with Schroth six-point harnesses, Heigo roll-bar, DMC harness bar, FVD steering wheel, Sharkwerks fire extinguisher, Kenwood 9140 head unit, I-Shift shift light, LED lighting, Magden computer, Tragmate system
2008 BMW M3
Dyno: 592.42whp, 392.63 lb-ft (2nd)
Quarter mile: 12.214sec (2nd)
Lap time: 2:08.024sec (6th)
Engine 4.0 liter V8 with Gintani supercharger kit, cat-less X-pipe, race exhaust, chargecooler
Drivetrain six-speed manual transmission
Suspension H&R Race springs
Wheels & Tires 19x8.5" front, 19x10" rear BBS CH black wheels with 255/35 front, 295/30 R19 rear Continental ContiSportContact3 tires, wheel stud conversion, Neo chrome lugs
Brakes Goodridge stainless lines, Motul fluid
Exterior Karbonwerkes carbon trunk, LCI tail light conversion, smoked kidney and side grilles, painted
mirror covers, color-matched bumper reflectors
Interior chromoly rollcage, Recaro Profi SPG seats with custom suede upholstery, Schroth six-point harnesses, suede headliner
4. GT Pro
2009 Mercedes C63
Dyno: 414.52whp, 382.97 lb-ft (5th)
Quarter mile: 12.758sec (5th)
Lap time: 2:03.029sec (3rd)
Engine 6.3 liter V8 with GT Pro double-XX mid-pipe and "data streamer" datalogging, GT Pro/Asura Design software
Drivetrain seven-speed automatic
Suspension GT Pro front camber adjustment, MB Arts front strut brace and rear camber arms
Wheels & Tires 19x8.5" front, 19x9.5" rear ADV1 5.3 forged wheels with 245/35 R19 front, 265/30 R19 rear Continental ContiSportContact3 tires
2008 BMW M3
Dyno: 546.62whp, 376.80 lb-ft (3rd)
Quarter mile: 12.582sec (4th)
Lap time: 2:20.911sec (8th)
Engine 4.0 liter V8 with G-Power supercharger kit, Race Precision mid-pipe and exhaust, front-mount intercooler, uprated injectors
Drivetrain six-speed manual transmission
Suspension Eibach Pro-Kit springs
Wheels & Tires 18x8.5" front, 18x9.5" rear OE BMW wheels with 245/40 front, 285/35 R18 rear Continental ContiSportContact3 tires
6. Evolution Racewerks
2008 BMW 135i
Dyno: 392.28whp, 416.01 lb-ft (6th)
Quarter mile: 13.397sec (6th)
Lap time: 2:06.870sec (5th)
Engine 3.0 liter twin-turbo straight-six with Evolution Racewerks Competition Series front-mount intercooler, carbon ducting, charge pipe with TiAL blow-off valve, ER 3" downpipes, mid-pipes with high-flow catalytic converter and exhaust, custom dual oil-cooler system, Injen dual-cone intakes, Snow Performance stage 2 methanol injection, GIAC software, Motul oil and coolant additive, Odyssey PC680 dry-cell battery
Drivetrain six-speed manual transmission with Wavetrac rear LSD, 3.46:1 final drive, Motul tranny and diff oil
Suspension KW Clubsport coilovers and front sway bar, E92 M3 tension rod and lower control arms
Wheels & Tires 18x10" Forgeline ZX3R Competition wheels with 285/35 R18 Continental ContiSportContact3 tires
Brakes JCW brake conversion
Interior Recaro seats, harness bar, Schroth six-point harnesses
7. Euro Sport Accessories
2001 VW Golf
Dyno: 210.39whp, 251.13 lb-ft (9th)
Quarter mile: 14.545sec (9th)
Lap time: 2:06.226sec (4th)
Engine 1.8 liter 20v four-cylinder turbo with Euro Sport Cool-Flo Race intake, 2.5" downpipe, stainless exhaust, diverter valve and front-mount intercooler, GIAC software
Drivetrain five-speed manual with Euro Sport aluminum flywheel, Exedy stage 1 clutch, Wavetrac LSD
Suspension H&R coilovers with 457 lb front spring rate, Euro Sport front upper, lower and rear braces, front camber plates, SPC rear shims
Wheels & Tires 17x8" Enkei RPF1 wheels with 245/40 R17 Continental ContiSportContact3 tires, H&R spacers
Brakes Brembo slotted rotors, ATE fluid, Hawk pads
Exterior rear wing, carbon hood
Interior stripped interior, 18 lb Deka battery relocated
8. Streamline Industries
2002 VW GTI 337
Dyno: 225.95whp, 238.37 lb-ft (8th)
Quarter mile: 13.770sec (8th)
Lap time: 2:12.707sec (7th)
Engine 1.8 liter 20v four-cylinder turbo with Streamline Industries K04 turbo kit, Audi 225hp TT injectors, GIAC software, 4-bar fuel pressure regulator, Samco turbo inlet pipe, Forge Motorsport silicone hose kit and 007 diverter valve, Tyrol Sport side-mount intercooler, evoms intake with ITG filter, ECS pulleys, Techtonics 2.5" turbo-back exhaust, deleted air conditioning, VF-Engineering dog-bone and engine mounts
Drivetrain six-speed manual with R32 shift linkage, Peloquin LSD, VF-Engineering transmission mount
Suspension Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, OE S3 upper strut brace, Energy Suspension poly control arm bushings, Euro Sport rear upper tie bar, Neuspeed front lower tie bar and 28mm rear sway bar, H&R 21mm front sway bar, front camber plates 17x8" SSR Competition wheels with 245/40 R17 Continental ContiSportContact3 tires 328mm Brembo GT front brake kit with four-piston calipers, Pagid pads and Motul RBF600 fluid, ECS stainless lines, Hawk HPS rear pads
Wheels & Tires 17x8" SSR Competition wheels with 245/40 R17 Continental ContiSportContact3 tires
Brakes 328mm Brembo GT front brake kit with four-piston calipers, Pagid pads and Motul RBF600 fluid, ECS stainless lines, Hawk HPS rear pads
Exterior OE 25AE GTI headlights and Euro tail lights, carbon hood
Interior rear seat and spare tire deleted
9. Revolution Mini Works
2003 Mini Cooper
Dyno: 309.79whp, 258.83 lb-ft (7th)
Quarter mile: 13.570sec (7th)
Lap time: DNF
Engine 1.6-liter four-cylinder with Revolution Mini Works 2.0-liter stroker kit, Eaton 1320 TVS supercharger, balanced and blueprinted bottom-end and cylinder head, cam, header, chargecooler
Drivetrain six-speed manual transmission with Cusco LSD and Clutchmasters clutch
Suspension JRZ coilovers
Wheels & Tires 17x8.5" Motegi Tracklight wheels with 235/40 R17 Continental ContiSportContact3 tires
Brakes JCW brake conversion
Exterior JCW brake conversion
Interior Recaro seats, harness bar, Schroth six-point harnesses