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10th Apr 2020


With project cars there is always a plan that almost immediately goes out the window. Our plan was straightforward. Buy a Golf R, put a big turbo on it and go really fast. Well, that’s not quite what’s happened (so far).

A shopping list of parts was already decided, before the right car was ever sourced. A fairly typical Stage 3 build of off the shelf parts, a big turbo, intercooler, exhaust but with one crucial difference. To have that edge, to be faster than everyone else, you need to look outside the norm, at what’s going on elsewhere. Identify the secret sauce. And, in that case, there was only one answer.


Ethanol is different, this is something that almost no one had successfully implemented on this platform. New fuel pumps and injectors would be needed, but the calibration strategy is unknown. Something we had to test and learn from scratch. A Stage Two E85 calibration was developed in order to understand the requirements of ethanol and understand the performance advantage that could be gained, simply from changing the fuel.

The dyno results were remarkable, with 455bhp and nearly 500lbft, it was clear that there was a benefit to exploring the E85 option. Now, this was never intended as anything other than a learning exercise, an explorative study. But what enthusiast could have a car like that in front of them without driving it? Not us. One test drive, just a little a couple of Dragy runs, it couldn’t hurt, could it?

First quarter? 11.09. First 100-200? 8.02. That’s where the plan got derailed. A bit of googling told us that the stock turbo world record was 10.86 and that was on a drag strip with a prepped surface and a fully stripped car. We were doing 11.09 on a damp Mexican backroad with a full interior, 19-inch wheels and an empty can of E85 in the boot. A new target had been identified.

Back to the dyno. We knew that there was no more power available, we had already achieved Maximum Brake Torque (the point where additional ignition advance does not give more power), so it was a question of refinement, tiny adjustments designed to get the best out of every rpm, optimise every gearchange and perfect the launch.

With these tweaks made and the software optimised some more testing was required. Swapping to 18-inch wheels and waiting for some dry weather got us a better result, a 10 second quarter mile (the first in the UK) and an astounding 7.48 100-200 but that’s not quite where we wanted to be. The goal after all is a world record, that is the only acceptable result.

As things stand, we top the leaderboard of UK Stage 2 Golf R Dragy times by quite a margin, 3 tenths in the quarter and a staggering 1.1 seconds in the 100-200kmh sprint.

Unfortunately, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to development and testing for the immediate future, once the lockdown is over and the tracks reopen we will be there to set a new world record. And then we’ll get back to the original plan.

Ecotune Stage 2 E85 is a development product, this software calibration and fuelling upgrade package will be available worldwide shortly.

Full specification of Ecotune Test car:

2016 VW Golf R (three door, non-sunroof)

Stock IS38

Ecotune E85 Fuelling Solution

Ecotune E85 Engine Software

APR Intercooler <link

APR Catback Exhaust <link

Scorpion Downpipe <link

Racingline R600 <link

Racingline DSG Oil cooler <link

TVS Stage 3 Gearbox software <link

Team Dynamics Prorace 1.2 18-inch wheels (Uniroyal Rainsport 3 tyres)

APR Flowformed 19-inch wheels (Michelin Pilotsport 4s tyres)

Contact & Phone Orders

Ecotune UK Ltd.
Unit 10, 36 Dalziel Road,
Hillington Park Industrial Estate,
G52 4NN
Call us: 0141 882 4669

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