The time has come. Having put our Mk5 Volkswagen Golf GTI through its paces up Prescott Hillclimb and around Curborough Sprint Course in stock form, we’re finally ready to start turning PH Project Car into the track weapon capable of outrunning a Mk8 Golf R 20 Years it was born to be. Well, that’s the hope anyway.
That of course means taking our original (lacklustre sports exhaust aside) Golf GTI to Pip Simcoe of BRS Automotive – aka PH Project Car HQ – as we get the car ready for the first round of mods. Given Curborough’s tight and technical nature, our initial focus will be on improving mechanical grip. New coilovers should help stop the GTI from wallowing in the corners, while stickier tyres should transform corner turn-in and traction. They should have a noticeable impact on braking performance, too, though we also plan on upgrading the front calipers, discs and pads – especially as the GTI developed a brake binding issue after our initial track runs.
If you’re familiar with the series, you’ll know that we’re only using parts and accessories found on eBay and we’re working to a budget of £10,000 – including the car. Thankfully, ticking off all the items on our shopping list was a piece of cake thanks to eBay’s My Garage feature. All you need to do is plug in your car’s number plate, allowing eBay to filter parts that are compatible with your car. You can either use the search box to find the parts you’re looking for, or use one of the preset filters to look for specific components such as brakes, body panels or wheels. Knowing that the parts we order will bolt right on to the car not only brings peace of mind, but also means we can crack on with the build without delay.
So, here’s what we’ve gone for: the coilovers come from BC Racing’s BR Series, which are built with track work in mind yet should also prove usable for everyday driving. (Remember, we’re giving PH Project Car away at the end of the series, and we’d like the eventual winner to be able to use it on the road without doing their back in.) For the tyres, we’ve gone for Nankang NS2Rs. These semi-slicks are our secret weapon, heating up quickly out on track and providing good performance right until you’re down to the canvas. Finally, the brakes. The calipers come from an Audi S3 – though eagled-eyed viewers will notice that someone’s slapped GTI stickers on them - and we’ve paired them up with new discs and pads to up the stopping power further.
All that was left was for Pip to get them bolted onto the GTI. One of my fears going into the build was that our GTI was such a minter that it wouldn’t look any different come the end of the project. However, the coilovers have slashed about 50mm from the GTI’s ride height, so it’s looking very racy indeed. Overall, though, it’s a proper sleeper. Tiny wheel-to-arch clearance, beefy brakes and a distinct lack of grooves on the tyres aside, it looks completely stock.
So, how much faster will the GTI go around Curborough? Can we claw back a decent chunk of the 5.5-second deficit to the Golf R 20 Years? You’ll need to watch the vid to find out. What I will say, however, is that beating a modern, all-wheel-drive super hatch no longer feels like mission impossible...
This video is presented in partnership with eBay. Shop for motoring parts and accessories here. To be in with a chance of winning our project car, click here, answer the question and cross your fingers. You’ve got until 11:59 on 5th November to get your answer in. Good luck!
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