Author Topic: trackday prep - what you have done and what do you recommend?  (Read 97444 times)

Offline lewis1641

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,894
  • stuck in the 90's
noticing there's getting to be more interest in prepping golfs for track action and many people are interested in what others have already done and importantly what we feel to have been worth while.  thought it might be an idea if people with track prepped cars leave a few details of what they have done and maybe a few hints and tips to help others along the way.

here goes...

i was fortunate enough to buy this car pretty much as it is now. i have missed the enjoyment of development but saved a fair few quid!

the interior has been partially stripped. i would recommend this as a first step for anyone with a track specific car. i stripped my last car down to the dash and 2 seats and a difference is easily felt. the best bit is it only costs time. the even better bit is you can usually sell off your unwanted bits of trim. i removed the heater and fan from the last car but as we use it on the road as well we have left this one in in the interest of comfort!

front seats have been replaced with a pair of corbeau buckets. these mount to the floor using custom (read:home) made sub frames which locate in the original points on the floorpan. harnesses are fitted however having read a few posts on here it seems they ought to be attached to a cage rather than the rear seatbelt mounts.

suspension has been replaced with koni adjustables with eibach springs giving a 40mm drop all round. the ride is laterally stiff but suprisingly comfortable.  underneath you will find a lower strut brace which runs between the wishbones. the wishbones themselves have been seam welded for added rigidity. everything is held onto the car via polly bushes front and rear.  theres a strut brace between front and rear shock towers.uprated eibach anti roll bars stiffen things up further

brakes are standard 8 valve calipers. standard size but new grooved disks at the front and standard at the rear with new calipers all round.  fluid has been changes for dot 5.1 and the hoses are stainless goodrich items. we had some drilled disks but they cracked after about 2 hours at cadwell...

we have a couple of sets of wheels and tyres which may sound extravigant but it makes sense in the long run and being frugal on ebay has kept costs to a minimum. we have a set of 15 inch g60 steels with fate (cheap) 195/50/15's for the road and wet or rough track use.  for smooth tracks (and occasionally on the road) we have a set of stock 14 inch steels running 185/60/14 max sport cut 'slicks'. these are road legal and really sticky but noisy! finally we have a set of 15 inch chav alloys running michelin slicks of an unknown compound. to save these from unecessary wear we have only run them so far on propper tracks (cadwell)

engine wise we are running an 8 valve 1.8 motor which has had a blueprint rebuild. bottom end has been lightened and balanced. top end is standard but has been match ported.  air is introduces via a k and n cone filter and exits through a stainless magnex manifold back system.  the only engine mod is a superchip in the ecu. it is running 121 bhp at the wheels which doesnt sound particularly impressive but the power curve is basically a straight line at 45 degrees!

so was it worth it?

the engine feels great but if i was buying a fresh car to track i wouldnt go the expense that this has seen. i bet the engine rebuild would have gone quite a long way towards a transplant for a fast engine!  if you are on abugdget there is plenty of poke in a bog stock 8 valve engine to have loads of fun. the best part is that these cars were pretty well thought out from  the factory.  the engine is reasonable, the brakes are good enough for the types of speed the engine is capable of and the suspension is well up to the job even standard. a lot of fun can be had is a standard car. brake fade will eventually spoil your day though.

the interior strip is definately a must if it is predominantly a track car. if you still want it to be useable then you need to be sensible.

the best part of this car are the poly bushes, the brakes and the track day tyres.

the bushes make everything feel really connected and positive. they make a huge difference. i am sure the braces probably do something but i doubt an average driver woiuld notice.  although our brakes are nothing too special we dont suffer from fade so we can stay out longer.  if i had the money i would like them to be a bit more powerful but i am happy as they are.  the cut slick trackday tyres are amazing. htey offer huge levels of grip but let go progressively, as opposed to the slicks which are a bit more violent when they lose traction. they are also road legal which is fun in the dry. understeer is a thing of the past and i dont think there is much on the road that could take a roundabout faster!

so thats my car and my suggestions - weight, brakes and tyres.

