Track Time: The TyrolSport Golf R

Attention to detail: almost anyone will tell you of its importance, but very few will actually go the extra mile that it constitutes. But what happens when you do? Your brand new car goes straight from the lot onto the corner weight scales. You spend hours pouring over part numbers, measuring, weighing and analyzing parts. And you spend just as much time pushing your car to the limits at the track, developing a driver/vehicle bond to wring out every last ounce of speed and identify the largest flaws. And after all that, if you’re lucky, you end up like the guys at TyrolSport- with a brain full of data and one fast car.

Located right in the heart of New York City, TyrolSport is one of the area’s premier European repair, fabrication and race prep shops. During a visit you might be greeted by anything from a GT2 to a twin turbo VW R32, and that attitude and willingness to take on new projects is a large part of what has brought them to the forefront of the VW aftermarket. The MK6 Golf R you see below has served as a daily driver for owner Mike, a product development platform for TyrolSport’s own line of innovative products, and as the shop track car. Their commitment to top notch parts and service means that every employee has on-track experience, so the R also allows the team to gain first hand experience.

Primary Photo


Being that this was a new platform to the team, they took a methodical approach to the car’s modifications and setup. Lots of measuring, weighing and test fitting yielded the first major modification- fitting aluminum uprights from a VW Passat onto the front of their R. These dropped critical unsprung weight meaning no penalty would be paid for the larger wheel/tire package they fitted at the same time. Next up was one of their own TyrolSport DeadSet subframe collar kits for the MK5/6 VW chassis. These models have an inherent issue with the subframe shifting under load, but by precisely locating the front suspension with precision machined collars and custom hardware, this kit eliminates the problem entirely, and are available for both front and rear subframes.

As experienced track guys, they knew the first two major things that needed to be addressed for longevity: brakes and engine cooling. A set of Brembo Gran Turismo brakes were ordered up and fitted to the car, but not without a little custom work first. Due to caliper offsets the lightweight aluminum Passat front spindles needed a minor amount of machining, which was completed in house. This front setup vastly increases piston surface area, pad swept area, and rotor surface area, all of which translates to enhanced cooling which minimizes fade lap after lap. Not only that but they knocked a whopping 15.75lbs PER CORNER! Now that is an impressive weight savings.

To ensure a cool, efficient, happy engine they began development of the TyrolSport Radiator, a piece made entirely from aluminum with OEM style outlets and fittings for a simple, bolt on solution. This was not an easy piece, however, and many hours were spent maximizing core surface area and width while keeping the size within factory constraints- no easy task, but the resulting part is a work of art, and even more effective than it looks. Testing has proven a 25% increase in fluid volume with an equally impressive 20-25% decrease in outlet temperatures. The fact that it is 100% manufactured in the USA means it is ready to last for years of track abuse to come.

Passat vs TT spindles

Brembo Final

To address another weak point in the MK5/6 Volkswagen chassis, they developed their Master Bracket which is designed to brace the master cylinder to avoid flexing under hard braking. VW is not unique in this issue, in fact older Toyota drift cars are famous for cracking the entire firewall around the master cylinder. Although VW’s design is not this fragile, pedal feel under threshold braking was significantly improved, and pedal travel made much more consistent with the addition of this piece. One of our Rennline Steering Wheel Quick Disconnects also made it into the mix, allowing easy entrance/exit especially in the case of something going wrong.

Track cars like their tires and associated wheel/tire changes, so to make these inevitable changes faster we provided one of our Rennline Competition Lug Stud Conversion Kits. These ISO tested and track-proven studs are available with R13, R14, or Conical steel lug nuts for durability and strength. VWR was tapped for their Tracksport Suspension setup and their stiffer engine mounts to make sure the R had appropriate dampening and spring rates. So far this setup has proven capable without being too edgy or unpredictable- a good combination for a powerful AWD car in which smooth driving often equates to faster lap times. To that end a Peloquin LSD was also installed to help maximize grip and increase corner exit speeds.

