A Brief History of Audi and their Quattro All-Wheel-Drive

Advances in automobiles have demonstrated an oscillating balance between innovation in passenger cars and racing cars since the initial four-wheel vehicles. A discovery in one arena naturally leads to its adaptation in the other, which was usually paired with unparalleled success. Many of the advancements that come to mind are translations of racing components fitted to production models with a tweaked purpose designed for passenger cars. Variable valve timing, for example, is used in performance vehicles for additional power but used in commuter cars for better fuel economy around town. In the 1970s, a traditionally tame auto manufacturer from Ingolstadt made a discovery for passenger vehicles for which it would become synonymously known. Audi introduced the Quattro system and forever changed the racing world as well as cemented themselves in the minds of consumers as a desirable, sporty, economical option that has garnered a huge support to this day.

As a tuning company, we have the incredibly difficult task to improve upon some of the most capable and well-built cars to ever see the road. Audi makes up a large segment of our consumer base, and it is easy to see why. Their range of vehicles has something for nearly everyone between their compact RS3 to their flagship RS7 Sportback. Even a 5-cylinder turbocharged TTRS coupe offers unbelievable power packaged in a responsive, short wheelbase, frame built strictly for testing the limits of all-around performance capabilities. While Audi is known for their exceptional racing cars and their ability to adapt those technologies to production models, it was not always so.

Audi began as a conglomeration of four auto manufacturers under the name Auto Union. The cars produced under the name Auto Union were stereotypical designs to the depression-era styles and were not intended in any way for racing. One of the founders, August Horch, was different in this regard, in that he had a love of motorsports. So much so that his financiers behind his first automotive company decided they had enough of his frivolous use of their cash and backed out from his company. The Horsch automotive company was no longer under his control, so a few weeks (literally, a few weeks) later he came back with another auto company in the same town. This time, in a stroke of genius inspiration, he would name it the Horsch auto company. Talk about German creativity. He might as well have called it “Horch 2”. Fortunately, the German government had most likely dealt with this kind of mind-boggling lack of flexibility before and refused to allow the existence of a second company with the same name. Horch did the most German thing ever and kept the name exactly the same, just translated into Latin. The world was given Audi under its own name for the first time.

Audi merged with Auto Union, who had also added the old Horch name to its brand, and the four rings appeared on vehicles produced after 1934. The name Audi would not be revived until the mid-sixties. It would be another ten years before the company would have its first real breakthrough achievement, where they discovered the potential of a viable all-wheel-drive system for passenger cars.

During some winter testing, an engineer for Audi by the name of Jörg Bensinger fell in love with an all-wheel-drive platform developed by Audi for the German military. The Iltis, an off-road truck of sorts, absolutely dominated in the snowy Finnish terrain and completely outperformed the front-wheel-drive platforms Audi was testing for production cars. It was this discovery that leads to their center differential design that featured a hollow secondary shaft which encased a tertiary shaft and allowed passenger cars to sport all-wheel-drive systems without the use of a transfer case and additional driveshaft. The compact design kept the cars low to the ground but still immensely stable thanks to the equal distribution of torque from the engine. The system was dubbed Quattro. Once again, German creativity blessed the car world with the addition of a ’t’ in the word for ‘four’.

The Quattro system became immediately successful, as it debuted in the holy-grail racing series that was Group B. The Quattro Coupe was a compact Sportback that featured all the significant components for which Audi is well known today. Audi’s true innovation became present instantly in Rally, as they brought the only car to feature all-wheel-drive in those early days of Group B. Paired with its unique 5-cylinder turbo pushing close to 500hp, the Quattro was indomitable at the hands of Audi’s top drivers like Michele Mouton and Hans Stuck. Most famously, Walter Röhl piloted an Audi Quattro after he saw the potential of the car and was approached by the factory team. The rally legend still praises the S1 and Group B today, but he is most widely known for his success at Pike’s Peak. Röhl rocketed the S1 to its third record-breaking hill climb there at Millen Mountain and managed to cement the S1 and his run as the fastest ever recorded before the whole course was paved due to growing safety concerns. That hair-raising achievement demonstrated Röhl’s ability to push himself and the Quattro to the limits of physics and to find the limit at which one could (un)safely tackle the famous hill-climb.

