So I recently bought a 1999 Miata. Your first thought is probably, oh. He bought a dedicated track car. Wrong. I bought the Miata as a daily so I can track the GTI more aggressively. The Miata, is in fact, the backup. Alright, now here's the meat. Why? Why track a GTI, a known good daily, a daily a Miata, a known good track car? Am I just that much of a hipster? Or is there a better reason?
Some argue a good track car could be argued to be something cheap, reliable, and good handling. Additionally, it doesn't hurt for a track car to be fast and class leading. But, perhaps more importantly, a track car should be fun and enjoyable to race. For many of us, that process involves not only driving the car, but building the car. A Miata has been tried and true. But the MK7? No one has quite figured out the answer to if it's a class winner, and what it takes to get there.
Reason 1: Learning to Build a Car
As many of you know, my GTI has served as a base to try all sorts of experiments. How does power effect the overall performance? How helpful is a mechanical LSD? How do sub-bar shocks paired with calculated spring rates perform? How do we tune for track, and for altitude? How do we solve the cooling issues associated with any track car? What tires make sense?
All of these questions are well answered on the NA/NB Miata platform. Xida coilovers. 12/8K spring rates. 225/45-15 tires. Factory LSD, Cusco if funds allowed. FM Turbo with a great tune available. Add an oil cooler. Brake ducts. Done. In essence, the recipe is clear. The point is, building a new chassis gives you the opportunity to learn what works, what doesn't, and why it does or doesn't work.
Reason 2: Power isn't fun on the street
No seriously, hear me out. Like everyone else, I love flooring it. Banging it out to redline, and getting every last drop of power the car has out of it. You feel the revs climb, and you press your foot harder hoping you'll get more. You anticipate the shift, and nailing it. (or you have DSG and focus on clicking that button). Either way, there's something special about going full tilt. Now, that entire paragraph was me describing an experience. And that's exactly where the joy is--in the experience. Just like sex, it can be really good, but no one wants it to be over too quick.
I used to take the GTI out here and there, cruise backroads, and open it up from time to time. But time is hard to find when you're a married graduate student who loves cars and taking on extra work. So your cruises get shorter and less frequent. But really, the wake up call for me was a simple drive back from the airport. Deprived of sleep, and already irritated, some idiot in front of me wanted to merge onto a 70 mph freeway at 45. As much as I wanted to be patient, their Prius-like driving got the best of me. A simple downshift to 3rd, and within a moment I'm finding the limiter. As I looked back to see the aggressor disappear in my mirror, a started to realize that cars next to me were also disappearing rather quickly as well. Third in the GTI is, well, rather long. As I continued to take in the view, I realized another vehicle on the road, one of government ownership. It's safe to say I found myself at exactly the speed limit on the drive home.
So what's the moral here? We all love fast cars, no denying it. We all try to be in control, keep our stupid to the minimum. But the reality? We find ourselves in a position, at one point or another, in which the temptation wins. And if we get just unlucky enough, we can find ourselves paying very serious consequences.
Reason 3: In to deep...
As you read the title, you probably feel like you know what I'm going to say. So let's get that part out first: I have modified my car. Yup. But, that's not why I'm in too deep. I'm in too deep, because of the people. The friends I've made. The community. Somehow, I've managed to ingrain myself into the community, thanks to thousands of you who read my articles, multiple Facebook groups. (If you're curious, I serve as an admin for the "main" MK7 - MQB Page, MK1-7 Motorsports, and MK7 MQB Eurodyne Maestro).
I've learned so much about cars in general from the community. From trailblazers like Ryan and Zac (whom have both been featured on this page), who redefined what this chassis is capable of. People who are wealths of technical knowledge like Frank Mabo, Matthew Cjel, and Paul Barrett. Then there's just some awesome friends I've made like Jake, Kirk, RJ, Johnny, Mike, Bradd, Ken, Jon, and holy shit so many more. Sidebar, I feel obligated to say that the list was made from people in my DMs that have talked to me in the last two weeks lol. Point is -- hella awesome people.
And they are the reason I want to stay with this community, and keep building the GTI, and keep progressing and pushing the chassis. You guys have been awesome to me, taught me so much, and I want to keep producing content while doing some trailblazing of my own! After all, the GTI recently took home it's first time-attack win! But I want more! And that means going full tilt. For me, the GTI is the car that makes sense to do it in.