Tyrolsport Golf R ready for battle

The Tyrolsport golf r going on the trailer

We are all power junkies at heart, whether or not you admit it. We like going fast, that’s why we’re modifying cars in the first place, and as much as you tell yourself stock power is fine, eventually you are going to want more. When that time came, TyrolSport was still able to stick to their guns and delivered a well rounded, strong performing setup thanks to a Milltek down pipe and non-resonated cat back exhaust. After trying a couple different tunes they settled on a United Motorsports file which delivers a healthy bump in power while retaining drivability and longevity. The exhaust is also useful on track where the stock unit is almost too quiet to hear.

Finally, to make sure they were ready should the worst happen, we supplied one of our Rennline tow hooks. Machined entirely from steel and designed for use unlike many of the aluminum units on the market, it is the perfect fit for any street or track car. We also set TyrolSport up with one of our GoPro camera mounts which is a fully metal mount meaning that it is legal for sanctioning bodies that now prohibit most suction-cup style mounts.


TyrolSport R at Palmer Insta

By ‘listening’ to the car’s needs instead of throwing the book at it, TyrolSport has managed to build an extremely balanced and reliable track car that serves as a great test bed for new parts and track mule for owner Mike and his employees. A comprehensive package with good power, great traction and abundant grip have made this R a threat to its competition all over the Northeast. As winter loosens its grip and the landscape starts turning green, keep an eye out at the local track and in your rear view mirror for the TyrolSport Golf R.

Wire Mesh Grills- Radiator Protection for your Porsche

One of our most popular items for the newer generations of Porsche’s 911 are our Rennline Wire Mesh Grill Kits for the 996, 997, 991 chassis, along with their 987 and 981 brethren. For some reason Porsche decided to forgo any kind of radiator protection, mounting them right at the front of the car and leaving them exposed to the elements and road debris. With our experiences on-track and on the road, we saw the need for a custom tailored kit. Our grills install behind the front bumper but in front of the radiators to provide maximum protection while maintaining a factory fit and finish. Unlike other kits on the market, we don’t use any tape or glue, and no modification to the bumper is required. Instead our grills attach to the inexpensive, replaceable duct work that fixes to the back of the bumper, meaning reverting back to stock requires no paint matching or major body work.

Gbree's 991 Carrera S with Rennline grills, tow hook and gopro camera mount
Gbree on the Rennlist forums with his Rennline grill, tow hook and GoPro mount equipped 991


A History of Porsche and its Radiators

1996 marked the beginning of a major shift in Porsche vehicle production. The spiritual successor to the 914, the Boxster was a mid-engine roadster that slotted into the lineup below the 911, both in price and performance. Although the 993 chassis 911 had only been on the market for a year, Porsche released the Boxster which was a sign of widespread change in Porsche’s performance lineup.  Up front were two parts that foreshadowed the end to a 35 year tradition- twin radiators mounted up front with coolant pumping through them- COOLANT! And sure enough, when the 996 chassis 911 debuted in 1999 it was the first water cooled Porsche 911 ever.

Original Porsche Boxster with radiators in front
Yes, it has now been a quantifiable “while” since the original Boxster debuted

By changing to a water cooled engine, Porsche risked alienating its die hard enthusiasts but was able to thoroughly modernize the 911 power plant. This had huge benefits in terms of thermal efficiency and power potential, but offered some packaging challenges. To balance the added weight and provide optimal airflow to the now-necessary radiators, Porsche mounted either two or three radiators in the front bumper depending on options packages. Twin radiators, one on each front corner, were standard with a center radiator as optional for customers living in extremely hot climates or who planned on frequently tracking their cars. This setup has marched on, with minor revisions and redesigns, right up to today.


