Project EA888.3: Development Phase 1

Catch up on the previous development of Integrated Engineering's Project EA888.3: Red Baron GLI here.

Development Phase 1

Our last flogging of our Project Red Baron GLI gave us some real insight to the cars true capabilities and weaknesses. The car was clearly lacking in grip, caused by a combination of rock solid OEM tires and soft suspension that allowed excessive body roll. The car also suffered from OE brakes which are greatly under specified for the weight of this vehicle. On the street they were always spongy, on the track they bordered on dangerous.

So, we set out looking for modifications which would improve these trouble areas. Not wanting to ruin the car as a street car, each modification is carefully chosen to improve the performance of the car on the track or the street. We also want to make sure the car looks right, coming off as a tastefully modified German street bruiser.

First thing, it was clear that the OE springs and shocks had to go. They were unceremoniously ripped out of the car and replaced with a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers. We set them up in the center of their damping and rebound adjustments as a starting point, and set the ride height moderately low. A set of Integrated Engineering MK5 / MK6 chassis camber plates connects the front struts to the body in a solid, adjustable fashion which will let us dial in the ever so important front camber at a later date.

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The wheels and tires were a key component to determining the functionality of the car. We wanted something reasonably priced, that would look at home either at the track or on the boulevard. It was important that they be of good quality, as we absolutely do not want any wheel failures out at the race track. With those aspects in mind, we chose a set of VMR V718 wheels, in 18 x 8.5. We decided to make this car really stick to the ground by wrapping them in a set of marginally road legal Toyo R888 DOT-R compound tires, which are basically the closest thing to a street legal racing slick you can get. They do have some tread so they will handle moderate weather ok, and the 100 tread wear rating means that we can easily drive the car in the mountains or to and from the track without burning them up too quickly. As our technician Jake installed those parts, we also decided to bleed the brakes with some Ate blue racing brake fluid and install a set of Porterfield R4S sport brake pads. We felt this would provide an intermediate brake upgrade without serious expenditure of cash.

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IMG_0079 With the car sitting right and glued to the ground, we took the opportunity to chew up some of Utah's famous canyons and mountain passes. It was immediately apparent that the cars handling has been transformed. The KW Variant 3 coilovers are quite firm, providing excellent road feel and very little body roll. They strike that balance of a useable street coilover which can also perform out on the track with some serious G forces. The car will now easily reel in far superior super cars in the turns, aided by the incredible stick of the Toyo DOT-R tires. The Integrated Engineering camber plates provided a great increase in steering and road feel. The tires really communicate what they are doing directly to the drivers hands- the muted feel of the OE setup is mostly gone now.

Overall, we are very happy with the way this first round of modifications has transformed this car. It went from a grocery getter to a car that everyone in the shop wants to borrow. It's truly fun to drive in the curves now and the chassis really feels ready for more power, as the grip levels have gone up immensely. The car really transmits road feel right into your fingertips and this gives a level of driving excitement which was sorely lacking before. We will be sure to report back with our findings out at the road course as soon as we can get it out there!

Search our website for the parts we used in this segment:

PartSKU #
IE MK5/MK6 Camber Plates..................................IESUUB1
KW Variant 3 Coilovers........................................35280068
Porterfield R4S brake pads (FRONT).....................AP1107R4S
Porterfield R4S brake pads (REAR).......................AP340R4S
ATE Blue racing brake fluid..................................FLUIDS-BRAKE-ATEBLUE

Development phase 1 final photos:

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