Though well down on power, Avalon Motorsports' H&R coilover-equipped S4 was corner-balanced and set up with alignment specs from Champion Audi, which knows a thing or two about making the B5 chassis work. When I drove it, I was stunned to find it had BMW-quality steering feel, building huge driver confidence. Gary Sheehan, holder of the U.S. Touring Car Championship, drove a 94.12-sec. lap in the Avalon car.
The Achtuning car benefited from extensive development work by Stasis Engineering, supplier of its suspension and, especially importantly, rear differential. It handled like a perfectly balanced rear driver, and its four-wheel Stoptech brakes were peachy. Stasis' Jon Prall pedaled the car to a 94.42-sec. lap, and a few observers speculated it may have been even faster with a driver who had more laps on the Streets course.
Eibach's Dave Royce helped set up, and drove, ABD Racing's mildly prepared entry to fifth place. The only entrant who drove his own car was Topspin's Stan Liu. He should have done much better but was handicapped by Falken, which sponsors him with tires but asked that he run this event on already worn FK-451s. Falken's Azenis Sport offers vastly more grip.
When the dust settled, there was more than a day of sorting through data before we would know who won. Everybody was invited to enjoy a final dinner and part as friends, having learned new things, met new people, forged new relationships and moved humanity a tiny increment closer to world peace.
The chart at the bottom of this page shows how the chips fell. Audi Sport Werks backed up its strong showing at the 1.8T Challenge by winning our S4 shootout. Those people know how to build engines. Achtuning's S4, built entirely with off-the-shelf, bolt-on parts, was a superbly sorted, all-around car and finished second. Ari Mosisoglu put in some spectacular shots for the little guy, finishing third and showing you don't have to tune Audis for a living to have a darned fast one. Perhaps the most amazing outcome is that AWE's Silver Bullet finished fourth, despite scoring no points for one of four events. Though Hartmann Motorsports has 0.01 point more than ABD Racing, we're calling it a tie for fifth.
european car will have already done another big comparison test by the time you read this. We learn a lot doing events like this, and we think they make good reading. Let us know if you agree.