What Makes Rennline Grill Wire Mesh Grill Kits Superior

When we set out to create a product, there is a huge number of factors we consider. First and foremost is function- Rennline parts are designed to be used and abused either at the track or in the real world, but fit and finish, aesthetics, and a host of other design elements. For these reasons, we decided that the only way to achieve all of our primary goals with these kits was to install them behind the front bumper. This preserves the look and design that Porsche originally penned and also allows all installation hardware to be tucked out of sight, taking the OEM fit and finish to another level.

Because we are track junkies as many Porsche drivers are, we needed to ensure there would be no adverse effect on the cooling capabilities of the radiators with our grills installed. Extensive hot-weather testing ensued by setting up the shop 997 to run a number of mesh configurations and monitoring engine temps through the OBD port. We noticed surprisingly little variation during this exercise, and saw almost no temperature difference through several different setups. In the end, we chose to manufacture the grills from a webbing we found had no discernible affect on coolant temps but kept the openings small enough that they would keep all but the smallest of debris out.

Black Rennline Wire Grill
A Rennline Grill powder coated in black


Silver Rennline Wire Grill
A Rennline Grill powder coated in black


Stainless Clips for Rennline Front Grills
Some of our specialty stainless clips, fabricated in house, specifically for our grill kits


Installation Time!

So you have decided you want to protect your expensive radiators, and your engine for that matter, and you have decided you want a very OEM look. If you settle on one of our kits, there are a few basic steps you will need to perform. The first is removal of the front bumper which sounds a lot more intimidating than it really is. This process varies by generation, but a quick search for your chassis and “bumper removal guide” should easily yield photo-heavy DIY guides for those attempting this process at home. Although it can be a bit tedious finding every last clip and screw, the process itself is not hard.

Once the bumper is removed installation of the grills is a snap. Each kit will include specialized install instructions for your specific bumper, and will include all necessary hardware to complete the install. The instructions will show you how to place the grills and will lay out specific hardware locations as well. If you would like to see the process for yourself as performed on our former 997 shop car, you can see our installation video here:

After you have the grills affixed to the front bumper, installation of the bumper is the reverse of removal. The only difference is that the duct work tends to sag as you try to assemble the front bumper back onto the car. It is important to make sure these ducts fit securely into their receptacles on the bumper, so take your time and make sure to support the ducts from the bottom as this often helps alleviate the sagging problem.

And you are done! We find dealerships tend to complete installation in 2-3 hours, while a DIY garage or driveway job can last a bit longer if you have not had the experience of removing the front bumper before. Be sure to take advantage of having the front bumper off to thoroughly clean out your radiators and surrounding crevices since you are in there anyway. Many customers also take this opportunity to give their radiators a quick spray paint touch up to make them look uniform behind the grills. Many independent tests have time and time again shown that as long as the paint is applied thinly, it will not affect the thermal efficiency of the radiators.

Silver 991 GTS with black Rennline radiator grills
A 991 with the Aerokit front bumper sporting some Rennline Grills


Silver 991 GTS with Black Rennline grill in black with center radiator
This customer elected to install the center duct from a 3rd radiator car so he could use our center grill


Silver 991 GTS with Black Rennline grill in black with center radiator
To use our center grill on a car with no center radiator, you will need the retaining frame designed for cars with the same front bumper you have but equipped with a 3rd radiator


Get out and drive!

Now it’s time to get out and enjoy your newly protected 911, Boxster or Cayman without worry of road debris ending your engine’s life. Whether at the track or on the street, you should be covered no matter what the tarmac throws at you.

CAE Shifters: The Shortest Throws for your Porsche 911

If you track your Porsche, BMW, or really any other car, you know the value of precise, accurate shifts. Traditionally the best solution to sloppy OEM linkages has been a variety of aftermarket short shifters that reduce the length of gear changes, usually increasing effort and making the lever more ‘notchy’ as a result. But CAE Racing has the ultimate solution for any street or track car- their CAE Ultra Shifter. A work of art, CAE shifters are precisely engineered to provide the ultimate in H-pattern upshifts and downshifts while requiring minimal modification and changing of factory parts. This results in gear changes that are almost as fast and accurate as a fully sequential transmission but at a fraction of the price.


