The latest project car to leave the HPA workshop is destined for one of the most demanding endurance races on the continent: the Cannonball One Lap of America. This nine day event sees drivers traverse nearly 4000 miles and compete on nine tracks in a true testament to reliability, durability, and versatility.
The client brought in his 2004 TDI New Beetle, which won the Alternative Fuel class in last year’s event, and asked HPA to transform it into a top 5 contender.
After completely gutting the chassis and ditching the diesel powerplant, a complete 4-Motion all wheel drive system was grafted in place and mated to a 3.2L V6 European RSI motor equipped with our Stage 2R twin Ball Bearing based turbochargers. The lengthened, hardened, gear set coupled with sinter metal clutch, Quaife differential, and Haldex performance controller, rounds out the drivetrain upgrades. This comprehensive conversion puts down an impressive 483 ft/lbs of torque to the ground at only 4800 rpm with a smooth and steady thrust.
Further preparing the car for the grueling event, a custom roll cage was designed to meet with the criteria of maximizing interior cabin space for the comfort of driver and co-pilot. KW 3-way adjustable race suspension was dialed in for ultimate handling coupled with superior ride quality and massive 355mm 8-piston brakes were hung. A Stack steering wheel display was integrated into the sporty R32 steering wheel then a thermally actuated fire suppression system was tucked inside the cockpit and engine compartment for further enhanced safety.
To give the happy go lucky Beetle body a more aggressive stance and aerodynamic attitude, a genuine RSI wide body kit was installed and 18x9” VW Motorsport wheels wrapped in 255/35 Michelin tires were tucked underneath.
The easy to modulate power and stable drivability of the finished product couple to create a deceivingly easygoing sensation; until you glance down at the speedometer!
The build process begins with the 4motion conversion ensuring that the platform can provide the grip necessary to harness the 483 ft/lbs of torque our HPA twin turbo system will infuse in to the 3.2L engine. This is a comprehensive process that begins with taking the stock vehicle down to the bare metal to expose the countless spot welds. These welds are meticulously and carefully removed from the vehicle so the factory floor pan can be removed without any ill effect. From this point a factory new euro 4motion floor pan is fitted in place and thorough measurements completed before the floor and support rails can be lifted in to place and welded into the project vehicle. The final product is a testament to the expertise and experience of our HPA technicians who ensure that this process is completed with better than factory fit and finish. The perfection of this conversion is paramount to ensure the car handles and performs as it should.
HPA has built its name around our twin turbo conversions and this client’s request for a vehicle that could withstand the brutal punishment of an endurance race provided the perfect opportunity for HPA to showcase the reliability that can be achieved even when the power levels being produced verge on exotic. The performance in this Beetle is second to none. The twin turbo system provides seamless, linear power delivery making it a joy to drive on the street, but more importantly for this application, it is a fine tuned instrument with potential that can only be realized on the race track. From the NX halo system that ensures frigid intercooler temperatures to aid the twin turbo system in maximizing power delivery, to the 8 piston, 365mm brakes that haul this beast down from racing velocity, to the 3 way adjustable KW racing suspension that allows ride comfort combined with knife edge handling prowess, nothing has been overlooked in this build
Interior and Styling upgrades
Going fast is what it is all about, but is it really worth it if you can’t look good while doing it? Fortunately this project was a case of form taking shape through the necessity of function. From the aggressive stance of the RSI body work covering steamroller wide 18x9 wheels, a massive functional wing, and a carbon fiber hood kept in place with racing hood pins, the exterior of the Beetle certainly looks the part. On the interior custom carbon fiber seats with Sparco belts and Stack instrumentation with Pioneer navigation are all enveloped in a 6point roll cage that has been custom built to hug the interior cabin. The Cannonball Beetle is truly a testament to the HPA’s commitment to building unprecedented vehicles and we wish our client the best as he takes on the One Lap.