In 1986, Audi pulled out of Group B and set their sights on the American market. They experienced success in the European market thanks to their victories in the racing world, but the series in which the Quattro was ultimately so superior was not widely visible to Americans. So Audi redesigned their 200 to build the 1988 200 Trans-Am cars. These large sedans with the puny 5-cylinder engines looked like the German equivalent of a joke next to RWD, V8, coupes that dominated the series. The Audi team took second in their inaugural race and pole in their next race. The Americans quickly became focused on Audi as a competitor rather than the out of place youngsters. The season barely made it halfway through that 1988 year before the other teams had begun to petition that the Audi had an ‘unfair advantage’ and that heavier restrictions be placed on their cars. The season did not complete before the sanctioning body agreed that the Audis were unbalanced, and they were fitted with smaller tires, a more restrictive turbo inlet, and weight handicaps. Audi still won the season handily but was banned for the next year.

In place of Trans-Am, Audi graduated to the highest level of production racing in America. For 1989, Audi joined the IMSA series. They took the 90 Quattro, an equally unassuming sedan like the 200, and essentially threw out everything to make their IMSA 90. The 90 was quite successful, but not as astonishingly as the 200 Trans-Am. They remained in IMSA for two seasons, then withdrew to return their focus on DTM back in Germany.

Today, Audi still competes in IMSA and motorsports around the world. Thanks to their incredible discovery of the AWD system’s benefits to passenger cars, the Quattro system has been adopted and celebrated by nearly every major manufacturer. Cars like the WRX, Lan Evo, GTR, and x-Drive BMWs all can trace their roots back to the boxy little Audi. The production cars available from Audi now are still available with the Quattro systems, albeit, more advanced versions than the highly mechanical racing versions seen in the 80s and 90s. Without those early racing victories in the Quattro, we might have never been given some of the most capable cars to ever be produced.

We now have the grandchildren of the original Quattro and several generations at that. Audi continued their fixation with the 5-cylinder turbo for 21 years before retiring it at the birth of the first S4. Our current model, the B9 S4, is a culmination of performance and luxury bred from the split heritage Audi experienced on and off the track. Their incredible power and handling characteristics make the S4 one of the most competitive cars on the road and popular among enthusiasts all over the world. While they may not have the same unbridled sense of terror that the old Quattro had, the S4 is still a fantastic platform. Audi used their success on the race track and on rally stages across the world to produce quite possibly the most well-rounded passenger sedan available.

With that, the Quattro system has come full circle. Over 40 years of testing, racing, and manufacturing these ‘big Audis’ has granted them the undisputed crown in the realm of AWD performance. The advancements made in passenger car development that allowed Audi to reach new heights in the 80’s and 90’s once again translated into better passenger cars and some of the most tech-heavy race cars in the world.

Slammed to the Arctic: Official Update

The Rallywagen has now made its full journey to the Arctic Circle, all the way from Wadsworth, Ohio to Alaska, and the Street Shield survived. We did our best to put the protective belly plate through the roughest environments we could imagine our MK5 Jetta Sportwagen would experience, but nothing could break through the shield. Our LIQUI MOLY Molygen oil stayed right where it should have been (for the most part) as the trip concluded with the wagen triumphantly driving to its final destination on time, no truck of shame needed.

The stops since our last update included a trip to APR’s facility in Alabama, where new wheels and big brakes courtesy of APR found their way onto the VW. The new shoes then took a trip to KW Suspension, where the suspension gurus dialed in our V2 coilovers for the best possible ride out to Pikes Peak for the International Hill Climb. We were fortunate enough to not only get exclusive access to the action but also to witness the Volkswagen factory team shatter several records with their insane hill climb car. After being allowed to run the peak ourselves a few times, we hit the road for Las Vegas, where we showed some of the local attractions what LIQUI MOLY and ECS Tuning are all about.

After Vegas, we continued west before heading due north for the border. A sketchy border crossing into Canada and miles of empty highway brought us back to the border with Alaska, and the final leg of our trip. The 8,500 miles full of adventure and incredible cars is nearly finished, but the Rallywagen will live on forever in ECS lore, glorified like the old Norse gods for its bravery and courage at the face of adventure. Take a look at all our wacky encounters below and catch up with us as soon as we return later this week. Don’t forget, at Waterfest on the 22nd of this month the GTI winner will be announced LIVE, so stay tuned to see if you are about to be a part of ECS Tuning’s next adventure.

The APR Facility

Our tires before the new APR wheels… don’t try this at home, kids.

On the Road

Pikes Peak

KW Facility

More road trippin’ and car spottin’

LIQUI MOLY Facility

The Last Leg

RallyWagen: Jaimie Orr’s trip with Volkswagen of America to the Arctic Circle Presented by ECS Tuning

Something we find incredibly enticing about cars is how many different ways we can find them exciting. We can appreciate the differences between our cars as they become more than just a utility. In some cases, the prospect of doing something insane with a car is the best way to bond with a car and too tempting to pass up. The situation in which we find ourselves now definitely falls into the ‘insanity’ category. Volkswagen of America, Jaimie Orr of Orchid Euro, and a number of partnering vendors have all come together with us to send a pre-production MK5 Golf Sportwagen through a grueling road trip across America to the Arctic Circle for a little bit of fun.