This particular shifter is designed for the 964/993 C2 chassis


Having the engine and transmission located at the rear of the car means that Porsche’s offerings traditionally benefited from relatively direct shifting. Early 915 and G50 transmissions used a rod style linkage that directly connected the shift lever to the transmission’s tail housing, making shifts anchored and direct. There are certainly improvements to be made, the U-joint style shift couplers, for instance, tend to get loose with age making shifting vague and gears harder to select. When the 986/996 chassis debuted this all changed though, as Porsche modified its rear-engine supercar to use shift cables instead of a solid linkage. Although both of these systems have positives and negatives regardless of model, a CAE shifter can make all the difference in the world to either transmission setup.


Machined from billet aluminum, CAE Shifting Technology has been producing these works of art for a variety of platforms for years now. Combining the finest in German engineering and manufacturing, each shifter is constructed primarily from aluminum to ensure lightness and strength. This from-scratch design allowed CAE to engineer an extremely tight and precise shifter that maintains the factory H-pattern while reducing shifts from a throw to a snap. Their exacting design and impressive results has led to a couple of copy-cats on the market, but nothing matches up to the original in terms of manufacturing quality, precision and functionality.


CAE Ultra Shifter in a customer car along with Rennline Pedals, Floorboards, Track Mats and Glove Box Delete


One of the downsides of cable shifted transmissions is a tendency towards being vague and feeling unconnected. This is because there is no ‘hard’ link directly from the transmission to the shifter- and this problem is greatly exacerbated during hard driving, whether through canyons, over your favorite mountain, at an HPDE driving event, or during wheel-to-wheel racing. CAE addresses this by providing a precise gate on the shifter itself that translates to the exact same movement of the cables no matter where the transmission is in relation to the shifter box. It is beyond impressive that they have achieved all of this while retaining the factory cables- yes, every 996/997 unit is designed to work with the stock shift cables, although CAE does offer its own upgraded units which further highlight the capability of this piece.


One of CAE’s BMW offerings bolted into a serious racecar interior. Don’t see your vehicle on our website? Just email us and we can more than likely get you one of these for your own street or track car!


Simply put the CAE Ultra Shifter is the current pinnacle of shifter design. Creative engineering combines with artful manufacturing, precise design and gorgeous looks to create the ultimate package for getting into the next gear. Short of investing thousands on a sequential aka ‘dog box’ transmission with straight cut gears, you are not going to find a more track-ready solution for maximum control over your gearbox. Everyone we know who has driven a car equipped with one of these billet beauties, whether seasoned track veteran or casual enthusiast, has been impressed by the accuracy and control these short shifters give you over whatever transmission they are attached to. So much so that merely referring to them as a short shifter almost feels egregious. CAE shifters are in a league of their own, and that is why we have chosen to offer them for sale right along side our own Rennline parts and accessories.


You can find our complete line of CAE shifters at if you do not see your vehicle listed please contact us or (802) 893-7366 to see what we have to offer for your make and model.


One of our favorite 964s- Check out @Sparkyvw on Instagram for more pictures of his Rennline and CAE equipped interior.


Another Rauh Welt build featuring Rennline Pedals, Track Mats, and floorboards, along with a CAE Ultra Shifter. This is a very clean example of what a track car interior can look like

A Modern Mini Cooper Born to Rally

As many of us can attest, life sometimes gets in the way of your favorite motorsport, whether it is auto-x, rally-x, track days, or even concours events. Patrick Munhall, a fellow New Englander, had such a break from rally-x; one that lasted almost 10 years. His triumphant return to gravel came behind the wheel of his R53 Mini Cooper, which isn’t the typical AWD monster that likely comes to mind when discussing rally racing. Built upon a solid chassis with good basic dynamics, Patrick’s success since rejoining the sport has proved the Mini is capable of succeeding in a diverse range of motorsport environments. However, that success has not come free, and this Mini has been torture tested throughout New England as the chassis, suspension, engine and under body protection have been fine tuned for competition in the New England Region SCCA Rally-X series.

