Gary Semerdjian, owner of 247-Parts.com, has been into racing cars for years, and if you paid attention to the etGP coverage from last month, you'll know that the Corrado SLC he brought with him was built to run on the track. Gary and a few others finished with much lower standings in the drag racing and dyno events, and this was all due to the cars' lower power output. These participants all entered poorly disguised race cars hoping to make up for the lack of raw power during the track event with stiff chassis.
Gary did really well during the practice session, all while gaining time on some of the higher horsepower cars. Unfortunately, Gary had a few issues with his suspension during the timed event, and his time suffered. The problem was that the front left shock on his car had blown out. It threw the whole car out of wack and the Corrado started lifting and locking up the rear right tire through right turns. This presented a problem, considering about 90 percent of the apexes on Streets of Willow head in that direction. With the amount of time left in the day, it was out of the question to change the suspension, so Gary took the cards he was dealt and made do.
'92 VW Corrado SLCDriver: Gary SemerdjianLap Time: 1:37.881Contact Info: 247-Parts.com, 866/88-SPEED, www.247-Parts.comEngine: 2.8L VR6, JE pistons, Euro Sport intake and plug wires, 247-Parts.com exhaust, header, and oil cooler, NGK spark plugsDriveline: VW 02A five-speed manual, Quaife LSD, stock clutch, and flywheelInterior: Corbeau Kevlar one-piece race seats, VDO gauges, Momo pedals, VW Golf II shift knobSuspension/Brakes: Ground Control Advanced Design shocks and race springs, 247-Parts.com IT spec front and rear sway bars, front strut tie brace and bushings, OEM Corrado rotors, Hawk pads, Goodrich stainless steel brake linesWheels/Tires: 15x7 Panasport C5CF
ABD Racing'04 VW R32Driver: Dave RoyceLap Time: 1:34.025Contact Info: ABD Racing, 909/351-9566, www.abdracing.comEngine: 3.2L VR6, K&N intake, ABD Racing exhaust, VF Engineering V9F Vortech supercharger, GIAC chipDriveline: VW 02M six-speed manual, ABD short-shift kitInterior: Stock seating, ABD Racing pedalsSuspension/Brakes: Eibach coilovers, Eibach front and rear camber kit, ABD front strut tie bar, OEM brakesWheels: 18x7.5 HRE 540
After ABD's strong showing with its VR6 last year, the company decided to bring another one. Not only was it a VR, it was the oh-so-coveted R32 version that was recently introduced to the US market. The car was fairly simple as modifications go, with only a hint that it had been messed with coming from the 18-inch HRE 540 wheels and lowered stance. This was the first time that many of the participants had even seen a genuine R32, let alone a supercharged one.
The car did well on the dyno and at the dragstrip and proved itself to be a worthy competitor at the road course, too, despite its lofty curb weight. The real beauty of this car was that it was basically a stock car with the exception of some suspension and a VF Engineering supercharger. But with the power it had, it pulled off a fifth place finish just behind two full race cars and two high-powered Audis. Impressive, indeed. After watching its performance over the three days of etGP, we're almost convinced that the R32 isn't actually a "too little too late" attempt by Volkswagen at what a GTI should be.
AchtuningIt isn't often that you are standing on US soil and spot a moving RS4, let alone one that is being flogged on the track. But that is just what this year's etGP participants witnessed. Joshua Decker, owner of Achtuning, brought out his pride and joy to our event. Josh has spent many years and many more dollars getting this car federalized so he can drive it on city streets, and after watching it perform, it was money well spent.
The real joy of watching this car move was knowing that, for the most part, it was stock. That's right - the only modifications were the StopTech brakes and a custom AMS chip. The best part of it all was that the car placed second in the track event - the RS4 is a capable car, but it didn't hurt that Gary Sheehan, with a resume boasting a NASA US Touring Car Championship and a BRS F2000 Championship, was behind the wheel. The car did incredibly well in all the etGP's categories and proved itself to be a formidable competitor even in stock form.
