For 33 year-old Marc-Andr Hubert from Gatineau in Canada, drag racing hasn't been an overnight infatuation. It's been his lifelong passion, starting when he was just 18 years old.
Back then he drove a European-spec Scirocco 16v turbo. He describes it as "super-clean." It was his daily driver for eight years. Along the way it made 406whp and ran 11.6sec quarter miles at 127mph.
"With the urge to continue racing, there was no way I was going to weld a cage into my precious 'Rocco," he told us. "So I sold the rolling chassis and kept the 16v motor."
Then four years ago, Marc bought his current '94 Golf 2.0 and had soon installed the 2.0 16v turbo, mating it to a Dodge automatic tranny.
Although it made 420whp at 20psi on pump gas, he admitted: "I spent too much money on that set up and it never ran right. I had a second child on the way, so decided to sell everything - the wheels, suspension, seat, harness, gauges, steering wheel, etc."
After a year off, family life had stabilized and he could again think about drag racing. "But this time I wouldn't stop until I was the top FWD VW drag racer," he declared.
So in 2008, running the stock tranny and ECU, the Autoxtrm Golf managed a 10.20sec quarter at 150mph. He then set his heart on 9s but came short. However, he'd vowed that nothing would stop him this time, so he contacted Franks Custom Fiberglass in Bernville, PA for a one-pieces front-end and wheelie bars. Then Rick Design in Drummondville, Quebec, made fiberglass doors and a hatch, dropping almost 100 lb from the Golf.
"We lost first place at the Fall Show & Go because we broke gears," Marc reminded us. So he contacted SQS Racing in the Czech Republic to obtain one of its dog-engagement gear sets. "This has been the key to going fast and being reliable," he confirmed.
To address the motor, Autoxtrm's "Piston Pete" CAD-designed a water/air intercooler and the team fabricated a better intake manifold. Then Bullseye Power built a custom AX368 turbo. The result was an additional 105whp at the same 37psi boost pressure, taking the total to 715whp.
Aware of the car's new potential, a tubular front-end and extra reinforcement was added. The cage was also altered and NHRA certified for 8.50sec.
After so much work, the team was rewarded with a 9.76sec run first time out. Then at Show & Go (in this issue) they ran 9.54 at 147mph with 23psi boost. Later they ran on worn-out slicks and recorded 9.67 at 157mph with 31psi.
Since that event, the team has added 15x9" Weld wheels to fit 27x10x15 M&H front slicks (up from 26x8.5x13). They also incorporated new front suspension from Hot Bits, which keeps the car stable at speed.
With the new equipment, Marc's was aiming for low 9sec runs at 31psi. He then planned to step up to full power (39psi) and hopefully record the first-ever 8sec pass from a FWD VW.
One of Marc's first dreams was realized when the Autoxtrm Golf became the fastest four-cylinder FWD VW, beating Joel Brown's record of 9.69sec. However, Marc had his sights on the C&M Jetta VR6, which held the North American record for fastest FWD VW at 9.38sec. Additionally, he was aiming to beat a VW Sapinho in Brazil that claimed to hold the FWD VW world record at 9.16sec.
So while we were putting this together, Marc thought the story would be better if he actually beat the FWD record in the US, so set a time of 9.19sec at 162mph running 34-35psi. That puts him within a whisker of the world record, and you know he won't stop there. You can see footage of the record run on YouTube.
With his single-minded determination, we don't doubt Marc and his Autoxtrm team will beat the one remaining time and put their Golf in the record books as the fastest in the world. Stay tuned and we'll bring you updates as it happens.
1994 VW Golf
Owner: Mark -Andr Hubert
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Occupation: co-owner of Autoxtrm
Engine: two liter 20v four-cylinder with AEG cast crank, 9:1 Wiseco pistons, Scat rods, Raceware head studs, ported/polish AEB head by TK Race Heads, Supertech valvetrain with stainless steel intake valves, inconel exhaust valves, titanium retainers, h/d springs, valve lock, Cat 3653 cams, Racecraft equal-length stainless exhaust manifold, Bullseye Power AX368 T3 70a/r V-band turbo, TiAL 44mm wastegate, World Electronics PBC-1 boost controller, 4" exhaust, Autoxtrm custom water/air intercooler, intake manifold and fuel rail, 80mm Hemi throttle-body, 1000cc Rochester injectors run by custom Eurodyne software in stock Bosch ME7 ECU, Aeromotive a1000 fuel pump, RCI one-gallon fuel cell, Elf 124 leaded fuel, Motul 300v motor oil and FF gear oil, Odyssey lightweight battery, aluminum radiator with 12" fan
Driveline: 02J casing with Peloquin differential, Dieselgeek stainless shifter ends, custom SQS Racing dog-engagement gear set, BFI stage 2 tranny mounts, Clutchmaster FX700 twin-disc clutch, custom A1-CVTech axles
Brakes: stock with Hawk pads and braided lines
Suspension: Hot Bits coilovers with custom valving and spring rates, urethane bushings all around, custom front traction bars and wheelie bar, 10-point rollcage tied to body
Wheels & Tires: 15x9" Weld Magnum front wheels with 27x10x15 M&H Racemaster slicks, 15x3" Weld Magnum rear skinnies with 24x3.6x15 M&H slicks
Exterior: Franks Custom Fiberglass one-piece front-end, Rick Design fiberglass hatch, lexan windows
Interior: Kirkey seat, G-force five-point cam-lock harness and safety net, custom dash with Stewart Warner gauges for 40psi boost, oil pressure, water temp, oil temp and battery voltage, AEM wideband, Auto Meter Pro Shift Lite
Thanks: Bullseye Power, eurodyne.ca, a1cvtech.com, tkracehead.com, Royal LePage, Energie 104.1 radio station, John at M&H, Roch Cyr, my wife and family, Denis and Pierre at the shop (www.autoxtrem.com)