With lap times tumbling the limits of the parts already installed on the Project 7R were being discovered. That means it’s time for another round of upgrades!
The last upgrade saw our MK7R gain a set of the ultra-sticky, durable yet road legal Nankang AR-1 tyres. The grip and traction provided from these tyres far outweighed the PSC2s before. The only problem with this is that due to the massive stability under braking and higher braking point entry speeds the OE sized Golf 7R discs and callipers started to show extreme signs that this setup was no longer suitable.
Firstly, the calliper weather seals have melted and as these are no longer available separately to the calliper it’s only a matter of time before the callipers seize. Secondly the Pagid RSL29 pads which is an endurance race compound wore very fast at Rockingham with just 58 laps running. The backing plate also bent. The extremely fast wear and bent compound plate are both symptoms of extreme heat! As the system experienced extreme heat its no surprise that the Clubsport S discs cracked too…
The solution here is to install a bigger brake system which will be able to handle the higher loads the current setup is tasked to cope with and dissipate the heat more efficiently hopefully providing greater longevity. The Stoptech system was chosen due to the fantastic price vs. performance currently available. This kit retails for £2568 and includes a 6 Piston Calliper with specific piston sizes for the MK7R/8V S3 matched to 355x32mm floating discs. The kit also comes with a set of road brake pads, brackets and stainless-steel brake lines. We opted to upgrade to the Pagid RSL29 pad compound for even greater performance.
Next up on the upgrade list is the Bilstein Clubsport suspension kit. The B16 kit is a great way to optimise your car for fast-road and track day use but when you begin to chase lap time the Clubsport kit is the kit for you. The Clubsport Kit for the MK7R features bump and rebound adjustment, camber adjustable top mounts, track optimised spring rates and solid chassis mountings throughout. Looking at the kit it has a lot of race influence but also doesn’t look like it will require servicing after a couple of track days and suffer in day to day use.
The final tweaks were to install a Powerflex front bush kit and rear Tyrolsport deadset kit. The Powerflex bush kit replaces all of the factory rubber bushings with Polyurethane. The front bush offering camber adjustment of up to half a degree. This makes the kit perfect for getting those camber settings just right without having to adjust the top mount. The Tyrolsport deadset kit concentrically locates the rear subframe and stops it from shifting around. All of these upgrades massively improve the feel of the car.
VAG Tuner Live at Donnington was the time to put these upgrades to the test in from of the VAG community. As the clubsport kit arrived on the Friday afternoon it was always going to be a last-minute job to get the kit installed, geometry, ride height and corner weights setup. In the end we had to make a compromise of different ride heights at every corner but set the geo to a setting which we knew worked well but with unknown corner weights. Exciting!
The morning was spent slowly bringing the brakes up to operating temperature before allowing them to cool down as close to ambient as possible. This helps the longevity and performance of the brakes in the long-term. With that done, it was time to hit the track to see what the new setup could do!
With the compromised setup and undeveloped damping setup we weren’t expecting a huge leap in performance. However, the difference between the Bilstein Clubsport and B16 was instantly noticeable! The 7R feels much more stable at higher speeds the Craner curves and Schwantz Curve felt extremely relaxed in the setup. Stability under braking took another jump with the Clubsport kit even with the much higher performing Stoptech brakes which didn’t lose any performance and were operating well within their temperature range. Very surprising considering how hard the 7R is on the brakes and we did no brake cooling upgrades.
Due to the huge amount of traffic and huge number of slow cars which were seemingly blind to faster cars approaching and waiting to get past the best lap time posted on the day was a 1:22 with a virtual best time of 1:19 (fastest sectors combined). That would have been fast enough to win Clubman + in Time Attack… Can you see where this might going?