Harding Performance has a long history of modifying kit from the broader Volkswagen family, so it was no real surprise to learn that the Audi S1 had copped the full treatment.
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Except, according to boss man Guy Harding, it didn’t. Pardon? Well, it seems Harding’s brand-new bionic knee has had him on crutches and out of the workshop for a month. And that absence has had an impact on what his team were able to achieve in the run up to Hot Tuner.
“The car has one of the first Stage 3 turbochargers which has all new internals and is capable of exceeding 500 horsepower. Unfortunately, we didn’t get time to finish the engine calibration, so we had to wind the power output right down to safely make the event.”
That said, 205kW on the dyno is not bad for a 2.0-litre engine, is it? (Even though in-house dyno testing showed roughly a doubling of the output compared with a standard S1.) No, and that’s all down to additions like the HP intercooler, Racingline intake set-up and a Milltek turbo-back zorst. Another area that needed a rethink was the clutch.
“The clutch was one of the things we had to overcome. We had to ditch the factory, self-adjusting unit and put in something nice and driveable, but capable of handling 600Nm. We have achieved that well with good driveability, but even with the raised RPM limit [on the launch control system] she’s still tricky to launch.”
He’s not kidding. Part of the solution there was to develop in-house a performance flywheel to suit the clutch. There’s also a HP four-piston brake conversion kit, which uses bits and pieces like Porsche 996/987S calipers and an increase in both thickness and diameter of the rotors. “For track laps, this gives us a nice, consistent pedal feel where the stockers fade out super-fast.”
Rolling stock consists of Racingline 18 x 8.0-inch wheels and they’re clad in sticky Conti ContactSport S hoops. Dig around some more underneath and you’ll also find a Tracksport Monotube suspension set-up with Harding’s own castor-specific control-arm bushes. Those Continentals, snotty though they are, may not have been Harding’s first choice. But “we were hampered by the S1’s very odd tyre sizing, so we had to use the Continentals. These turned out pretty good when the track was moist to wet, but slowed down as the track dried out.”
So tell us about the wild paint scheme, Guy. “The livery was our interpretation of the true meaning of S1. I decided to do that after we hit over 500 horsepower in crank testing. Unfortunately – like I said – we couldn’t bring that unfinished calibration with us for Hot Tuner, as long-term testing hadn’t been done. And, yeah, the same thing happened with our Golf R.”
So how’s that Terminator knee? “It’s getting there,” says the stoic Harding. Kinda like the Audi S1, truth be told.
Car: 2015 Audi S1
Who: Harding Performance
Where: 1/56 Cambridge Street, Coorparoo, Queensland
How long: Since 1998
Contact: 1300 730 949
Engine: 1984cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Suspension: A-arms, coil-overs, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, coil-overs, anti-roll bar (r)
Brakes: 330mm ventilated/slotted discs, 4-piston calipers (f); 272mm solid discs, single-piston calipers (r)
Wheels: 18 x 8.0-inch (f/r)
Tyres: 225/35 ZR18 (f/r); Continental Contact Sport S
PARTS AND PRICES
Stage 3 kit: $5500
Total mods cost: $24,205
Vehicle cost (mSrp): $49,900
Total cost: $74,105
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