'01 Audi RS4Driver: Gary SheehanLap Time: 1:29.528Contact Info: Achtuning, 877/7-ACHTUNING, www.achtuning.comEngine: 2.8L twin-turbo V6, AMS ECUDriveline: six-speed manualInterior: OEM Audi RecaroSuspension/Brakes: Audi GmBH quattro sport suspension, Neuspeed 22mm rear sway bar, StopTech 355mm front brakes and stainless steel brake lines, Performance Friction FRC97 pads, quattro sport rear brakesWheels: 18-inch OEM wheels
Avalon Motorsports'02 Audi S4Driver: Paul LambertLap Time: 1:30.739Contact Info: Avalon Motorsports, 303/400-3001, www.avalonmotorsports.comEngine: 2.7L twin-turbo V-6, K04 turbos, Bosch RS4 injectors, Evolution Motorsports S4 cold air intake, UUC Motorwerks, Velocimax 3 exhaust, Forge 007 diverter valves, GIAC chip, AWE Tuning MAF, Autospeed 3-inch downpipesDriveline: six-speed manual, Tanoga short-shift kit, RS4 clutch, RS4 shift leverInterior: OEMSuspension/Brakes: Stasis Engineering coilovers, Intrax 27mm front sway bar, 22mm rear sway bar, Stasis Big Blue 355mm front brakes, RS4 310mm rear brakes, SBS X25 pads, Goodridge stainless steel brake linesWheels: 19x8.5 iForged Aero wheels
There was no overall winner of this event. But if we really wanted to do the math, the Avalon car came up as the best overall, while outright it only won the drag race. Avalon had a respectable finish on the road course, with Paul Lambert from Stasis driving the car and lapping the course just a second behind the Achtuning RS4. Zev Barnett, owner of Avalon Motorsports, had dreams of crushing a real RS4, but that only came true on the dragstrip.
The car did exceptionally well and ran strong throughout the day. In case you were wondering, it's quite an accomplishment to get an S4 to run hard all day in 105 degree temps; for some reason S4s like to get hot. It could be those pesky twin turbos, but who knows. The car showed very consistent lap times and proved to have a dialed in suspen-sion. Did we mention that Zev drove the car home later that night, bumping his system? That's what we call a pimp.
Bahn Brenner MotorsportAfter last year's etGP, John Betz from Bahn Brenner Motorsport was bound and determined to make a better showing this year, and it was a gallant effort. However, the race car gods were not on his side, and despite all the efforts of him and his dedicated crew over the course of the three days, the Corrado didn't finish the event. Now, before anyone gets all crazy, let us explain what this team did to get as far as they did.
On the first day of the etGP, they had zero problems; the car ran flawlessly. On the second day, the proverbial "poop" started to hit the fan. During the drag runs, in an effort to get the car into the 12s, the tranny let go. After a grueling night of Red Bull and greasy hands, BBM had installed a new tranny but left the original clutch. Oops. During the road course practice, John and Ty Smyth were clocking off respectable 1:35.910 lap times. Then it happened - a slight jerk and all of a sudden all you could hear was what sounded like thousands of BBs rattling around in the bell housing. Upon further inspection, BBM realized the throwout bearing had let go - game over. With a new relationship between Kraftswerk and BBM, we don't expect they will be having these problems again.
