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.
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.
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.
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.
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.