Bavarian Rennsport has a long history with racing and because of that we offer many race track preparation services to make sure your Volkswagen is dialed in no matter what type of event you are participating in whether it be Track, Drag, Autocross, or Drifting. The ultimate goal as an enthusiast or amettue race car driver is to drive your vehicle to the limit with other competitors, while also upholding the legacy and setting a good example for the younger car generations to come after us. The vast majority of modern track day drivers are simply interested in enjoying their high-performance street cars without having to worry about the police, pedestrians, or oblivious drivers causing unsafe driving conditions. For this exact reason we have created a list of the most important race day preparations for your vehicle.
Do you have a Volkswagen that you believe would be a beast on the track, but don’t think you have the proper skills or knowledge to make your car perform the way that you want it to. Don’t worry everybody has these same thoughts racing through their head. There are plenty of ways to go about race car preparation and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, the most important part of racing that you need is an ability to feel the car with your feet, hands, and butt. These useful skills can only come from time spent in the car called seat time so get your car prepared at Bavarian Rennsport the get out to a track with a group of friends and learn how your car reacts in the different elements provided by a track or autocross course.
With each round of improvements and revisions made, you can up the ante from the basic essential track day preparations to full-blown track day modifications. Keep it simple for your first couple of track days as major performance modifications can put you in debt or the hospital because you didn’t learn in steps how those new mods made your car react. Even though it is nice to have big fancy brake kits, suspension upgrades or other expensive modifications (excluding tires) they are simply not needed to create the profound driving skills necessary to rule the track. There are track day modifications to suit any budget because the most important thing for beginners is to just get in the car and drive it in a controlled environment.
For the entry-level or first-time Volkswagen racer, we will go over the basic necessities of getting you and your vehicle onto the track safely and confidently. The best part of owning a car is the relationship that we develop through the years of driving and performing general maintenance. It is critical to guarantee the job is done right the first time. With the recommended OEM supplied components and by following the general maintenance schedule, your vehicle is sure to continue giving you years of enjoyment on the street or track. Below we have broken down the track day preparations that we recommend to perform and the order in which we think they should be carried out from our years of experience on the track. Bavarian Rennsport will always be here to provide critical advice, service and repair for your daily driver / track car as you begin your career and to offer the best performance parts to help your car grow alongside you for the best racing experience.
Volkswagen Essential Race Prep Service & Maintenance
You will be putting this car through the works and the last thing that you want to happen is failing or faulty parts while on the track because not only will your day be halted but so will others and you don’t want to be that guy. The first of many things that you should always do when preparing for a track event is inspect the vehicles components. If you skip this important step you will start to discover that parts are missing and can cause a catastrophic failure while driving. Every critical component should be inspected because even on modern cars bolts and clips can become loose. Older cars need a very thorough check because time and vibration may cause parts to weaken or vibrate off the car. It’s crucial to check the tightness of brake caliper bolts, engine mounts, gearbox mounts, the exhaust, subframe mountings, the steering rack, and all of the other suspension fixings.
The next essential race prep step for your vehicle is a thorough service, including engine oil, gearbox, differential, brakes, and the vehicle’s cooling system. Using fluids that are more tuned to harsh or high-performance use will keep your car running at an optimal performance level.
Make sure your tires are in good condition. If it’s your first track day then the chances are you won’t wear them down very much, but it’s still important to have some tread left at the end of the day, especially if you plan on driving your car home. The next important tire subject is PSI (Pounds per Square Inch); pressures are critical to the way a car handles, and a lot of fine tuning can be done to suit your racing style and the weather conditions.
The front suspension ‘toe’ angle can also be tweaked to adjust the turn-in (the initial reaction to a steering input). Most street cars are set to be slightly slow to react which makes it a bit safer for the average driver. Since we are using the vehicle for a track application a small amount of toe-in usually sharpens up the response but can make the car a bit more twitchy in the turns.
Brakes take a hammering on track and heat is their biggest enemy. The easiest modification is to fit race styled brake pads and just as importantly racing brake fluid which will help prevent fade. If you go with a racing style fluid always remember, it has to be changed more often than ordinary road fluid and should be checked before every event. It is also common to remove any guards and other obstructions to free airflow around the brake discs. If after that you still have fade then ducting fresh air from the front of the car using heat-resistant tubing pointing at the middle of the discs may help. Some people get fresh air in by removing the fog lights from the front apron and ducting the tube into the hole.
Exhaust / Intake
Although we’ve suggested the engine should not be tuned, there is something to be said for fitting a sporty exhaust and air intake. This may make a very small improvement to power but a single-box exhaust will weigh less and a cold-air intake kit can improve power slightly and tidy up the engine bay a bit. And, of course, if nothing else will make your car sound faster! But watch those noise limits – there’s nothing more frustrating than being turned away for noise.
You might consider fitting a good seat and harness to hold you in securely as you throw the car around the track. Being more directly connected to the car gives a better feel, but seats are a very personal thing so it’s worth trying a few out before buying.
Simplify and add lightness by stripping out unnecessary weight is the next step, as this will improve performance and give your consumables and suspension an easier time too. But don’t get too hung up on it at this stage. As a rough guide removing less than 10% of the car’s original weight is not noticeable; so just remove things you really don’t need – the back seat, spare wheel, carpet, and sound-deadening material, etc.