Team GTI

Golf Version 3.2
Ongoing Development


A racing car is never done.

Even though we got Golf v.3.2 pretty close to right the first time, there's always development and improvement going on. In addition to regular off-season preparation - replacement of wear items, regular service, etc. - we can always find something to make better.

The first order of business in the off-season of any endurance racing team is to repair the bodywork damaged by the last race in the Fall.

Golf v.3.2 suffered particularly at the VIR 13 hours, being involved in four on-track incidents and one unforced visit to a tire wall - in the hands of the team owner, no less.

Luckily, team body and paint contractor Tom Landock (Winston-Salem, NC) always seems able to straighten out the drivers' indiscretions and re-coat in beautiful Jazz Blue pearl paint.

Click the thumbnail image below to see "before" Tom's handiwork, shown at right.

Andrew Pearson Photo

As an added measure of safety, a "passenger side" head restraint net has been added. This piece of driver-protection gear is thought to be particularly valuable when used with seats equipped with head bolsters - like the RECARO Racer SPG.

In the event of an right-front offset impact, the net is intended to guide the driver's helmeted head back between the seat "halos," as he rebounds in the harness, preventing injury from impacting the seat itself.

It was also a pleasant discovery (not unexpected, but still comforting), that our Conover Motor Sports IT-spec engine showed less than 2% leakdown on the worst cylinder during regular service. This after logging more than 35 abusive track-hours last season.

Finally, Cameron Conover has rebuilt the transmission that suffered the surprise failure at VIR, replacing the 3.94 final drive with lower 4.25 gears while it was apart - a change which should help acceleration once back on the track.

The only remaining shortcoming of the Golf III for endurance racing was a 1.5-hour range imposed by the stock 13-gallon fuel tank. That problem has been solved, with the installation of a 25-gallon fuel cell.

Competition Cages handled the extensive fabrication, opening a hole in precisely the only place the tank would fit, considering the major structures and suspension component locations of the chassis. It was also necessary to build a stout frame to support the cell around its perimeter.

The photo at right illustrates the new fuel tank and its associated plumbing, in a mocked-up installation prior to detail finishing and assembly of the required sheet aluminum box to separate the fuel system from the driver. Click the thumbnail below to see the completed installation, courtesy of Lorelei Studios.

Integral to the new fuel system is a quick-fill "dry break" receptacle, with matching nozzles installed on twin 11-gallon aluminum dump cans and a 5-gallon auxiliary "top up" fuel jug. Where it used to take approximately 45 seconds to add 5 gallons of fuel, it now takes about half as long to add about twice as much - increasing the fill rate to four times what it was.

The result will be fewer, shorter stops but with the Golf now capable of doing 3 hours on a tank of fuel, driver fitness becomes the next consideration.

The car is getting a complete Conover Motor Sports service and update of a few systems prior to the 24-hour Longest Day enduro at Nelson Ledges, OH.

A key addition, made possible through cooperation with Hella, is a complete race-spec Xenon gas-discharge lighting system, comparable in output to the headlights used by prototype entries at the Le Mans 24 hours. This integrated system replaces the four "old school" 100-watt Hella rally lights, mounted in a hood pod.

State of the art a few years ago, this system had several disadvantages compared to the integrated Xenon lamp assemblies. They used significantly more electrical power and increasing drag on the car, impacting both fuel mileage and top speed - as much as 5 mph at the Golf's top end.

Other improvements made by Conover Motor Sports during the 2008 season include an auxiliary oil cooler, drink system for the drivers, and an improved - and much lighter - custom exhaust system designed by Cameron Conover.

Hella headlamp installation photo courtesy of Conover Motor Sports

Improvements for the 2009 racing season will include the addition of a Race Technology Dash3 from Fast Tech Limited, to complement the DL1 data logger and NGK Powerdex AFX Wideband O2 Sensor installed earlier by Conover Motor Sports.

The Dash3 is a programmable lap time and data display, that interfaces with the hardware mentioned above to keep drivers informed of their pace and the Golf's health.

Also from Fast Tech is a very special "enduro-spec" driver's harness by Schroth. This harness system includes features intended to make driver changes faster.

 fast tech logorace technology dash3 schroth harness

Last updated 16 February, 2009
All photos K. Knestis unless otherwise noted

Project GTI is headquartered in Greensboro, NC


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