Nathan Lloyd loves cars. He started out with a 1989 Integra LS, then stepped up to a 1994 Integra GSR. It was bad enough when the car was stolen, packed with nearly all his worldly possessions the night before he was to move. Then he underwent 4 months of investigation by his insurance company on suspicion of fraud. He decided the Honda world was not where he belonged. Nathan bought a Jazz Blue '97 GTI VR6 and tuned it to 182 hp at the wheels. He wanted more but didn't think it made sense with only the front wheels working. By this time, Nathan was making his living selling Volkswagens, and his employer helped him find an Avus Silver ALMS TT with 225 bhp.
The first step was a GIAC XChip, which immediately made the stock suspension inadequate. Nathan added coilovers, a bigger rear anti-roll bar and adjustable control arms. A slight reduction in rear static camber dialed out the factory's "safe," litigation-friendly understeer. More engine mods followed, including intake, exhaust, intercooler and diverter valve, but very strange ECU behavior sent Nathan back to GIAC. A new coolant temperature sender (a $5 part that frequently fails on S4s) exorcised the spooks and raised output from a sickly 135 hp at the wheels to 182 hp and 212 lb-ft. With the mechanical upgrades in place and the stock software on 91 octane, the TT put down 152 hp and 167 lb-ft. With 100-octane unleaded and software to match, Nathan's car delivered 222 hp and 247 lb-ft to the Mustang dyno's rollers.
With a set of Ferodo pads and Toyo Proxes RA-1 tires, Nathan set the fastest time around Buttonwillow at DubWars' Road Race event with a 2:16 lap. In that 104F heat, coolant temperatures got pretty silly, so Nathan installed a B&M Racing oil cooler in the driver-side stock intercooler position.
Nathan is as vulnerable to the siren's song of More as anyone. Just before the photo shoot, he installed Stasis Engineering's 13-in. front brakes. They are 32mm wide rather than 28mm as most other TT systems and use Scandinavian Brake Systems pads. Nathan said he'll soon upgrade to Stasis' 14-in. front system and complementing rears, which he points out fit under the stock 18-in. wheels.
The 225-bhp TT comes with all the best stuff from the factory: stronger block, piston oil squirters, the biggest K04 and the twin-shaft six-speed transmission with its enhanced torque capacity. It's easy to spend money on lesser cars by installing all those parts, but Nathan has been struggling to find his next fix of More. The current setup pulls hard but has clearly reached the limits of the stock turbo. One turbo conversion has been 2 weeks away for 9 months, he said. Another is developed but will probably never see production, because it would be prohibitively expensive to market. Nathan has done well so far with simple changes, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of his search. We're sure it will be good.