'90 VW CorradoDrivers: Ty Smyth and John BetzLap Time: DNFContact Info: Bahn Brenner Motorsport, 253/833-2299, www.bahnbrenner.comEngine: Euro spec 1.8L 20v l-4, Schrick cams, Ross pistons and rings, ARP fasteners, Pauter rods, Euro big-port head, BBM screw compressor, intake manifold, and custom fuel rail, intake, throttle body, exhaust, header, cam gears, spark plug wires, blow-off valve, wastegate, intercooler, boost controller, copper head gasket, and oil pan, Tech III ignition, Bosch 80 lb/hr injectorsDriveline: Peloquin LSD, BBM short shift and shift lever, Spec Stage III clutch, Drive Shaft Shop axlesTranny #1: VW 02A Euro spec Sport six-speed manualTranny #2: Kraftswerk 02A six-speed manual with VW Motorsports gearsInterior: Momo race seats, steering wheel, shift knob, Auto Meter gauges in custom dash panel, BBM shift knob, Sparco pedals, custom rollcage, battery relocation box, fuel cellSuspension/Brakes: H&R race coilovers with custom spring rates, Autotech front strut tie bar, rear strut tie bar, 28mm rear sway, 22mm front sway, polyurethane bushingsWheels: 17x9 Kodiak custom race wheels
Euro Sport Accessories'75 VW RabbitDriver: Raffi KazanjianLap Time: 1:33.118Contact Info: Euro Sport Accessories, 800/783-3876, www.eurosportacc.comEngine: 1.8L 20v I4, Kent cams and adjustable power pulley, three-angle valve job, ported and polished head, Facet fuel pump, ITG Megaflow Race Filter intake, Euro Sport 2.25-inch race exhaust, 4-into-1 header, 8mm plug wires and baffled oil pan, Scirocco 16v ignition, Bosch spark plugs, Sk 45mm sidedraft carburetorsDriveline: five-speed manual, Quaife LSD, Euro Sport short-shift kit and lightened flywheel, Sachs 16v clutchInterior: Corbeau Forza race seats, Gutted interior, VDO gauges, Momo steering wheel, Model 69 shift knob, King pedalsSuspension/Brakes: H&R race coilovers, Euro Sport custom torsion bar rear sway, Euro Sport polyurethane bushings, camber plates, 9.4-inch Euro Sport slotted rotors, 8.9-inch slotted rear brakes, stainless steel brakes lines, Hawk blue race pads Wheels: 15x7 OZ Superleggera wheels
This is Raffi's second year competing in the etGP, and it's his second year finishing fourth place on the road course. This year, he did it with his '75 VW Rabbit. Raffi is becoming well known for schooling cars on the road course with a much lower horsepower output than the other cars. We say this because every car that he beat on the road course had a significant power advantage on his little Rabbit. Hell, all the cars had a significant power advantage over the Rabbit.
Raffi is an excellent driver though, and he builds cars that focus on just enough power with lots of handling prowess. Raffi's car ran consistent times throughout the three days of the etGP this year, and the car never once gave him a bit of trouble. We asked Raffi how he felt about constantly placing fourth in the event and he said, "I came out here to have fun, and the car always does extremely well. It's never boring to see what it can do against cars that outmuscle it." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
EvosportThere is something slightly humorous when a company's first choice for a car doesn't come through and an automatic luxury car is brought instead. This is exactly what happened to Evosport. The company was originally planning on bringing out a supercharged E46 M3, but due to issues with the car just before the event, an '02 AMG C32 was brought in its place. The funny thing was this automatic luxury car also played the part of ferocious track car, and it did a damn fine job by finishing sixth on the road course, right behind the all-wheel-drive cars and Euro Sport's race Rabbit.
Watching the car snake through Streets of Willow was quite a sight. The car was constantly stepping the rear end out and smoking the back tires while exiting the corners. The best part was watching the Benz come sliding out of a corner with smoke pouring off the tires and hearing it slip, not shift, into the next gear. The car handled the track with ease, making the U-turn at the skid pad into a wonderful mix of tire smoke, screeching noises, and counter steer, all mixed in with that wonderfully amusing sound of the tranny slipping into the next gear. Good show.