This particular MK5 is something special but unfortunately has to be destroyed as a result of its unique VIN restrictions. The wagen came to us from VW as a demonstration and crash-test only pre-production car, so it has a number of interesting features and differences between the actual production model. This low-mileage car was featured at SEMA for the debut of that generation and has since been sitting around just waiting for death. Since the car never received the love or attention it deserves, we thought we would give it a chance to form that bond between car and driver on a massive road trip.

Normally, driving 8,500 miles in a minty-fresh, low-milage, economy car would be in the realm of sanity and not terribly difficult. However, we couldn’t just sit by and make Jaimie’s trip a posh jaunt around the States, we had to give him something exploratory to make up for the general nice-ness of the MK5.

After some phone calls to APR, Black Forest Industries, KW Suspension, LIQUI MOLY, Escort, Thule, and GSP North America, we had a fairly extensive list of modifications for the doomed wagen. Most notably, we immediately slammed the VW on a set of KW V2 coilovers to make it as ground-hugging as humanly possible. This is where our own input came into play: the wagen will drive the full trip completely dumped out, so it needs some added protection for the daunting on-and-off road beating it will take. This is the perfect time to give our Street Shield the ultimate test by fitting it to the MK5 and sending it all the way up to the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle by way of some of the best roads in America for killing oil pans.

The Street Shield will keep Jaimie on the road for the trip if it is up to the challenge, which we think it most certainly is. Escort provided a radar detector so Jaimie can make sure he knows where the closest officer is to provide assistance in case of emergency (wink wink) and hopefully allow him to avoid any trouble on the way. LIQUI MOLY supplied oil for the trip, which we know will keep the engine running smoothly for the new APR upgrades it will receive in Alabama.

Beyond performance upgrades, we knew it couldn’t just go without some aesthetic improvements. Thule provided a roof storage box and racks for extra space and an aggressive overland look, we peppered the car in a classic rally-inspired livery, and BFI will be touching up the interior with some of their tasteful additions on the first stop of the journey.

Right now, the wagen has left the garage with only a few minor incidents of self-inflicted damage and is heading south to the BFI headquarters. You can follow us along as the MK5 Sportwagen receives numerous upgrades along the route to the Arctic Circle and hopefully encounters wildlife, rough roads, and adventure all the way there.

Check out all the sponsors:

Street Shield

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LIQUI MOLY

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ESCORT

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KW Suspension

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Black Forest Industries

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APR Performance

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GSP North America

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How to get 35% More Horsepower from your MINI with ChipWerke Performance

The triple-threat for useable, instant, reliable power is a tried and true combination of parts. Each performance upgrade performs a specific function to improve the factory output of your MINI, and all three are a sure way to make a significant increase in horsepower, but not all upgrades are equal in their benefits. Those ‘big three’ early bolt-on power upgrades are traditionally a cold air intake, underdrive pulleys, and performance software tuning. ChipWerke Performance produces the latter, which offers an instant plug-and-play tuning upgrade for nearly every vehicle. The ChipWerke device is designed to be one of the easiest ways to improve your driving experience at an incredible horsepower per dollar ratio that is both safe for your MINI and undetectable at the dealership.

ChipWerke modules are the next generation in stealth performance. The removable device is a direct plug-in to your engine management that cannot be detected once it is removed. The ChipWerke device does not overwrite any original software, so no footprint is left in the ECU. Rather, the ChipWerke device uses stored information, specific to your vehicle and its software, that it uses in place of the factory software. Now when you take your MINI to the dealership for service or a software update that nothing is lost by removing the device to protect your warranty. All information is returned to the vehicle as soon as the device is reinstalled after your trip to the dealership.

Since the ChipWerke device doesn’t void your warranty and boasts an 18-35% horsepower increase (depending on model), this makes their module one of the best around for convenience and performance. The easy to install unit comes with everything you need to improve your MINI’s power output to either start your quest for more power or round out a series of solid beginner bolt-ons.

Another added benefit of the ChipWerke module is their ability to improve the fuel economy of any vehicle equipped with the unit. While it does not actively change the mapping to make your MINI behave differently in fuel delivery, what it does provide is a significant increase in low-end torque and horsepower. This allows a driver in normal conditions to shift earlier and save more fuel: up to 15% in some cases, depending on how you drive!

