This article is part of a series of articles called the VWvortex Super Beetle Project. We are transforming a stock 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo six-speed manual into an AWD, 500hp street car. Our goal is to make the transformation as close to how an original equipment manufacture (OEM) like Volkswagen would have built it to start with. That means we are diving into the Volkswagen empire parts bin to assemble this car. The AWD system, transmission, spare tire well, rear brakes and a few other odds and ends will come out of a 2013 Golf R. The stock Beetle Turbo engine, a 200hp 2.0l direct injection four-cylinder turbo will get APR’s Stage IV upgrade and be a fully built motor that will output more than 500hp when we are done. Mating all of these parts and pieces together and doing it under a tight frame just makes this challenge even more fun.
You can find the main project index page HERE. On that index page you’ll find all the installments so far, large photo galleries and a list of sponsors that helped make this project happen.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do putting it together!
On to the next installment…
Things are continuing to move forward as our SEMA deadline looms – less than two weeks. The H&R adjustable coilover suspension is on the car now in addition to the Volkswagen Racing 6-piston brakes. We’ve also started engine work, but more on that tomorrow…
H&R ULTRA PERFORMANCE COIL OVERS
We’ve had a long relationship with H&R Springs. The Germany-based company has been producing suspension components for more than 30 years. They make everything from simple lowering springs to full race setups to large-scale OEM applications for companies like Volkswagen. All products are made in Germany and exceed ISO 9001 quality assurance standards. H&R Springs North American facility is located in Bellingham, Washington and run by our friend Roland Graef. If you’ve never met Roland, you should as he is one of the nicest guys in this business and a diehard car guy. We gave Roland a call early on and told him about our little project and he made a few suggestions. “With Jamie detailing the parameters of the Super Beetle Project, I suggested an H&R Street Ultra Performance Coil Over. Having 500hp available on a street driven car requires a high performance suspension capable of handling that new found power. The new H&R Ultra Performance Coil Over fits in nicely between our Street Performance Coil Over and our RSS Performance Coil Over. The Ultra Performance feature H&R’s inverted MONO-TUBE shock design valved specifically for the H&R Ultra Performance springs. This coil over has a higher performance spring rate for more control and tighter handling which is a performance stage up from Street Performance but not as aggressive as the H&R RSS Coil Over. A project of this magnitude requires a proper suspension setup and we think this is the best compromise for the street and the track.”
This particular H&R coil over application is specifically designed for the Golf R to work with the additional weight and the AWD multilink setup. The Ultra Performance Coil Over is a Golf R specific application and is new to the lineup. Like all of H&R’s coil over products, it features adjustable threaded spring perches that allow you to raise and lower the suspension to taste (or for corner balancing) from 1.25″ to 2.5″. The Ultra Performance also has more aggressive spring and shock rates that split the difference between the Street Coil Over system and the full RSS race setup.
So we got everything straight away from H&R and we installed the suspension this week. In addition to the H&R suspension upgrades, we also continued replacing the stock soft-rubber bushings with upgraded bushings to firm everything up. We also added a few slick add-ons to reduce unsprung weight and bring our lower control arms more inline with the lower ride height.
In the photo below you can see that the multilink rear suspension and Haldex AWD coupling from the Golf R is now installed in the Beetle. Likewise we’ve installed the H&R Springs rear shocks and springs. The rear ride height is adjustable via the grey aluminum threaded perches on the top of the spring.
Another addition to the suspension mods are H&R Sport Sway Bars. The high tensile strength allows for a quicker turn-in and reduced body roll. H&R’s sway bars are cold-formed from special HF alloy bar stock, have special forged seamless bar ends and come with exclusive Teflon composite bushings. Additionally H&R Sport Sway Bars are shot peened and heat-treated for increased durability.
The sway bars can be seen in this photo below as well as the Haldex AWD unit minus the drive shaft:
At the front we installed H&R’s threaded adjustable coil over shocks and springs:
One of the great things about Volkswagen’s family of components that are shared between various models is the ability to dig through the parts bin and see what we can upgrade. APR has spent quite a bit of time going through their race cars to find component sets that work better together for a given application, reduce weight and improve performance. If you remember back to our second installment, we borrowed the lighter and stronger aluminum front sub frame from the Audi TTRS. APR also used the TTRS drop spindle in the front suspension. This large knuckle is made of heavy cast metal on the Beetle whereas it is made of aluminum on the TTRS. The TTRS drop spindle also has a lower control arm connecting point that is lower than the stock Beetle piece. Since the TTRS was designed to have more of a ride height drop than a standard TT, Audi wanted to ensure that the lower control arms stay as close to flat as possible. This helps avoid problems like bump steer and makes the suspension work in the full range of motion it was designed to. The other benefit to the TTRS aluminum piece is that it is 4 lbs. lighter than the cast stock Beetle piece in additional to being far more substantial as you can see in the photo below. The aluminum TTRS drop spindle is on the left and the stock cast Beetle piece is on the right:
APR Australia worked with Harding Performance to create a polished aluminum lower control arm. In addition to being much lighter and stronger than the Beetle’s stamped steel pieces, APR Australia says these are designed to gain 1.5 degreese of positive static caster, providing an “Anti Lift/Dive” advantage. Finally APR has installed an adjustable lower ball joint that gives us the ability to adjust camber. In the below shot you can see the new drop spindles and aluminum lower control arms:
Overall the entire chassis has gotten a ton of upgrades, from stronger lighter aluminum pieces to the upgraded bushings to the H&R suspension package. We can’t wait to see how significant the improvements are. You can find more information on H&R’s complete lineup at their website www.hrsprings.com.
VOLKSWAGEN RACING SIX-PISTON 13.85″ BRAKES
With significant power comes the significant need to slow the car down. APR is the sole distributor for Volkswagen Racing’s full line of performance upgrades and we felt this would be a great compliment to our project. Volkswagen’s stock brakes are usually more than adequate for most uses. Even if you plan to run at the track, making an upgrade in the brake pads and changing the brake fluid to a high performance blend that can widthstand high temperatures makes a world of difference. Where a big brake kit like this one comes into play is when you need to repeatedly make stops from high speeds. The larger 13.85″ slotted and ventilated rotors have more surface area and dissipate heat much faster than the stock rotors. The Volkswagen Racing six-piston calipers also have a much larger braking surface area with more even distribution of clamping force. The larger calipers are forged from aluminum and are lighter than the stock calipers. The design of the caliper also permits changing out the pads without removing the caliper which will be nice for those times we want to run a more aggressive race compound pad.
The Volkswagen Racing brake system is available in your choice of black, blue or red calipers, so we choose to go with the blue calipers.
In the rear we upgraded the stock Beetle rear brake calipers to the blue Golf R32 calipers that are larger and match the blue at the front end of the car.
For more information on the Volkswagen Racing brake system, check out APR’s website HERE.
In our next installment we dive into the engine upgrades. Tons of photos and lots going on there so stay tuned…
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More photos from today’s progress can be found in the gallery below in much larger sizes:
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