'02 Mercedes-Benz C32Driver: Gary KaramikianLap Time: 1:35.130Contact Info: Evosport, 714/901-3100, www.evosport.comEngine: 3.2L supercharged V6, Evosport Evolution IV+ boost kit, intake, catalytic converter, intercooler, and spark plug wires, Supersprint header and exhaust, Power Chip ECU upgradeDriveline: five-speed automatic with AMG SpeedShiftInterior: OE interior with custom upholstery, OE Formula 1 Safety car steering wheel, Carlsson pedalsSuspension/Brakes: H&R coilovers, front and rear sway bars, Brembo GT 14-inch front brakes, GT 13.6-inch rear brakes, Pagid Orange padsWheels: 18x8.5 front and 18x9.5 rear BBS RA wheels
Momentum Motor Parts'99 VW Golf GTIDriver: Phil BoznikLap Time: 1:42.496Contact Info: Momentum Motor Parts, 604/552-9701, www.momentummotorparts.comEngine: 2.8L VR6, MMP 8.5:1 stainless steel head gasket, G60 fuel injectors, extra CIS fuel pump, Schritt Design intake, 3-inch exhaust, MMP/Schritt Design downpipe and intercooler, MMP CTT timing control module, Turbonetics T04B turbo, GReddy Type S blow-off valve and Profec B Spec 2 boost controller, Tial 38mm wastegate, custom oil cooler, Nitrous ExpressN-tercooler sprayer, KCD engine mountsDriveline: 02J five-speed manual, Quaife LSD, Clutchnet six-puck clutchInterior: Sparco Torino race seats, harnesses, Auto Meter gauges, Momo steering wheelSuspension/Brakes: FK Silverline Plus X coilovers, Suspension Techniques 25mm front sway bar, 28mm rear sway bar, Prothane polyurethane A-Arm bushings, MMP/Wilwood 13-inch front brakes, 11.5-inch rear brakes, Wilwood pads, MMP stainless steel linesWheels: 17x8 OZ Superleggera wheels
This was Momentum Motor Parts' second time at the etGP, but this year they brought out something that was slightly different than last year's entry. This time around, a Silver Mk3 GTI was entered, and the car was slightly better balanced than MMP's turbo VR6 Mk2 was. The Mk3 was also more adept to the road course, possibly due to the suspension setup and the lower horsepower output.
The car did very well in the summer heat, with not a single problem arising during the whole competition. A VR6 turbo that runs hard all day in 105 degree temps is even more impressive than Avalon's S4 that hung in there so well. The only problem we could see was that MMP's driver was simply out-skilled by some of the full-on professional drivers other teams brought to the competi-tion. He did exceptionally well, but not as well as a pro driver would have done in the same car. The unfortunate part of the day for MMP was when its driver experienced some minor difficulties from putting a couple wheels off course during the timed laps. With only two hot laps recorded, this severely affected MMP's times and played a large part in the road course event's final results.
Stasis EngineeringEveryone was expecting big things from Paul Lambert, his crew, and his low-powered Audi A4 race car, but nobody quite expected the Stasis crew to treat the etGP like a real race. After the drag event, the crew swapped out the clutch and proceeded to set up the chassis for the tight road course. When the practice session at Streets of Willow began, the Stasis car was one of the first to hit the course, with Paul navigating the car and his crew standing track-side with a clipboard and lap timer.
There was little surprise when the final numbers came back, with Stasis winning the track portion of the event by over half a second. In fact, the only real surprise was that Achtuning, in a mostly stock RS4, managed to keep pace with Stasis' full race car and professional driver. Then again, Achtuning's driver, Gary Sheehan, is a professional driver in his own right. Stasis' top positioning reconfirmed our knowledge that a good driver is equally as important at the track as a car's setup. Since we're not nearly at Paul's driving level, however, we're going to continue to build overpowered cars.