With the benefits of more horsepower, torque, and miles per gallon, and no downsides like a voided warranty or trip to an expensive dyno technician, the ChipWerke tuning solution is the perfect instant power option for your MINI. Whatever you drive, ChipWerke can help pull more power and better fuel economy from your engine for a more spirited driving experience. Everything you need in one box to start producing up to 35% more power in your MINI with a risk-free element is a rarity in the tuning world, which is why we think ChipWerke should be taken seriously for anyone looking for instant, usable on the street, reliable, and safe power.

 

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ECS Tuning & StopTech VW MK7.5 GTI Sweepstakes Presented by Racingline: Big Turbo and More!

The news has already spread about our second sweepstakes car, the ECS Tuning and StopTech VW MK7.5 GTI Presented by Racingline. The GTI has already received a massive amount of work and attention courtesy of Zach and all our wonderful vendor partners and it is nearing completion. This most recent update finds us post-reveal, with the car having been present at Euro District and The European Experience to show off its progress. This week, we are pleased to present the most current work on the car. Racingline stopped by to assist in the very first Racingline Turbo installation, perform the tuning, and hang out while we fitted some of the last upgrades to the GTI that will find its way into the hands of a lucky recipient next month.

The GTI is finally coming together. This new Turbo from Racingline is one of the final touches that has allowed us to reach our final horsepower output goal, which will be revealed at a later date. Racingline sent some of their team to oversee the very first MK7.5 GTI turbo installs here in the states and have been a blast to have around the shop. The energy is palpable now that so many hands are on the car to have it prepared for its completion and to meet the deadline to present the car to its new owner, who has yet to be picked.

 

Zach has been hard at work installing more than just a fancy new turbo, however. The folks at Neuspeed delivered their downpipe, mid pipe, catback, and intercooler while Forge provided our dress up hoses. Lastly, ZSPEC contributed dress-up hardware to complete the visual theme underneath the hood. The car is finally coming together and we can’t wait to see how the performance has improved now that the engine matches the suspension and braking capabilities thanks to the additions from H&R with their coilovers and the 335mm StopTech Trophy BBK that absolutely bulges from each wheel hub.

The GTI is sure to see major improvements to power delivery as well as overall drivability with the litany of high-dollar performance parts adorning nearly every part of the car. Our excitement is building to see the finished product hit the dyno to find out if our maths have been accurate in determining what we believe to be the ultimate bolt-on built GTI to hit the streets. The new 3SDM custom 3-piece wheels have tied the exterior of the car together with the final livery and completely match the power that lies underneath. Everything about this car is visually striking and speaks volumes about the car’s capabilities.

Thanks to the guys at Racingline and Neuspeed who have helped us bring this dream build to life for the lucky winner and for providing such amazing support through the whole process. Without their contributions, and the roles played by all our other amazing vendor partners, this car would surely lack the bite to match its striking bite. Continue to follow along in our final weeks as the car is completed and becomes ready for the new owner to take delivery. Remember, every $50 spent on the site is one entry, so keep piling on the entries for a better chance to win this one-of-a-kind GTI as your personal show car, track car, and grocery getter.

Interested in entering?

ECS Tuning & StopTech VW MK7.5 GTI Sweepstakes: Presented by Racingline

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Racing Safety Equipment for your Audi, BMW, MINI, or Volkswagen

What makes a performance car so enticing to enthusiasts of all types? When we look reductively at the fundamental attractiveness of European performance vehicles, the underlying similarity is an emotional connection to what car guys would consider a blank slate. Approaching a new build is an open world of possibility, which is part of where that sentiment originates. For many, the desire to take a car that was essentially produced for fun on the street out-of-the-box and turn it into something more exclusive for competitive use is the direction to which they turn. Racing modifications are where the whole car scene originated and how most of us came into the world of cars as more than just transportation. Since the beginning, the competitive use of automobiles and modification for racing purposes have driven us to amazing products and advancements in racing technology that will help you keep pace with the rest of the drivers on the grid. To help you succeed in your racing hobby, whether you are just starting out or coming back for another build, ECS Tuning has used all our available resources to collect the best names in aftermarket manufacturers who focus exclusively on competitive products.

Whether you drive an Audi, BMW, MINI, or Volkswagen, we have dedicated products intended to provide safety and performance improvements on the track or give you additional scene points at the next meet with functional race parts in your street car. The importance of safety equipment is more than just the stellar looks they add, however. Many sanctioning bodies require certified equipment in order to compete, so that is where companies like those listed below come in to help you stay safe, legal, and looking like a pro.

Sparco

Quite possibly one of the most well-known racing equipment manufacturers in the business, Sparco offers racing steering wheels, competition seat mounts, racing harnesses, and their world-renowned bucket seats. Their parts need almost no introduction as they have been made famous both cinematically and in the gaming world, basically indoctrinating every ten-year-old boy into the church of Sparco racing products. Their seat brackets, specifically, take out the guesswork when it comes to mounting fixed bucket seats in your track car or the weekend warrior, so make sure your next pair of seats doesn’t give you a headache by requiring an annoying amount of modification.

