Prawn and BigAls A3 Track Car


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Well folks, seeing as it's a little different, I thought I'd start a little thread on here. The first few posts will be copied over from Northloop, then I'll keep it updated as things progress!


After 3 trips to the ring, I decided it was probably about time I built something more dedicated to the track, rather than risking my dailly driver.

So, having bought a new A3 1.8T back in May, my old A3 has sat in the drive, because I'm too stubborn to sell it, as I don't want some pikey getting his hands on a car with 235bhp, for the £1500 it's worth. I had planned to give the car to my Dad as payment for some money I owed him, but we decided in September that it would be put to far better use as a track car, so this is a joint project between me. and Dad.

My time with this A3 started in July 2006, when I bought it on 120k, 100% standard, for £2850:


Fast foreward 4 years, 3 turbos, 2 gearboxes, and god knows how much else and a fair few thousand quic, and I ended up with this:


Running full 'stage 2' spec, ko3S turbo, turbo back exhaust, FMIC, all forge silicon hoses, and a custom map, it was producing 235bhp & 270lbft at 23psi, and going well. it's already got eibach ARB's, and coilovers, as well as 312mm S3 brakes that'll be getting replaced.

It's been to the ring twice. Here's a few pics




Bit of a driveshaft fail back at easter this year, thankfully helped out massively my Ralph and Freddie at Rent4Ring:



The car reached 200k whilst at the ring in April, so I decided it was time to retire it from my 500 mile/week commute, and loving it so much, the only option for me was to buy another, newer A3 for a new dailly:


The old A3 has sat in my drive now for 6 months, waiting for me to do something with it.

My old man and I decided in september, whilst spending a week at the ring, that it was about time we built a car specifically for track use, and we decided to start with the old A3 as a base.

So, the car currently needs a new steering rack, so I've got a TT quick rack in the garage to go on it this weekend. I've just picked up some Sparco Sprint V seats and I've been talking to Custom cages about afull multipoint weld in cage for the car :)

I'll be stripping it over xmas and making up subframes for the seats, then I'll be ordering the cage early in the new year, with a view to getting the car ready to take to the ring at Easter.

I'm after a set of 330mm Porsche 996 brakes to put on the front it it, and I'm looking at getting a set of Federal RS-R tyres. Having read a few reviews, they sound pretty good for the money, at half the cost of R888s!

I'll keep this updated as more work happens!

I hope to see some of you out at the Ring a few times next year



My other car is a MINI!!!!
Due to the 200k mileage, the car is worth less than £1500. and considering how quick it is, I just refuse to sell it for such a silly price. So seeing as I've already got all the suspension and engine mods done, it's a whole load cheaper to use this as a base for a track car.

We were doing sub 9 BTG laps in the dailly A3 on road tyres in September, so hopefully, this should turn out to be a pretty quick car with another 10bhp and a load less weight.

I picked up a carbon bonnet for the A3 a few months back too, bargain £150 plus my steel bonnet:


Carbon bonnet is an amazingly good fit actually. It seems like a seriously nice bit of kit to me. It’s a single all carbon top skin, with the internal bracing on the underside done in FG with nuts and plates bonded in for all the standard fixings. It was on the previous car for 2 years in all weathers, and it’s not yet sunk or gone milky at all. Panel gaps are good, and it doesn’t appear to lift on the edges up to 150mph, so that’ll do me, although I may put some aero catches on it as a safety thing.

The weight target is sub 1100Kg for now. although I'd like to get it lighter in the future
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My other car is a MINI!!!!
Sorted out a new gear linkage for the A3 today. Getting a later type shifter and cables with clip on ends, that'll allow me to use a TT shift arm at the box to reduce throw and tighten it up a bit. Current linkage is a bit slack after 200k!


Fitting a new steering rack tomorrow, a destroyed CV back at easter has shaken the whole car so violently it's killed the steering rack, and I somehow mananged to boil the PAS fluid on a quick lap on Easter Sunday.

Got a TT quick rack to fit, 2.7 turns as opposed to 3.5 turns of the standard rack.

Also got a new oil catch tank, and a few service bits to fit whilst I'm at it.

MOT booked for tuesday :)

Here's how she's sat at the moment, on 17'' TT ronals. Daily on the right, Mini in the garage :)



TT rack fitted and working perfectly, also retorqued the driveshaft bolts which seem to be forever comming loose.

