Gallery: Forge Motorsport’s 500 HP Mk1 Golf

Weighing in at only a trifle over 1,600 lbs and churning out more between 450 and 500 hp (depending on how much boost you feel like running), the Forge Motorsport Special doesn’t just wear its John Player Special livery, it earns it.

That’s because while the F1 car whose livery inspired this car’s—the Lotus 72—weighed a little less than this car (1,200-ish lbs), it also made less power (closer to 440 hp out of a three-liter Ford V8).

This Mk1, built in the UK by Forge Motorsport, makes do with a 1.8-liter 20V turbo. Although the engine only made about 150 hp from the factory, there’s very little of the factory left in this engine.

The British tuners tore the engine apart and replaced the crank with one from a 2.0 TFSI, installed some forged pistons from JE Piston, and tied them to one another with rods from Integrated Engineering. But before they did all that, they bored the engine make displace something more like two liters.

To help it get enough air, they installed a Nortech intake, Jenvey 70 mm throttle valve and an Owen Development turbo. They also used a lot of their own parts to make sure that it all worked together properly.

But even making nearly 500 hp, the Forge Motorsport crew was scared that the 1,800 lb Golf might weigh too much. Actually, it’s in keeping with the Lotus livery that they decided to cut weight, fitting carbon-kevlar doors and using the stuff to cut weight wherever else it could.

Keeping all that power on the road with a car that weighs less than some horses, you can imagine, is quite a challenge. So the Forge Motorsport gang trusted that to a KW (who kindly lent us these photos) Competition 2A racing suspension designed for hill climbing and a set of KW coilovers.

They also installed a splitter up front and the rear is kept on the ground thanks to a big ol’ diffusor placed under a big spoiler.

With a full racing cage, Cobra bucket seats, and countless other race car goodies, this Mk1 is as much hill climb racer as it is anything else. That doesn’t mean, though, that it can’t be enjoyed everywhere, because somehow the UK government has approved this for use on its roads.

We applaud you, Forge Motorsport.

Big thanks to KW Automotive who first ran this story (in greater detail) and lent us the beautiful pictures that were taken by Nick Williams.