OMP

Along the same lines as Sparco, OMP is another pioneer in safety and racing equipment. Their steering wheel hub adapters, steering wheels, seats, and seat brackets offer more affordable alternatives to the high-dollar brands like Recaro and Sparco and make racing equipment realistic for the entry-level enthusiast. Their certified products allow beginners to stay safe and meet regulations in order to gain the vital seat time that will help them progress.

Recaro

Yet another powerhouse, Recaro nearly needs no introduction. Their high-quality and extremely reliable product catalog have found their way into some of the most well-known builds in the professional and amateur circuits alike, and for this reason are generally a go-to choice when you want the name-brand guarantee and unmatched functionality.

Brey-Krause

More exclusive to our BMW and MINI customers, Brey-Krause is a German manufacturer of racing components and are most known for their OE Seat Fire Extinguisher Mounts. These mounts are absolutely critical for anyone wanting to take their BMW or MINI to any track, either competitively or just for fun, as new regulations do require fire extinguishers be mounted in the car. They are also well known for BMW/MINI-specific seat brackets which allow for the best fit when it comes time to drop in some more stable aftermarket buckets.

Rennline

While they began in 2001 by producing one-off race regulation compliant parts for Porsches, Rennline has since expanded their catalog by offering universal compliance components and performance pieces for a number of manufacturers and models. Skid plates, safety decal kits, pedal sets, throttle extensions, fire extinguisher mount brackets, and more all come from the Vermont machine shop they have operated since the beginning. Rennline is another great option for both improving the visual aspects of your interior and your overall driving experience.

Schroth Racing

A less expensive option for personal safety, Schroth Racing offers ‘quick-fit’ harness options for nearly every car that give you the benefit of tight racing belts without the requirement of a roll bar, half, or full cage. These belts clip into your existing seatbelt buckles and use the original mounting points rather than needing modification or new mounts. Quick-fit harnesses are an excellent choice for the safety-minded performance driver who wants more out of their car without needing to go full-on race car.

Racequip

More racing-specific, Racequip brings safety equipment required by everyone from professional sanctioning bodies to grassroots events. Racing helmets are one of the most important aspects of driving a car to the ragged edge as they protect your dome from most shocks you can expect to encounter eventually. These helmets are approved and designed for competitive use and to be the safest, most comfortable, and attractive helmets available.

Wiechers Sport

For your MINI, Wiechers Sport offers structural rigidity upgrades like chassis bracing and strut braces that are both attractive and functional. The bracing they offer benefits from their years of experience developing custom racing cages for individuals up to the top-tier manufacturer’s teams that need to stand up to the harshest of conditions. Chassis rigidity, especially in FWD vehicles, is exceptionally important on the track. Wiechers brings MINI drivers the ability to drop in easy reinforcement components that will improve their driving experience dramatically.

MOMO

Another powerhouse in the automotive racing world, MOMO has provided some of the world’s best drivers and teams with exceptional racing wheels from Italy for nearly 60 years. Their catalog of styles, from vintage to contemporary, are some of the most respected steering wheels chosen by manufacturers and individuals alike for an unmatched interface between the driver and the car. Whatever your style, there is a MOMO wheel specifically designed to improve your connection to your car and keep your hands where they belong.

Of course, we do have an almost endless supply of other performance brands, but these top-quality racing component manufacturers are exactly what any novice or veteran competitive driver needs to stay on top of their safety equipment. In racing, safety is the highest priority above all. That’s why we offer the range of safety equipment manufacturers necessary to allow anyone at any level to benefit from a concern for their well being behind the wheel and ability to meet regulations on the race track. It’s not all about showing off your pretty parts and high horsepower! Don’t forget to equip your car with the necessary components to ensure the worst case leaves you down a car and not something vastly more important.

The Best Brakes for your Audi, BMW, or VW Explained with HAWK Performance

For most people, a trip to the shop or dealership and a few hours wait is all they ever think about their brakes until they have to slam them on mid-text message when they miss their exit. For the enthusiasts, brake service is a moment of catharsis like any routine service for which we have a habit. The most difficult part of servicing your brakes comes down to which components to use. The average driver needs one style while the performance driver needs another. This article will help the aspiring or confident at-home mechanic choose the right braking components for their needs and gain a better understanding of what physically happens during the time you depress the middle pedal and expect the car to stop.