B5 Audi A4Driver: Paul LambertLap Time: 1:28.901Contact Info: Stasis Engineering, 888/9-STASIS, www.stasisengineering.comEngine: 2.8L 12v V6, Stasis competition engine design, Motec engine managementDriveline: five-speed manual, Tilton dual-plate clutch, Stasis lightweight flywheelInterior: Momo race seat, full cage, fire suppression system, Auto Meter gaugesSuspension/Brakes: Ohlins three-way adjustable dampers, Hyperco competition springs, modified suspension arms with rod ends and spherical bearings, Stasis adjustable front camper links, upper wishbones, and rear toe linksWheels: 17x7.5 forged aluminum race wheels
TJM Motorsport'00 Audi A4Driver: Tim McLeanLap Time: DNFContact Info: TJM Motorsport, 866/DAHLBACK, www.tjmmotorsport.comEngine: '04 model 1.8T I-4, customBorgWarner KKK turbo, Dahlback Racing/Schrick cams and pistons, Dahlback Racing wastegate and blow-off valve, custom rings, crankshaft, valves, valve springs, retainers, intake manifold, fuel system, exhaust, downpipe, cam gears, and oil pan, Bosch spark plugsDriveline: five-speed manual, Sachs double-disc racing clutchInterior: Sparco Evo seats, TJM custom dash and center console, Auto Meter gauges, Audi RS4 shift knobSuspension/Brakes: Dahlback coilovers and sway bars, factory disc brakesWheels: 18-inch BBS CH wheels
TJM did exceptionally well on the dragstrip, and the little 1.8T wowed everyone on the dyno, so we were looking forward to seeing how its Dahlback-built four-banger would do at Streets of Willow. There were two slight concerns before the track day, though. One, car owner Tim McLean had limited seat time in this particular car. And two, we'd noticed slight levels of blue smoke flowing from the car's tailpipe at the dragstrip. Blue smoke means oil problems, and oil problems are the last thing you need at a road course.
During the practice sessions, TJM amazed everyone by posting a time of 1:32.352, just 3.5 seconds off the prac-tice session leader, Stasis. During its fifth practice lap, however, Tim noticed an oil pressure problem and pulled the A4 into the pits to see exactly what the issue was. Unfortunately, the motor was in the initial stages of spinning a bearing, and rather than risking a thrown rod and ultimately a totaled motor, the TJM crew withdrew from the competition. Sad, really, because if the car would have made it to the timed runs, it stood a good chance of posting a fourth place finish.
WRDJohn Gardner, owner of WRD, took part in etGP for the first time this year. He entered his personal car that housed a fully built VR6 and not much else. The car was a race car under a very thin veil of somewhat shiny paint. Every time the car passed on the track, you felt it in your chest. The car was fast, but not quite fast enough. John finished seventh out of nine on the road course, but we're confident that was only due to the driver. You see, while 90 percent of the participants brought a ringer with them to drive, John did it all himself. And not unlike Momentum's driver, he was faced with the stark reality that professional drivers whoop your ass no matter what you try.
John is a drag racer and he did exceptionally well in that competition, but road racing just "isn't his bag, baby." John did have the foresight to think about this, and he even had a pro lined up to drive. Unfortunately, the driver couldn't make our schedule, so at 1:00 p.m., when we ran the timed laps, John had to drive the car himself and pray for the best. We would like to point out that for being somewhat inexperienced, John did drive very well - just not as well as the pros, and that hurt him overall.
'99 VW GTIDriver: John GardnerLap Time: 1:35.451Contact Info: WRD, 916/781-EURO, www.wrdusa.comEngine: 2.8L VR6 bored to 3.0L, Schrick 268 cams and intake manifold, Ross pistons, WRD Big Valve Head III and intake, Techtonics exhaust, OBX Racing header, Unichip ECU upgrade, ARP boltsDriveline: five-speed manual by Kraftswerk, Spec six-puck clutch, Driveshaft Shop axlesInterior: Momo Start seats, shift knob, pedals, and steering wheel, rollcageSuspension/Brakes: Koni shocks/Ground Control Springs, Neuspeed 22mm front and, 28mm rear sway bars, Prothane polyurethane bushings, Eurospec cross-drilled 11.3-inch front brakes and 8.9-inch rear brakes, Mintex Red Box pads, Goodridge stainless steel brake linesWheels: 17x8 Enkei RPFI wheels