Patrick's R53 Rally Mini Cooper
Patrick and his BDC Enterprises Inc. sponsored Mini in mid season form chasing the more powerful AWD cars- and catching more than a few!


Almost any experienced driver will tell you that seat time is the most important factor in dropping lap times, and although rally-x is no different, the abuse that a car takes during an event often requires additional vehicle preparation. And that is where Rennline enters this story. Patrick first tried fabricating his own skid plate, and although sturdy enough for most disciplines, during his second event at New England Dragway he managed to catch the front edge in a covered hole and literally folded it in half!


First attempt at a homemade skid plate that failed and was replaced with a Rennline skid plate
The Mini’s first skid plate that met its demise at the hands of a rather large hole at NE Dragway


A photo of the total failure of Patrick's homemade skid plate
Unfortunately it wasn’t quite up to task when Patrick found a hidden rut on course


A Rennline skid plate purchased for Patrick's rally Mini Cooper
Time for a little upgrade! Rennline skid plate ready to go in and provide some protection!


Rennline Skid plate installed in Pat's R53 rally Mini
Our skid plates feature OEM quality fit and finish, and are manufactured right here in Vermont from heavy duty aluminum

As their first season progressed Patrick and the Mini came into their own, going from 3rd in a small field of entries in their first event to a 2nd place finish by their 3rd event. Had it not been for a cone that jumped out into the middle of the course causing a penalty, they would have found themselves in first after the final run of the day. Results like that make you want more of everything, and so the modifications began piling on. To maximize grip Quaife provided one of their legendary torque biasing limited slip differentials (LSD) which can transfer power from wheel-to-wheel based on the amount of slip it senses by using a series of helical gears to transfer load to the wheel with the most grip.


A quaife differential ready for installation in the Mini's transmission
The Quaife arrives!


The new differential being pressed together
Time to keep those wheels spinning in unison!

To keep the engine firmly connected to the drivetrain a Valeo flywheel and clutch package was added along with refreshed axles to deal with the strain of competition. To get a rally-appropriate ride height Patrick fabricated 1/2″ spacers for the strut mounts which raise the ride height of the Mini that same 1/2″. Powerflex control arm bushings stiffen the suspension and help to retain as much of the factory suspension geometry as possible, and a BSH lower engine mount reduces the amount the engine and transmission can move as they hammer through gravel, mud, snow and muck in pursuit of victory. Most importantly these modifications were carefully chosen to compliment the already agile and able Mini chassis without adding any exotic or expensive parts to the mix.

Custom strut mounts for lifting the mini
Custom strut mounts to help gain the Mini some ground clearance


Rear suspension with custom strut mounts installed
Suspension back in, ready to rock and roll- literally


With the handling well sorted and the mini protected, it was time to turn attention add some power by turning up the boost in this little Mini. A Way Motor Works supercharger pulley was installed which is 15% smaller in diameter resulting in a supercharger that spins faster and creates more boost pressure across the rev range. An Ireland Engineering exhaust minimizes exhaust back pressure allowing the engine to breathe easier at these power levels. Way Motor Works claims up to 20hp from this modification alone, but when you’re on rally style surfaces power is nothing if you can’t put it down. To that end Patrick runs Black Rocket Rally Tires on gravel surfaces and switches to Bridgestone Blizzaks for the ice and snow events that cover half of the year’s schedule here in New England.