(jv - please keep this on topic to make it useful, not just ask more questions ;) )
« Last Edit: 22 April 2008, 16:00 by lewis1641 »


  • Guest
Re: trackday prep - what you done and what do you recommend?
« Reply #1 on: 22 April 2008, 08:54 »
i havent done any trackdays yet but im almost ready and will deffo be doing them this summer. so far i have done the following-

all rubber bushes changed for poly
coilovers + arb's
g60 brakes, good pads, motul rbf600 fluid, braided lines
abf engine
mocal oil cooler
decent gauge for oil temp and pressure (i dont trust the vw gauges!)
drivers bucket seat

i still want to get a front upper strut brace and omp do a 4 point lower brace that looks good. its a bit compromised as i still use it everyday. it will get stripped, rollcaged etc when i get a 2nd car
also thinking of having a switch to manually turn the rad fan on as im paranoid about overheating!
« Last Edit: 22 April 2008, 09:28 by veedubgti16v »

Offline Paul86S2

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,376
OK Mk3 16V GTI 149k miles

Bought standard apart from twin headlights and 16 inch antera wheels.

Interior stripped apart from dash, headlining and partial front door cards. Total weight saving 102 kgs so far, makes a real difference. Headlining still in to stop condensation dripping. Mesh in front radiator grill.
Cobra bucket seats and proper seat frames to suit. 4 point harnesses attached to rear seat belt mountings (make sure your lap belt is tight and on your lap, not your belly).
Smaller diameter steering wheel, airbags removed.
Electric window mechanisms swapped for manual ones.
Hottuning coilovers, really good on the track, not so good on the road.
Front top strut brace which helps on the track.
Engine - standard apart from ebay chip which raises the rev limiter and aircon removed. Magnex cat back exhaust which did help performance. tried a K&N panel filter in standard airbox and couldn't notice a difference, tried it in a drilled airbox, still no difference apart from induction noise. Will try the K&N in a standard airbox with all the inside stuff taken out on Friday.
Brakes - 288mm drilled discs which have been freeze treated to supposedly stop cracking and warping. Mintex extreme front brake pads, standard rears, abs disabled. Brake cooling ducts in front bumper and pipework to push air at the calipers. Racing blue fluid, and goodridge braided hoses. No fade, but extreme heat last summer which melted paintwork on the wheels, hence the cooling ducts. Not had a hot track day since.
Manual cooling fan switch which I use for 5 minutes after each session, never been needed during a session. A lot of head gasket failures happen after the engine has been switched off after fast driving. Sensor temp jumps 5 to 10 degrees after switching off, so now I run the engine with fan for 5 minutes afterwards.

Stuff still to do - battery relocation to the rear. Front lower strut brace. Rear strut brace. Cage. Polybushes. Astra brake cooling ducts to fit to front wishbones. Got some lighter BBS wheels to try when i get tyres for them. Sort out some light door card replacements. Decat pipe. More weight saving. Driving instruction.

Weight saving very worthwhile and free, brakes expensive but really needed, bucket seats and harnesses give a good feeling of safety and stop you being thrown around the car, coilovers definately improved handling on track, decent tyres a must (not tried sticky track tyres yet) all the rest is icing on the cake, not required but nice if you can afford it. I'm trying to do one thing before each trackday or at the trackday to see if it makes a difference.

I think thats it.



Offline Stu.750

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,843
  • MMMMMMM Rust my favourite
My Golf is nowhere near finished yet but ive track dayed both a 205 gti and an XR2i (ill dig some pics out)

 i found the best way to improve and enjoy your cars was to

1 - Add lightness

2 - Improves stopping

3 - improve suspension

 stripping a car imediatly stiffens the suspension and makes the car feel more agile , improving the brakes means you can brake later and harder - and suspension is a given

Offline Organisys

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,340
  • Old and Slow...
Mk2 Golf G60 Edition One
It's not a dedicated track car, so remains road legal and usefull for weekends.

