A little journey back to 1999 in Speedvision World Challenge. Hugh Stewart raced this #15 Hi Speed Motorsports VW Mk3 Jetta VR6 and ran it hard as hell against BMW's from Turner Motorsport, and Integra Type-R's from RealTime Racing. Car had a stock motor with only a bit of headwork and bolt-ons (made about 175whp). Car broke an axle in the end which caused the head on collision with the wall, but before that it stayed up with the cars. It's nice to see a car not exactly well-balanced in terms of weight distribution compete with cars of 50/50 weight distribution.
Glad to share it! I mean even for the car to come close to those Turner BMW's and Realtime Acura's is impressive.
Let's see, not to bash the Mk3 Jetta but it's not exactly built for racing...
-Nose-heavy with VR6 (wouldn't dare try and race with a 2.0... he'd get whooped bad).
-No Independent Rear Suspension (very tough to get it to handle and grip the same way the others did).
-Not exactly "aerodynamic" (not much was back in the 90's in terms of touring sedans, etc).
Yeah, this car had an upgraded diff (LSD) to help traction, but even then, you see the car hop bad on corner exit as it scrambles for grip. I remember him telling me that over the course of the 5 seasons he raced the car (1998-02), he must have gone through over 20 axles as they usually broke the joint, and on occasion actually snapped it completely in half. Still was a badass car though. The VR6 motor and trans were actually pretty reliable, and from what I recall he only had a problem with a synchro in the trans in the early years of running the car.
I believe now the car is still out there racing somewhere but now with a 1.8T engine in it (NASA GTS?)
Last edited by Grifkylian; 08-26-2012 at 12:16 AM.
Here's from Watkins Glen back in '98. Boy was it a race filled with contact and bumping. This was when the car had very little upgrades aside from cat-back exhaust with a no cat, intake, software, and pulleys. Car was very heavy and ran on BFGoodrich tires (DOT-R).
It was a crazy start after contact with the Mk2... you just can't go more than 2 wide in turn 1 at The Glen. The Mk2 ran a built 16V that screamed (you can hear it). It broke an axle on the first lap around 1:30 which is why you hear the car free revving.
Here's a good battle in the race with the Turner Motorsport BMW:
Last edited by Grifkylian; 10-12-2012 at 02:59 PM.
Wow - Thank you for sharing these vids. I might be mistaken but, I remember watching speedvision a long time ago and seeing a white Jetta (usually the only VW among a see of e36's,Integra, Mazda , Honda's) racing in these events. They were my favorite to watch BC they were similar to street cars off the show room floor that were attainable to the everyday joe.
What was the engine set-up towards the end? In the first video posted you have to wonder if the TQ of the VR6 helped at all coming out of the tight turns over the vtec cars. I would imagine with :
aftermarket intake manifold, such as the one by racekraft
That the VR6 would have to be pretty close in power to a b18c5 in the RTR integras. Do you know what those intregras made power wise?? What was the chassis and suspension set-up that you found to work the best on the car? Do you happen to know the weight of the Jetta? Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!! I really enjoyed watching everyone of those videos!!!
There were actually 2 of these Jettas running from Hi Speed Motorsports... that was until mid-1999, when Hugh's co-driver violent flipped at Lime Rock Park (I believe it was a total of 13 full rotations; most in the air). There was nothing left of the car. Thank goodness Hugh builds good cages, as the doors, all the glass, and almost everything else on the car detached itself from the car's frame. I believe that the VR6 motor fell out of the front of it as it bashed the front end numerous times... it was a freak accident it was coming OUT of big bend. I don't know if the car got sideways, got bumped, dropped a wheel... I'm trying to get the guy Tom to send me that in-car vid as he has it all recorded, but it was considered to be one of if not the worst crash in World Challenge history.
As far as power went, those RTR Integra's definitely made more power than the Jetta in the videos... whereas the Jetta made around 180whp before the built motor, the RTR cars made 205whp easy. Their car's were lighter and had much better weight distribution (duh ) They did lack torque, but the handling was their advantage (they ran a VERY aggressive suspension setup; those Integra's were able to slide the rears out to help rotate the car; Hugh tried to set it up like that, but the Mk3's chassis could only do so much w/o independent rear suspension).
Here are some specs from one of the RealTime Integra Type-R's:
1998 Acura Integra Type R #0002
2200 lbs dry weight (must be ballasted to 2500lbs with driver - 160 lbs.) Lead carried in 25 lbs blocks.
Built by DC Sports in Corona 1998, tub seam welded, cage installed.
· Front toe 0 to .125 out depending on the track/ Rear 0 to .125 out depending on the track
· Front camber :-2. To -4.; Rear camber: -1.0 to -3.5
· 225/15 BFG tires
· Alcon 4 piston front calipers, 12"x1.25 rotors lightweight directional vaned,
ducted from the turn signals, power assist servo removed, ABS removed,
PFC or Hawk pads
· Aluminum Radiator and Oil cooler
· Aluminum Ram-air air box ducted to #2 headlight, with conical K&N air filter
· DC 4-1 Exhaust system
· DC front and rear strut braces, oil cap, battery tie downs
· Kaaz 1.5 way Differential
· MoTec Dash & data acquisition system: Wheels speed, Lat. G, Oil, Engine
Temp. Sensors, Susp. Sensors. Lap time, loss gain, speeds readout
· Mugen ECU, motor mounts, valve springs
· NN Racing front splitter with 3 ½ inches ground clearance
· NN Racing short block (Not sure on details here; its confirmed that it was a blueprinted engine though)
· No power steering/ABS
· Ohlins Shocks, front 4 way, rear 3 way (from Motorsports Spares)
· Stock Cams, Intake, Cylinder head
· Stock rear brakes with PFC or Hawk pads
· Stock transmission ratios
· Suspension points monoballed or rebushed with Energy Suspension bushings
**It was a 'stock' cylinder head with work done to it; you can get a damn good power gain by adjusting the timing on stock type-r cams (not a Honda guy, but I do know that)
Hugh would've been lucky if he had half of that in the Jetta (at the time, not many companies made racing-parts for the car, and they STILL don't!).
As I said, no video has been uploaded yet with the built motor. Here are some of the specs of the 250whp+, 8000rpm+ 12V VR6 motor from 2001-2002.
Wiseco 13.2:1 CR Pistons
ARP Rod Bolts/Main Bolts
Decked, Ported & Polished Cylinder Head w/Ferrera Valvetrain (Head was ported twice LOL)
Custom Camshafts (not sure of the spec; it barely was able to idle though and had a ridiculous top end pull)
Custom Intake Manifold/TB (only 1 made; flowed better than anything on the market at the time)
Custom Headers/Exhaust System
ETA Standalone EMS System (unsure about fuel stuff); could only run on 100-octane.
VW Motorsport 5-speed Close-Ratio Gearset (4.88? It was very short after 2nd gear)
TILTON Twin-Plate 5.5" Clutch Assembly w/Flywheel (totalled just under 8 lbs.)
Upgraded Racing Axles (this is what caused much of the DNF's)
Not sure of the differential in it. Kaaz maybe?
No ABS/AC (obviously)
... can't think of any more right now.
I believe with Hugh in the car and a full tank, the Jetta weighed 2600-2650 up until 2000? Then it got the lexan-window treatment and even more weight reduction for '01 and '02 when the big motor went in And I'm not sure which suspension setup worked best. As there were SO many suspension changes/adjustments over the years, I don't even think Hugh would know where to start. He would definitely tell you NOT to ever build a Mk3 Jetta race car. He said just a few weeks ago how he wishes at the time, he had the money for the BMW E36's, etc, but went the route of the VW (which was probably $10k vs. BMW's that were well north of $25k).
Here's the custom, one-off intake manifold made for the built motor that is currently being used in a very lucky guy's Mk2 GTI:
Last edited by Grifkylian; 10-26-2012 at 12:05 AM.
Drew Hagestad drove this VW Jetta in 2000. It wasn't a 1.8T or VR... I think it was an ABF 16V swap TONS of $$$$$ into it and it still wouldn't get the car to move
I don't know if World Challenge changed their rules or something around 2000-2001, because everyone started making a crap-ton of power. This was Christian Miller's Mk4 Jetta 1.8T that ran in '06 (Hugh ran until 2006 with a silver Dodge SRT-4; he said Miller's Jetta was damn quick)
Thanks for the reply!! The accident sounds crazy. Glad he made it out in one piece! Really enjoying the videos...looks like some great racing going on. The only way I could get my old GTI VR6 to lift (H&R Coils,R32 Bush,RSB,WR) was a panic lift/jabs of breaks right before apex lol.