Modern Disc Brakes

Disc brakes today are fairly universal for each of their applications and all work around the same principles. Disc brakes receive their nomenclature since they are a physical disc, or rotor, that is stopped by a caliper and pads which squeeze together against the friction surface. Brakes stop your car based on their coefficient of friction over a temperature range. They consist of your caliper, which has pistons that clamp the pads to the rotor, and are operated hydraulically through brake lines that lead up to your brake master cylinder. While all disc brakes are essentially the same parts, when we start looking for performance options, things become more complicated.

Coefficient of Friction

Let’s take a step back and look at exactly what is happening over the course of you pressing your brake pedal and coming to the site. The coefficient of friction is basically how much bite your brakes have at a certain temperature.

On a normal street car like the family hauler, you need brake pads with a high friction coefficient at a low temperature. Since your brakes will basically be cold all the time, you don’t want to wait for them to gain temperature to be grabby enough to stop. The trade-off is that the brakes lose grabbiness as the temperature climbs. So if you ride your brakes down a long, steep, hill, you will notice what is called ‘brake fade’ as the pads leave their operating temperature range. This is why you would want to gear down rather than riding the brakes so you don’t boil your fluid in the calipers or lose your brakes entirely.

For a performance street car, you will want a pad compound that offers a high initial bite force and has a wide operating temperature so you can maintain brake force as the temperature climbs. The graph would be more like a flat line. While these pads may not have as high of an initial bite as basic passenger car economy brakes, they will significantly outperform those standard pads at high temperatures seen in hard driving and will resist fading. HAWK performance pads have a number of options for performance pad upgrade that are perfect for daily street driving and some moderate track use or aggressive driving, which we highly recommend for nearly all modified cars that see any road time.

Racing brakes have a graph that looks like the inverse of a standard economy car’s brakes. Racing brakes need their peak friction at much higher temperatures and require a good bit of heat to provide the stopping force necessary for competitive race cars. These brake pads are ill-advisable on the street, however, as you will not keep enough heat in the pads during standard driving to achieve adequate stopping force when you need it.

HAWK Pads

HAWK Performance is our go-to source for brake pads that are capable on the track and street without interchanging compounds. Your next brake service should include HAWK pads that will stop you on the street and perform under the hard-driving that your car will coax out of you.

HAWK HPS pads are the original compound HAWK developed to provide added performance for your brakes on the street. These pads are a Ferro-Carbon compound and offer a wide temperature range that allows you to drive them with performance benefits on the street or some mild track use. They offer a smooth feel and bite with a remarkably controllable torque so you have the feedback you need without an overly aggressive bite force or ‘spongy’ lack of responsiveness.

The newly added HPS 5.0 pads are a step up from the HPS, but not a true replacement. These high-performance pads offer an incredibly tight tolerance right at the line between the most torque you can have without kicking on the ABS and enough torque to provide a substantial increase in performance. They are also a Ferro-Carbon compound and will give your car better pedal feedback, low noise, low dust, and are also designed for street and track use. HPS 5.0 pads are the new go-to for a performance car driver who sees a wide range of driving conditions on the street and track. Everything from a simple trip to the store to a canyon-carving togue can be easily handled by these pads with greater performance and less fade than competitive street going pads.

Finally, the Street Race pads are the racing pads that allow you to drive your car on the track and back off with the ultimate in crossover braking performance. These pads use HAWK’s mechanical bond retention system, slotted friction, hot bod shim, and pad chamfer to improve your handling characteristics and braking characteristics on and off the track. These are the highest rated pads HAWK offers for both street and track use and are the best all-around pad for anyone driving in multiple scenarios that needs the absolute highest performance from their pads.

Calipers

Brake pads are clamped by calipers. The brake calipers, which are operated hydraulically, use an inner and outer pad to press against the rotor and provide friction that is turned into heat as the car stops. The performance of your calipers is dependent upon the size, force, and the number of pistons pressing the pads together, the ability for the caliper to resist temperature increases and to dispel heat quickly.

Standard disc brake calipers are generally a single or dual piston, cast iron, caliper. Improving your brakes generally can be left to better pads, like the HAWK pads outlined above, and with more capable rotors. In some cases, however, extreme brake performance is necessary and a greater friction surface with more bite force and better cooling properties is necessary. The theory behind big brakes is simple: adding surface area increases the amount of friction, adding pistons increases the bite force, and floating designs offer improved cooling to resist fade with the faster increase in temperatures from the larger brake components. Big brakes allow you to improve your stopping power well beyond the capabilities of your factory calipers and rotors for street use and racing use but are generally not considered necessary for anyone beginning their build. Advanced drivers and drivers of high-horsepower cars are the ones who will receive the biggest benefits from these ultra-high performance brake systems.

