I’ve been wanting to do Autocross since picking up the Golf R in August of 2015, yeah it’s been 4 years with the car and still no thought in my mind of replacing it any time soon. “Most of you will be having your first and last autocross today” said the leader of New Hampshire’s Sports Car Club. My numbers, 999 were proudly displayed on the car and I asked one of the instructors to walk the course with me a couple of times and later, to join me in the car for 2 runs to help me improve my times. I wasn’t racing with anyone but myself but it was cool spending the day at Loudon Speedway with seemingly dozens of things going on at once. There was a corvette club on the track, a drift competition at the back lot, a car show going on and a half-marathon that started at the track that morning. Finally, there was us about 45 cars purpose built to go around a slalom style course as fast as possible.
My Golf R did amazing!
I finished 3rd overall which was surprising to me. I was in the Street Modified A-Group which was a group for street legal cars with a stock turbo but with a tune, suspension and other upgrades. Appropriate for my Golf which has everything you can do it except an aftermarket turbo which I’ll never do.
The biggest modification I made this year to the Golf R was a full set of B16 Coilovers with compatibility with the car’s DCC (magnetic ride) system. These 4 shocks and springs cost $4500 retail but I got them for $2200 a year ago. Installation wasn’t that hard and I did spring for an extra $350 to replace all of the suspension bolts instead of re-using the OEM ones that were covered in rust when the install was done. After an alignment, all was right in the world. My only regret was not doing the front sway bar at the same time since we were already in there.
The suspension setup is great on-road…of course it is and better than OEM but it truly shined off-road. In race mode, it’s firm, responsive and the tires (Michelin’s Pilot Sport 4S) give great feedback even if you air them down a bit. Heck, I’ve had a flat and didn’t even know it. The tires don’t really compress even when there’s no air in them. It’s magic.
I did 15 runs that day, brake fluid never boiled (RBF600) brake fade never really became an issue with the OEM sized Stoptech Rotors + EBC RedStuff pads with the stock Golf R 1 piston calipers (yeah, it’s a crime). I just had a blast and the environment of the club was fun. No competition, no animosity just everyone out having a great time.
Will I go back? I’d like to go back a few times next year but I still prefer riding events to driving events. It was fun to finally push my car through its paces like this. Here are some photos: