Tuner Profiles

Time Attack Class

034Motorsport
2001 Audi A4
Location: Fremont, CA
Founded: 2004
034motorsport.com

Of all the teams in ECGP, 034Motorsport is easily the most competitive. While they're a fun bunch of guys, motorsport is in their name and something they take very seriously.

Coming down from NorCal, 034 returned with its A4 widebody, although the last time we saw it there was a VR6 turbo under the hood. This time, it's home to a fully built 1.8T 2.0L that sounded demonic as flames spat from the side-exit exhaust.

Christian Miller knows this car well and proved it by setting the fastest time of the day with a 1:22.4. The car is built to win, but is also adaptable. A few months ago, for example, it was at Pikes Peak, and you can read about their endeavors in EC 12/12.

This year's rules banned component swapping, so 034 president Javad Shadzi stuck to just one turbo to dominate the event. It was mission accomplished, gaining 100hp on their smaller turbo without sacrificing much at low RPM. The recorded 500 lb-ft is pretty astonishing for a 2.0L.

Berk Technology
2008 BMW 135i
Location: Santa Ana, CA
Founded: 2001
berktechnology.com

Having spent the majority of their time tuning imports, Berk turned things around with the 135i. The company specializes in exhaust fabrication and implementing high-flow cats, but this 135i is the full package, looking perfect on the track.

They dominated the RWD class in last year's event, but this year the competition was far tougher. For a car with such limited engine modifications, it's an example of what you can do with good chassis tuning. That said, 400hp at the wheels is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you factor in the custom V-Fiber aero kit, Seibon carbon hood and trunk, along with the gutted interior and rollcage.

With a simple KW Variant 3 coilover setup, an OS Giken limited-slip and a Performance Friction big-brake kit, the car performed flawlessly at speed. Let's not give all the credit to the car, because driver Carl Rydquist is an amazing wheelman; a European endurance racer and chassis engineer by profession. He even waved to us, showing off for the camera on his final lap.

Platte Forme AG
2001 BMW M3
Location: Alhambra, CA
Founded: 2010
platteformeag.com

Platte Forme is a Los Angeles-based European tuning facility with experience in both racing and modifying. Their E46 M3 catches your eye in its Laguna Seca blue, with its yellow Klassen wheels wearing wide 275-section rubber at all four corners. It has a pitbull stance, paired with aggressive aero canards and huge rear wing.

While it looked fast standing still, the volume of noise from its open exhaust was epic. A stage 2

ESS VT-500 supercharger is the heart of the power adders, but Platte Forme went the extra mile to bring it to the time attack league. As such, it's completely gutted with an in-house cage, three-way adjustable JRZ coilovers and a parts list that goes on for days.

It's certainly commendable that this small shop managed to pilot their M3 right up to the tail of 034's A4, getting within a whisker of the winning time during practice.

AWD Class

Bluewater Performance
2007 VW Rabbit
Location: Westminster, CO
Founded: 2008
bwperformance.com

Bluewater Performance specializes in VW/Audi performance installations and fabrication, along with high-horsepower tuning. Best known for big-turbo R32 builds, they decided to construct this '07 Rabbit for last year's etGP and returned again with the AWD turbo car.

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to avoid the catastrophic failure of minor parts, which the Rabbit sustained just days before ECGP12.

With a fresh motor and slightly bruised ego, Bluewater made it to the dyno sessions without any time to check over or break-in the motor. As you'll have read on the dyno pages, things didn't end well but we know the team will be back next year - when this thing runs correctly, it'll be a force to be reckoned with. Fortunately, Bluewater aren't giving up until they dominate our event.

Eurocode Tuning
2010 Audi S4
Location: Torrance, CA
Founded: 2001
ecodetuning.com

Eurocode prides itself on honesty and integrity: you can read about it on the "About" section on their website, but what that doesn't get across is the team's competitive drive, or how badass their Audi S4 is.

It was finished in Signal Green - an Audi Exclusive option and easily the loudest new Audi we've seen. But paint wasn't the only noise. Among the diverse field of cars, you could be blindfolded and still know which was the Eurocode S4 lapping the track - it was a banshee.

It was also moving at a rapid pace thanks to a combination of go-fast parts from APR and in-house Eurocode developments. Despite its weight, the S4 on its KW V3 coilovers and a slew of suspension parts, seemed to have virtually no understeer. If anything, the driver was oversteering out of the slower turns, the set-up allowing the car to rotate. With the grip of the Conti tires and quattro drivetrain, it would then find traction and shoot up the straights.

Euro Sport Accessories
2004 Volkswagen R32
Location: Anaheim, CA
Founded: 1988
eurosportacc.com

These guys have been around for a while. Starting back in '88, Euro Sport now sells everything from its own exhausts and intakes to suspension setups. They even have an in-house dyno to measure gains from software upgrades.

Not only is Euro Sport a veteran of the European tuning scene, they're long-time participants of etGP and now ECGP. In the past they've hit the track with a Mk1 Rabbit racer, Ford Focus, Mk4 Golf 1.8T and this year's Mk4 R32.

The R32 was undoubtedly a sleeper. It looked unassuming enough, sitting nicely on Avant Garde M310 wheels and burbling a sweet VR6 exhaust note. Lapping the track, though, you'd hear the VF-Engineering turbocharger spinning to 12psi, dumping its excess boost pressure out the back. It really moved!

Euro Sport's R32 was a great example of how to create a well-balanced car without going overboard. It's a great daily driver but fully capable of lapping the track, although it seemed to have some understeer issues that might be sorted with a more dedicated race suspension set-up. Acceleration, on the other hand, was no issue, thanks to the VF-Engineering turbo kit.

HPA Motorsports
2012 Golf R
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Founded: 1991
hpamotorsport.com

HPA is most notably associated with its wild VR6 twin-turbo AWD conversions for anything with a VW or Audi badge. Its cars became icons and in previous years, they've battered some egos in our Tuner GP.

This year, HPA decided to change things up with a new Golf R. It was fitted with what the company described as a DIY upgrade kit and was street spec, complete with full interior.

The goal was to make minimal upgrades to the hatchback while still being a contender for the GP title. It was undeniably fast by any standards, but the opposition was a little tougher than perhaps the company expected.

The R featured a hybrid turbo that sacrificed nothing in terms of drivability, as well as an in-house six-piston brake set-up and KW Clubsport coilovers.

Without doubt, the HPA Golf R would be one of the most pleasurable and practical daily drivers, without blowing your budget on an M3 or S4.

By Alex Bernstein,
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