Rotors

The rotor is the disc that spins with your wheel on the hub and receives the clamping force of the pads by the calipers. The dual purposes of the brake rotor is to provide a friction face and to dispel heat as quickly as possible. For the street driver, the biggest three concerns should be the brake rotor’s performance, ability to control temperature, and their lifespan. HAWK’s Sector 27 rotors are a prime example of upgraded rotors that offer those properties for the performance minded driver. The Sector 27 rotors offer improved performance, lowered temperatures, a predictable torque control to match the HAWK pads, consistent pedal feel, and an exceptionally long life. They are available in drilled and slotted or just slotted for your preference, which transitions nicely into our next area.

Drilled and Slotted vs. Slotted vs. Full Face

Rotors are traditionally full faces that are just a spinning friction disc for your pads to clamp against and stop the car. The flat face offers the largest surface area, so full face rotors are actually the highest initial bite force rotors and would be recommended for the best performance on a street car.

Slotted rotors have channels that allow heat gas and brake dust to escape, which will reduce temperatures quickly and resists brake fade. As we mentioned earlier, though, only during competition do these benefit you the most since they actually have less surface area than full face rotors. They do, however, hold up over a wider range than full face rotors by resisting that fade and maintaining a consistent pedal feel for a variety of driving conditions. The slotted design is excellent for anyone looking for a performance upgrade that will allow them to take full advantage of their car during aggressive driving by resisting fade and allowing for a wide temperature range for optimal operation.

Drilled and Slotted rotors are just for show. That’s it! The holes and slots further reduce the surface area of the rotors and dramatically decrease the temperatures of the rotors. While they are perfectly capable on the street and do resist temperature increase more than any other style of rotors, we do not recommend drilled and slotted rotors for anything besides street and show use.

Brake Lines

Your brake lines deliver fluid to the brake calipers which hydraulically clamp against the rotors and stop your vehicle. Brake lines are traditionally rubber lines with metal fittings, which are perfectly fine for daily driving and even some hard driving. However, as your demands for performance increase, it is important to receive as much feedback from your pedal inputs as possible and for your fluid lines to have as much insulation as they can to resist temperature increases. Braided steel brake lines offer firmer pedal feel by resisting ‘stretching’ under fluid pressure and are better insulated than their rubber cousins which means your brake fluid stays cooler longer for higher performance driving.

 

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HAWK Performance Braking Solutions

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Vendor Spotlight: CTS Turbo means Big Power for your Audi or Volkswagen

The old phrase “there is no replacement for displacement” has met its match in today’s aftermarket performance world. The recipe for huge horsepower was to have the biggest bore, most aggressive cams, and a fuel economy that was measured in feet from the largest engine possible. While turbocharged engines are not a new concept, the reliability and potential for forced induction engines have become rivals to their naturally aspirated cousins. CTS Turbo is one of the foremost aftermarket manufacturers who capitalizes on the turbocharged Audi and VW engines and forces respectable power from small displacement forced induction platforms with their performance contributions.

Just like Simba’s reign covered everything light touched, CTS Turbo offers performance upgrades for everything air flows through and more. Their improved charge pipes, intercoolers, inlet pipes, outlet pipes, exhaust systems, and more open up the crucial airways that make forced induction effective. CTS Turbo’s focus is clearly turbo-related support, but their product catalog extends beyond those accessories.

Hardware like subframe inserts, transmission mounts, catch cans, and short shift kits broaden CTS Turbo’s reach into the VAG market and give a range of options for the performance-minded Audi or VW owner. Making big power, adding rigidity, and improving drivability are all key concepts involved in a well-rounded build, and that is just what CTS aims to provide. Their mounts allow for reduced deflection, which means the additional power from their K04 turbo upgrade, more efficient intercooler, and better flowing exhaust will actually be transferred to the wheels rather than lost in drivetrain flex.

CTS Turbo allows you to cover all your bases in your Audi or VW build by providing power, chassis, and drivability improvements without breaking your bank. Their accessible upgrades offer incredible performance upgrades to your forced induction engines and are designed for perfect fitment. Since technology has finally advanced in the forced induction community, we are starting to see outstanding horsepower output from small displacement engines thanks to companies like CTS Turbo. Give your Audi or VW that extra power you know you want with CTS performance parts, on sale now!

 

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CTS Turbo Parts and Accessories

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Vendor Spotlight: Rennline Performance Porsche Parts

An amazing aspect of the aftermarket car community is that as new generations carry the torch for enthusiasm. We are given new products and manufacturers provided by a number of new enthusiast innovators. These enthusiasts, like the folks up in Vermont at Rennline, are the next wave of household names to emerging in the European aftermarket industry. ECS Tuning is now proud to offer Rennline products and is excited to add yet another enthusiast-driven company to our roster of supporting manufacturers.