Had a few issues getting it started at all lately, but that's now sorted

Regapped the plugs, cleaned them up, dried out the coil packs on a radiator and it fired up first time and runs better than it has for ages.

Fitted a few new oil breather parts, now just need to finish off the catch can tomorrow and it's ready for MOT on tuesday.

Can't wait to drive it again, it's a proper laugh :)



My other car is a MINI!!!!
MOT passed!

few advisories, but all on things that are being replaced before it's properly used again, like worn brake pads, discs and tyres.

Otherwise, it flew through with flying colours :)

Awesome to be driving it again too, it's not that much quicker than my dailly, but the delivery is a LOT more brutal, and the older management makes for a noticably less refined engine.

Should feel ****** nippy too once all the weight is stripped out!


Well it's finally taxed and road legal at last! Took it out tonight and it's going great.

Got a mate to drive it against my near identical daily, and it's a fair bit quicker. Considering the daily has 224 bhp I think the 230-235 bhp
Suggestion is fairly accurate :)

Such a different delivery too with better tyres to get the power to the road, it should be brilliant!


Momo steering wheel boss and 330mm suede wheel ordered.

Went for a cheapy Ebay £40 wheel for now, as I'm a little unsure if the dished wheel will suit me or if it'll be a little close.

I've been told by one of the guys who part owns Tab's bora that a dished wheel is the way to go, but I didn't fancy splashing out £150 on an OMP wheel until I've tried the cheap one first.

Still, can't really go wrong for £40 to test it out.


OK, so I picked up the sprint V seats, they're brand new with sparco steel side mounts and sparco sliders too. Happy days.

However, it's been about 9 months since I last sat in a sprint V, and it would appear that I've put on a few pounds since! They're really rather tight!

Just another reason to lay off the pies and beer in the new year!


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Well, 500 miles now covered and it's been 100% problem free. Boost isn't quite as high as it used to be, but it's still pulling VERY well, so I'm not too worried.

The me3.8 ECU has no boost tables in it's mapping, only a load request, so if it's making it's target load due to the super cold IAT's and decent fuel that could explain the lower boost.

Made some progress today too!

Interior with facelift recaro seats before we started:


Midway through, found LOADS of audio wiring under the carpets to untangle and rip out


Front carpet took ages to get out, and it was pretty wet under the passengers side


Decided that the sparco's were just too snug for my, so invested in a set of Monaco Pro's, which I know I fit in well.


I know they're not the greatest seats in the world, but at this stage, the extra £300 or so to go for GRP backed seats would only save me about 5kg, and could be put to better use elsewhere on the car.

Offered the new seat in on sparco steel side mounts


Once I've got some proper mounts welded in, they should sit at just the right height. 30mm box and 3mm plate bought to make up the cross members between sill and tunnel.

Titon 3'' harnesses arrived today too, I was initially after a set of TRS Magnum 4 points, but I couldn't find a set in black anywhere. Dad saw Prima Motorsport at the Exeter kit car show, who make the Titons and they looked pretty good, so we went for it.


At £100 per harness, they seem really good.

Chucked the standard seats back in for now, as I've got to go to town in the morning, and this is my only car down here at the mo. left the others back at home.

Door cards will be changed when the cage is installed


Took it for a spin, and it's surprisingly quiet still. It's gotten much louder since being stripped, but you could still easily hold a conversation. so happy with that. Feels much more nippy too.

weighed what came out, and including the spare wheel there's 100Kg gone so far. Plus the front seats at about 25kg each to be replaced with Monacos at 10kg.

Also did a little tester of the paint I'm going to use on the wheels and a few other bits.


Bit more subtle without the flash:


It's Porsche 8C6, as used on the GT3's. Having seen so many black GT3's with the orange wheels, I loved the colour combo, and orange has been a fave of mine for years. Perhaps not the classiest of colours, but it'll certainly stand out!

Seat mounts to be made in the new few days, then I'll throw the harnesses in and see how it feels.

Still waiting for my steering wheel though :(


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Seat mounts made. Took ****** ages to get them fitting nicely, and to make sure they're all 100% square and level.


Just placed in the car in this pic, annoyingly I ran out of welding wire this morning, so I'm waiting for another roll this afternoon then I can finish them off and get the seats in finally!


What a day.

Miserable start, grinder packed up, had to borrow another one.

Started welding in the mounts, welder packed up and the wire jammed.

Sorted welder, then it ran out of wire. Couldn't find new roll of wire.