The R53 Rally Mini on its gravel setup
Gravel setup


The R53 Rally Mini on its snow and ice setup
Winter mode aka 6 months out of the year


Finally it was time to turn attention to the interior because to be fast you need to be in the correct environment both mentally and physically. Again a few choice modifications were planned to enhance the Mini without ruining its inherent strengths. A set of our Rennline track mats were installed to enhance footwork and keep the footwells clear of debris that could lodge itself in, behind, and around the pedals. An OMP wheel helps navigate turns faster and helps reorient the wheel when things get get a little too crazy. A Megan Racing short shifter reduces the length of gear changes and adds accuracy to the feel of the transmission. This winter saw the installation of Sparco race seats for both the driver and anyone brave enough to strap themselves in next door, which will come in handy during events like the Vermont Winter Rally which is organized by local rally legend John Buffum.


Rennline Track Mats and Sparco Seats in this Mini
Sparco race buckets and Rennline Track Mats make for a race friendly interior


A picture of Patrick's proper racecar interior
All business, no frills; just the things a pilot needs for some full-speed fun


For his time, effort, and dedication Patrick has been rewarded with a Mini that can go toe to toe against more powerful and grippier cars on almost any terrain. We are just happy we were able to help him in his goal of improving the reliability and drivability of this cool little car. With our ever expanding line of Mini Cooper parts and Patrick’s desire to continue improving the car and his skills, we are sure there will be another update coming in the near future. If you are attending a New England rally cross event in the coming months, keep an eye out for Patrick and his Mini atop the podium!


Patrick's BDC Enterprises sponsored Mini ready for the 2016 season
Patrick has his Mini fine tuned and ready to vie for the title in the 2016 season


Race car life!


“Minor weight reduction” aka making the car faster, handle better, and easier to drive all at once


Lug Stud Conversions – Porsche, VW & Audi Spacers, Studs, Wheel Bolts and Hardware

VW, Audi and Porsche love their wheel bolts, but do you? If not, convert to lug studs with one of our Rennline Competition Lug Stud Conversion Kits! We have added R13 Ball Seat Lug Nuts specifically sized for factory Volkswagen and Audi wheels and many aftermarket wheels to allow for a greater range of fitments. Of course, our classic R14 Ball Seat Lug Nuts for Porsche fitment wheels are still an option with any kit. We have also partnered with Adaptec Speedware and now offer their entire line of off the shelf and custom spacers and adapters, making your one stop shop for wheel hardware!

Rennline wheel studs and lug nuts, Adaptec spacers

Our proprietary studs are precision machined and fully certified to ISO standards making them true race-grade parts; just ask TyrolSport who runs one of our Competition Stud Conversion Kits on their track day Golf R. Available in 35mm length for 5mm or smaller spacers, 45mm length for up to 15mm spacers or 60mm length for 20mm+ spacers, a stud conversion will let you run the spacers you need while making wheel changes a breeze. Our lug nuts are made from steel making them a perfect compliment for our stud kits, or perfect replacement parts for soft factory Porsche aluminum lug nuts with minimal weight penalty.
Rennline Wheel Hardware studs and nuts

Adaptec Speedware has earned a reputation for being the best in the business thanks to their high standards of quality and finish in addition to their lifetime warranty. All spacers and adapters are machined from USA-sourced T5 aluminum right here in the USA which means you get the highest quality product possible and that custom parts are no problem. Please contact us if you need a size you do not need listed- whether you need to a bit more clearance for those new track wheels, or are just shooting for that perfect fitment, you can trust that Rennline and Adaptec Speedware have you covered.

R13 v R14 ball seat lug nuts

The next time you need to make adjustments to your wheel fitment, just give us a call or hit for a full selection of our wheel hardware offerings. We also carry a full line of press-in style lug studs for early Porsches in four different lengths! We have made it easy to get the correct studs and nuts for your Porsche, Audi, VW and more! Loose your wheel bolts and enjoy the simplicity and change your wheel studs in less time, with less frustration!

Rennline has an extensive line of Wheel Hardware