Rennline offers several specialty products they design and manufacture for performance and competitive use. They are well known for their fire extinguisher mounting systems and various Porsche parts, but their catalog extends to cover several applications over a wide range of European vehicles and is constantly expanding.

Perhaps one of the more universal products, Rennline offers competition wheel stud conversions, which is designed to replace your inconvenient lug-studs with sturdier and more agreeable wheel studs and lugs. This upgrade is required by some racing leagues for its durability and additional safety, while it is also the perfect way to make removal or installation of wheels a breeze.

On the topic of regulations and requirements, Rennline also provides folding tow hooks, tow decals, their well-known fire extinguisher bracket, and RS-style door pulls for the track enthusiast. Make sure your competitive vehicle meets all the rules with Rennline products while ensuring quality, durability, and style are congruent with the rest of your build.

Of course, there are protective parts as well. The Rennline skid plates protect your car from road hazards that would otherwise spell disaster for your exposed underbody components. These durable shields are the best protection for your car and absolutely necessary for any lowered vehicle that sees rough roads or hard driving.

Rennline is a wonderful addition to our roster from whom we look forward to seeing new and exciting products in the near future. As the Rennline catalog grows, stay tuned for more information about new products that might be for your Audi, BMW, Mini, Porsche, or VW.

A Brief History of the Audi C7 RS7 Quattro

The Audi RS7 is the latest big-body Sportback sedan based off of the A7 platform. This impressive cruiser boasts a 560 hp twin-scroll turbo 4.0 TFSI V8 that powers all four wheels thanks to Audi’s impressive Quattro all-wheel-drive system. An eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox smoothly shifts the RS7 through the gears and shoulders the power produced by the turbo V8 that propels it to 60mph in roughly 3.9 seconds. With such an exceptional balance between performance, comfort, and utility, the Audi RS7 is one of our favorite cars for which we have experience fitting with aftermarket parts. Let’s explore the history of this incredible machine and take a look at some of our additions to the latest descendent borne from the legacy of the first Avant.

Although it is an absolute powerhouse now, the RS7 had humble roots. In the late 60’s, Audi unveiled the 100, named for its original power output of 100 PS. It was immediately followed a year later with the release of the Audi 100 Coupé S, a fastback coupe that was available with a slightly more powerful engine. The Audi 100 C1 quickly became the company’s most successful commercial vehicle and offered several variants including the coupe, sedan, and Avant. The Avant was a 5-door Sportback and became the grandfather to all Audi wagons, including the RS7 Sportback.

The C7 RS7 is the culmination of both the Audi 100’s commercial success and the Audi 200 Quattro’s motorsport wins in the 1988 SCCA TransAm Championship. Our own RS7 was delivered in the special-order Signal Green exterior and with a black leather interior. We aptly dubbed the car “the Hulk” and immediately began upgrading it as soon as the break-in period had ended.

Since we are more concentrated on performance rather than overall comfort, our RS7 favored its motorsport history more so than its luxury lineage. While it did not receive as drastic a treatment as many of our other cars, the RS7 did benefit from an APR tune, H&R suspension, and a Milltek Sport exhaust. The car’s heritage was allowed to show through with the overall upgrades from Audi alongside our own contributions that pushed the car to what we feel is the perfect all-around package a driver could want from a touring Sportback.

The “RS” designation is why we largely decided to leave the car as Audi had built it: the C7 RS7 already stands as a tribute to its lineage with its impressive 4.0 TFSI V8, six-piston front brake calipers, ceramic discs, and forged 20” wheels. Even the large square taillights harken back to the design of the old 100 Avant, especially when you stand back and see the whole profile of the car with its swept-back roofline that seamlessly meets the tail in a flat point. The whole car embodies what Audi set off to make originally. It is both an engaging sports car and a comfortable, spacious, luxury car.

We think our C7 RS7 represents its inheritance well. With the RS package, the C7 Sportback claims breathtaking acceleration, face-shredding deceleration, stunning looks, and a suave interior. Were it not for Audi’s use of the 200 Quattro in the 1988 SCCA TransAm Championship, and its subsequent domination of eight races that season, the RS7 and many of Audi’s most notable S-designated variants might have never been. While the old 100, 200, and 5000 make us feel warm and fuzzy, nothing compares with the sheer volume of technology and performance capabilities present in this latest C7 RS7. Stay tuned for more flashbacks in motorsport history as we delve into the heritage of the cars we call our bread and butter right here at ECS.

 

Check out our lineup of parts for your own C7 RS7:

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