Had to get some more wire, thank god machine mart were open.

Started welding again, and it started pouring with rain!

Not to be stopped by a bit of damp, we rigged up a cover:



Mounts now welded in, and seats put in to check position. Just 8 holes to drill tomorrow, then 2 harness points to make up.

Everything seem to be against us!


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Clearly, the christmas break isn't an ideal time weather wise to be doing work on the motor in the driveway.

Still, through all manner of tents, and a large amount of simply getting soaked, harness mounts are done, 44^2 cm plate with a captive nut welded on the back, then seam welded into the tunnel. It's all primed and painted, and the holes drilled.

It's chucking it down now, and I've had enough. BUt I just need to bolt the seats in tomorrow for the last time, and I'm finished!



And the final post from this morning to bring us all up to date:

Seats are in, just waiting for my ****** steering wheel still!


Just been for a drive in it, and the seats make a huge difference to the feel of the whole thing. the 3'' lap and shoulder belts on the harnesses are SO much more comfy than the cheap 2'' harnesses in the Mini. The new lower position is brilliant too. Just waiting on my suede steering wheel to arrive now!

Bled the brakes this morning after ruining the fluid out at the ring at Easter.

Just got to rip out the head lining now, and take some pics, then get on the phone to custom cages about the cage! Going for a full MSA/FIA spec multi point weld in

I'll keep this updated as things happen, but seeing as the car is stored 200 miles away in Cornwall it won't get updated too often.


It's not f@cking ORANGE!!!!!
F***ing hell Nick, you don't do things by halves do you!!!! Is this the car I saw at Bills

BOL 10X :)
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excellent stuff!

i was/am looking at buying a cheap clio sport in summer to do the same with. see you there for a dual one day!


Registered User
Good write up and will enjoy reading more.


Looking for Boost!
Staff member
Good stuff Nick! :racer:


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Cheers for the comments lads. I'm hoping it'll turn out to be a really good laugh!

F***ing hell Nick, you don't do things by halves do you!!!! Is this the car I saw at Bills?

Noooooooooooooooooo, not the car you saw at Bills Mike, I couldn't bring myself to rip that one apart!

This is my old car, which I've owned for almost 5 years and done all the work myself. The mileage got a bit high for my 500 mile per week commute, and I didn't want anything else so bought another A3 for a daily, so I'm not turning this one into a track car.

It's a fair bit faster than the grey one :)


Audi A-Trizzle!
oo nice one mate. cant wait to


Registered User
Looking good fella. How would you say the A3 chassis and engine performs at track/nurburgring level? Is it up to the job/long term abuse?


It's not f@cking ORANGE!!!!!
Ah I see. I'm looking forward to the update then Nick as I love threads like these. I really wanted to do this with my Impreza but I just couldn't afford it.

What's next after the cage?


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Personally, I think it's fairly under rated really mate.

I know, it'll never be up with the french hot hatches in terms of driver involvment, but for all out grip and cornering speed, it seems to be right up there.

If you go out there, there seem to be loads of locals in 20vt A3's, and a while host of mk golfs, most running GT28 setups or similar.

As for the abuse side of it, i think it takes it as well as any other car would. Nothing too bad has given me problems in 3 trips out there. the high torque and FWD does tend to go through CV joints fairly quickly, but I think anything with over 250lbft FWD will suffer with those issues.

In my dailly in september, with just over 200bhp at the time and decent road tyres, I was able to lap in under 9 minutes consistently in light traffic, so I think in this with 230bhp or more and some really good tyres 8:30 or less should be well within reach. I've only driven 26 laps total, so there's still SO much to learn.

The megane R26R has 225bhp, and that does a full lap in 8:17, so probably around 7:57 BTG, to give you an idea of what FWD and 225bhp can do....

Steering wheel appeared today too!

Turns out, it's been sat outside my house, in a stupid little box, for a week now!

Some complete twat of a postman left it in a tool storage box by our garage, and signed my name for it, so when I contacted the seller, they politely told me that I myself had signed for it a week ago!

Went on a hunt, and eventually found it in the tool box! ********.

Still, whipped that on this evening. Incredibly easy job too. the boss came with connectors for the horn and airbag, and the wheel came with a push button for the horn.

Old wheel off, new boss dropped into place:

The horn just needs the black and brown wires joining to sound. Tested this out with the screw driver, then, took apart the old wheel and it's all just on spade connectors.