Looking forward to seeing the "Built" motor videos so I can crank up the speakers and annoy the GF with engine noises!! Thanks Again
I also really enjoy watching these videos. Here is a very long shot question. Was this a white Jetta, and did he ever have an older van as a tow vehicle? I recall being at the Glen in 1997 to watch a PCA event and I recall seeing a white Jetta VR6 there that was pretty extensively modified (for the time). As I recall it didn't run the entire weekend for some reason.
You mention that the hipo axles were part of the issue - were they just not up to snuff? Interested in that tidbit.
As much as I know that a light e36 is really better suited for track duty, I will always have a thing for the Mk3 VR6 cars...and of course, the Corrados.
Not sure that I ever saw this car on TV - most of the cars I recall seeing were Stephane Trahan's...and a little of that 16v Mk4.
Post up some more!
In World Challenge, you kind of had to pay to get the proper coverage. To get an in-car video camera was $$$$ on top of the other fees, and often the multi-car teams of more than 2 cars always seemed to get the most exposure (RealTime, etc.), so unless the car broke, crashed, or made "the move of the race", the TV coverage seemed to stay away from the Hi Speed Jettas
As there was constant weight strain on the front end, all that weight of the VR6, turning, accelerating, stopping, had to have taken its toll. I believe it was because the racing clutch and upgraded differential (to limited-slip) that caused it. It was the increased the aggressiveness of the drivetrain, and the axles couldn't keep up to the task. I do recall Hugh saying something about the axle joints popping out when banging the curbs hard enough. Have to confirm that though.
Last edited by Grifkylian; 10-28-2012 at 12:55 AM.
Listed below are the best laps done by this Jetta. Please remember many of the tracks have been repaved/restored since this car was raced there (Lime Rock especially; no more patches/bumps!).
Lap Times ("Stock Motor" or "Built Motor"):
Grand Rapids: 1:31
Lime Rock Park: 1:03
Mid-Ohio: 1:43 **Never completed a race after 7 races there. Bad luck maybe? Once was a clutch issue (actually broke on pit lane going out on warmup lap for WC race; remember they did STANDING starts), axle problems three times, electrical issues twice (a short somewhere which didn't allow the car to run and fuel pump problem), and another issue of some sort (don't believe it was a crash).
Road Atlanta: 1:44
Road America: 2:42
St. Croix: :47
Summit Point: 1:25
Watkins Glen: 2:17
Last edited by Grifkylian; 10-28-2012 at 12:55 AM.
I have to think that some of the later developments in VR6 drivetrain technology would have helped. Were the engine mounts stock? I'm guessing they were something else, but today you can get delrin inserts that would help to keep everything together a bit. I'm also wondering if places like driveshaft shop were around in those days.
Regardless, it's still great to see a VR6 driven in anger
I'm sure I've said it before, but if you talked to Hugh in person, he'd likely tell you that it's a waste. It's cool to have a VW race car, but the amount of stupid little things that fail will drive you insane (I guess that can also be applied to most race cars though). If it's a Mk3, just run SCCA ITB or ITA (for VR6's) or something. Anything quicker than that will cost you more than the car is worth easily.
This Jetta ran with Integra's with blueprinted motors, mazda proteges that were backed by Mazdaspeed and had crate motors in them. But where as they could consistently clock fast times, you really had to wring the hell out of the car to come anywhere close to it, which I'm sure is why it was not that reliable.
On that note, this looks like fun
Great thread. Brings back good and really terrible memories. I was working for Mirko racing during the David Leslie (R.I.P) years. I found myself during the races to be rooting for Davids 626 and Hughs mk3 all the time. I loved that jetta. Our 626s were the biggest turds ever. Everything I tried to do with David to get the cars running quick would be undone by some moronic idea of Albert Mirkos. I'm thankful for the opportunity to get to work with David but those years with Albert are looked back on as two of the worst years of my life. That first mk4 was ABF powered and fully built by VW motorsport. It had the nicest built chassis from what I remember.
God was it slow.
Awesome seeing the Good old VR6 tearing up the tarmac!!
Why not go with either the MKIV R32 or MKV R32??
Many people enjoy eating apples and oranges, but in the end they are still… just apples and oranges. The R32 is passion fruit. . Live Long and Prosper.