Check all standard mechanicals, change fluids etc before any upgrades.
Big Mocal Oil Cooler
Pagid Fast Road Pads and Zimmerman discs
Braided brake lines
Dot5 brake fluid
68mm charger pulley and SNS chip.
G-Werks charger rebuild
G60 Steels with Toyo T1s (for now) will be changing to R888s for track only.
Weitek Coilovers, height and damping adjustable. (two turns down from the top for road, two more for track)
20mm rake front to rear ride height.
Chassis alignment. -2 deg neg camber, some toe in too.

On arrival at track, remove all weight from car possible. spare wheel, jack, rear seats..

« Last Edit: 23 April 2008, 13:23 by Organisys »

... it's turned into a fashion show for poofters.

Offline golfmart

  • Just got here
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Hi all,
I bought a mk2 ryder model (1.6 8v on carb) early last year, for the pure purppose as a track car (i know not the quickest but we all have to start some where when on a tight budet).
and only a week before the trackday, so did'nt have much time to do much to it!
so just stripped as much of the interior as i could.
The lad i bought it off had spent a little money on it getting it to look like a gti, sports back box 15" alloys tints gti bumpers and on corrado pads (which are better compound and and more pad area apparently!).
the first track day was "intesting" shall we say! as this is a trackcar its kept off road and trailered to the track, so this was the first time id drove it in anger.    It soon came aparant of the work that was needed but a good day all the same, it had lots and lots of body roll but the brakes were very good!
Throughout last year ive replaced the suspention with jom 40% uprated and 40mm drop all round, k&n bolt on filter and carb re-balanced, a pair of cobra bucket seats, and 4 point hanesses and then just weeks before this years trackday found a hole in the rad so it now got a oversized alloy rad ( no chance of over heating now!)
This years trackday was Brill the car was completely differant. It made so much difference in proper seats as last year spent most of the time sat on our lasses lap when cornering!lol  The supention now gave a  good firm ride and feed back.
Now just picked up a gti lump to drop in at a very good price with everything i need apart from fuel pumps which im now trying to source. cant wait!!

Drive it like you stole it!

Offline Paul86S2

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,376
Sounds like you had some good fun.
Performance is good, but handling is just as important as you have found out. However your car performs and handles you can still have a lot of fun.
Finding and driving to yours and the cars limits is very rewarding, when you gradually get better and get the car handling better you will be surprised how much faster you can go.
Modifications are best done slowly so that you can see what actually works and what doesn't.

Lots of people on here who can offer good advice.

What track are you using.

Have fun


Offline golfmart

  • Just got here
  • *
  • Posts: 6
the track i use is cadwell park in lincolnshire, its my nearest and one hell of a track! its got everything, fast corners, slow corners, off camber, hills, a true drivers circuit!
one of the only problems i have is time and money not enough of both!
still got plenty of things in mind to do to the car.
any advice is most welcome
Drive it like you stole it!

Offline Rob S

  • Not said much yet
  • **
  • Posts: 70
Re: trackday prep - what you have done and what do you recommend?
« Reply #8 on: 19 January 2010, 07:48 »

I can recommend them without hesitation, great in anything better than damp conditions, stunning in the dry!
« Last Edit: 19 January 2010, 20:07 by Rob S »

Offline Diamond Hell

  • Serious forum addict
  • *
  • Posts: 8,001
  • Opinions я Us
Re: trackday prep - what you have done and what do you recommend?
« Reply #9 on: 19 January 2010, 09:09 »
I can't recommend them without hesitation, great in anything better than damp conditions, stunning in the dry!

Having used mine in the pouring rain at Brands I was still massively impressed by them, right up to standing water, when you should be afraid. Very afraid.
Just because you're offended doesn't make you right.

Holiday cottages on the Isle of Wight for 2-10 people? PM me.