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Project Polo

Update December 4, 2010

Well it looked like it was going to be a bit of a waster of a day. The weather in Sydney was shocking but we thought we might as well head down to Wakefield regardless as we hadn't been on a track in over 6 months, plus the Clio needed a run so we thought why not. It pissed down with rain the whole way down but we were very surprised when we got to the track to find it wasn't raining. Yes the track was wet (and muddy!!) but everyone had decided to stay home. So guess what, we had the track completely to ourselves (until a sole Formula Ford turned up!). The new front bushes had already felt more responsive but I was looking forward to getting some laps in. I had tried to get a rear sway bar but it didn't arrive in time so it'll have to be tested next time.

The first session was unbelievably slippery. I've never driven on a track so slippery (I've never tracked the car in the wet before either) so although the tack was drying there was a river coming across the apex of turn 2 and the same into the last turn. Miud and dirt were also washed onto the track in the rain. I had the car backed into most corners, which was fun but really slow. The result after the first session? 1.21, a good 6 secs off our normal times.

We came in and adjusted the tyres pressures and went out again. It made a big difference. The track was slowly cleaning up, but with no riubber going down from anyone else the track remained pretty slow. Best time was a 1.19.

I was testing out the new Race Chrono lap timer / data logger. It is so easy to use and gives you everything you need to know at a track day. It does sector splits plus graphs speed and some other basic data logging. It can also hook into the OBDII port so I'll look to do this in the future...

After a few more sessions the track was getting a bit faster. In gebneral the car definitely turned in better. Because of the front bushes I'd actually gain an extra .5 degree neg camber on the front (taking the total to 2). I had also raised the back of the car 15mm to aid the understeer. I think all these things had made the car much more pointy. By the end of the day I had managed a flat 1.16, still over a second off the cars best, but we were happy to hear that another guy who turned up on the day was 3 seconds off his best time. I was consistently doing mid 16's in my last session so if that were actually a mid 14 in better conditions I'm happy.

One other thing to note was thatI had changed front pads to some random generic brand. At first they were shocking, but by the end of the day they were actually better. They needed a few heat cycles. The pedal was a bit long and I was having to brake much earlier than normal...

There's another Speed off the Streets day late December (I think the 19th) so if the funds are there I'll be looking at a rear sway bar and the Wilwoods on the front. I'll post up some of the data from the Race Chrono for all to see. Seriously these are a great little product, a must for the track day enthusiast who doesn't want to spend thousands....

See a few laps below...

Update November 22, 2010

New bushes should go in this week. I think I might do the sway bar too. A little concerned that the afterkarket pads I slapped in the front wont be up for the track day punishment but we'll see how we go.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you can make it down. It's only $110 as it's a Speed Off The Streets Day. No official timing either so bring your own. We'll hopefully be testing Race Chrono Pro System, a GPS based lap timer with basic data logging too. If all goes' well we'll have them available for purchase the week after!

Update November 16, 2010

Well I've done a fresh service on the car, installed a K&N air filter and I've put in a standard (aftermarket) set of brake pads as the light had come on almost 10,000 kms ago (at 14,000). I've ordered a set of Seat front control arm bushes which are solid as opposed to the standard VW bushes which are not. The car was moving around so much under hard braking, so it will be interesting to see if there is much difference.

Should be installing them this weekend and heading down to the track next week for a day of fun. I'll get a wheel alignment and also raise the rear ride height a touch to aid the exit understeer... I was going to do the rear sway bar at the same time but I'd like to feel what each change does. I was actually hoping the have the bigger brakes on by now but finances and getting this new website up and running (along with a million other things) had put this project on hold.

This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, and as part of the new AUTOsports website that is coming soon I thought it would make a great bunch of technical articles...

So here goes...

I bought the Polo brand new in late 2008. With a couple of thousand kms on him he made his first venture to Marulan. He was slow but I was none the less quite impressed. He had clocked a high 48.

Later my brother and I drove the car at Wakefield and were very surprised to see a high 1:15. We had driven the track many times before but were genuinely surprised as modified polos were getting around in times equal and sometimes slower than we were.

Oran Park was next and the GP track. I was marshalling for the day so it was just my brother at the wheel. High 131s were the best times for the day but again we were still about mid way through the field, made up of cars mostly with about double the KWs and another 2 wheels driving them.

We hit Oran Park next with some new tyres (Falken RT615's - f*&%ing rubbish. Waste of $$$) and some coilovers. Tyres were still rolling over in the corners due to a lack of camber adjustment but I think the suspension was what brought the times down to the low 30's.

Wakefield Park with my brother driving saw the same set up get into the high 14s (I could still only manage a 15, but when it's not your car and you're not footing the service bills I think driving style is more akin to that of a stolen car, ha! Any excuse!) but the tyres were shit and the brake pads were literally crumbling....

And so this got me thinking. With some good brakes, some better suspension and some really sticky tyres could a 1.10 be possible? I'm talking keeping the driveline standard. No exhaust, no chip work. No boost or anything like that. 100% standard in that respect.

So that is the aim... and this is where I'm going to document everything. All my thoughts (no matter how crazy) will be posted on here. Enjoy and contribute!

I haven't had much time to play around with the car so haven't been posting on here, but as a quick update I have found the front brake package I'm going to upgrade to. It's a Wilwood kit that is actually for a 2003 Audi TT, but I know they are the same front end (essentially) as the Mk4 Golf GTI, which is essentially the same as my Polo. Great news is the entire front kit is just over $1000 US. Whoo! I wanted to try something different, so I'll be in contact with them soon and see if I can get them without going through an Aussie distributor, which will more than likely triple the price... perhaps I should be distributing these, who's in?