Bolted the wheel up, and I like it. It sits nice and close to the driver, which feels much better when pushing on!


Been out for a drive and it feels lovely. Car feels so good now with the seats, harnesses and wheel. Much more inspiring to drive!
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Brown passenger seat.
Looking good Nick ;)



cant belive i have just sat here and read all that, i normally get board but its sooo nice to see a different build type thread going on, envyous of you lots


Registered User
great thread, really enjoyed reading this morning. Great work on the A3, keep it up.

Ash B

Registered User
Prawn good thread, i'll be keeping and eye on this build. Your other A3 looks pretty tidy aswell. And agree it wouldnt make sense selling your A3 for that cheap


My other car is a MINI!!!!
nice work, big turbo?

You know, I'm really not sure if it would be of any use on this thing!

It's currently on michelin Pilot sport 2's, not the most grippy tyre in the world, but it really struggles to put the power down already out of the bends with just 230bhp. I think having 300bhp+ in a FWD track car would probably be pretty pointless.

Chances are, it'll end up with a CRT04 ko3/4 hybrid turbo, which should see it to around 280bhp. it's a fairly low cost upgrade needing just the turbo, MAF, and injectors over what I've got already.

Just got back from town in the A3, 21 miles of awesome cornish B roads. My god it's fun!


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Cheers Bill. I may well be in touch at some point in the next 12 months with regards to fitting rods and a mini engine rebuild/check over. I'm not sure bolting a hybrid to a 200k engine is the best idea in the world!


Registered User
lovin this, this was my plan for this year so i will be copying some idea's. also i didn't know about the tt steering rack so am having that lol. will you be fitting lsd? and have you removed your air con? so many questions:faint:
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My other car is a MINI!!!!
I will be fitting an LSD at some point yea, but like a big turbo, that's a future upgrade to look into once it's properly turned into a track car with decent brakes and a proper cage.

Once it's 'finished' in it's current engine form, we'll look into a rebuilt engine, with a different turbo and an LSD for sure.

the TT rack is amazing. SO much sharper than the standard rack, much heavier feel too. The TT and S3 rack are the same of course. so it's only an upgrade for us A3 owners.

Aircon won't be removed, as this is a car I want to use and enjoy, and as we're building it with the nurburgring in mind, it's got to be comfy enough to drive 600 miles in a day as well!

Considering the 35 degree heat and traffic often seen in Belgium in summer, and the way the screen mists up when it's -8 in Nurburg at Easter I think I can cope with the few KG of the aircon gear. I've already removed 160kg including the front seats and spare wheel and factory supplied tools. Put 30kg back in with my seats, subframes, and harnesses. so 130kg weight removed so far! Not including the front belts and head linning which I've not weighed yet.

I've also saved a fair bit of weight with the carbon bonnet, but I didn't weigh it to find out how much.

I'll get the car on a weighbridge again at some point. it was 1220Kg when it went on a year ago, in theory, it should be about 1080Kg at the moment.


Registered User
i'll add a tt rack to my list cos am going to poly bush it all round anyway. how's the gearbox on a track i was thinking of swapping for a diesel one for abit more top end and less wheel spin out of corners


Registered User
how on earth do you fit a steering rack?


My other car is a MINI!!!!
To be honest, I wouldn't change to a taller box myself. it'll just loose you acceleration.

The standard box in the A3 is good for 165mph at the top of 5th, I've had mine to about 6700rpm in 5th gear on the autobahns, which was 163 on a Garmin GPS, and indicated way off the clock.

There arn't many tracks where you'll see the happy side of 130 I wouldn't think. On the ring we're touching just over 140 at the fastest point. I imagine at a trackday where you can go full pelt down the main straight you'd be hitting 160


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Steering rack is pretty easy actually Finesse!

4 large bolts to drop the subframe down, 1 pinch bolt inside the car, 2 fluid connections, then 4 small bolts holding the rack to the subframe.

CHange the track control arms over, and bolt it all back up again. Took about 2 hours to do on the drive with axle stands


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Yea man, I'll be up your way about lunch time hopefully.

Come for a ride, and I'll remind you just how much quicker it is than you're S3 ;)


The Clar!! it mouves!!!
Nice job there mate, coming along nicely ;)


Looking for Boost!
Staff member
Yea man, I'll be up your way about lunch time hopefully.

Come for a ride, and I'll remind you just how much quicker it is than you're S3 ;)

I'm considering stripping out my S3 now! lol