Gavin Burr’s 430bhp Club­sport is a highly mod­i­fied ex­am­ple of the last raw Corsa D VXR…

Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS - WORDS Dan Furr PHOTOS Dan Sher­wood

Gavin Burr’s 430bhp Corsa VXR Club­sport.

If ever there was a Vaux­hall with a name rep­re­sent­ing a state­ment of in­tent, the Corsa D VXR Club­sport is it. Pre­sented as a short-lived re­place­ment for the Nür­bur­gring-badged su­per­mini prior to the ar­rival of the Corsa E, the Club­sport car­ried over many of its pre­de­ces­sor’s finer qual­i­ties (Bil­stein B8 dampers, Eibach springs, a Drexler Mo­tor­sports multi-plate lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial, Brembo stop­pers, a tweaked ECU and bum-hug­ging Re­caros), but added ex­tra sauce with a Re­mus ex­haust and that Porsche-mir­ror­ing moniker. There was only one prob­lem: the price. De­spite be­ing a ‘last hur­rah’ for the Corsa D VXR, the Club­sport at­tracted a premium of al­most £4,400 over sim­i­lar of­fer­ings from ri­val man­u­fac­tur­ers, mean­ing only a ded­i­cated few can lay claim to walk­ing out of a main dealer show­room with the keys to the ‘Burg’s younger brother.

Gavin Burr is one such Grif­fin nut. “I owned a Sil­ver Light­ning Corsa D VXR for a few years,” he tells us. “I was cap­ti­vated by the model af­ter spend­ing time in a mate’s Ar­den Blue ex­am­ple. I tuned the sil­ver car to Stage 2, but I fig­ured a fac­tory fresh Corsa D VXR Nür­bur­gring would pro­vide me with an in­stant up­grade in terms of per­for­mance and spec­i­fi­ca­tion, which is why I walked into my lo­cal Vaux­hall dealer with ev­ery in­ten­tion of hand­ing over my sav­ings in ex­change for my name ap­pear­ing on the log­book of a brand new ‘Burg.”

al­tered state

His plans changed when he learned about the avail­abil­ity of the VXR Club­sport. “I liked the idea of own­ing a more ex­clu­sive sporty Corsa. I ended up tak­ing all the tun­ing parts off my sil­ver VXR and part-ex­chang­ing it for the As­teroid Grey Club­sport I own to­day,” he re­calls. His plan to build upon the plat­form of power and han­dling

af­forded to the model at the fac­tory was plain to see from day one. “As soon as I col­lected the car, I equipped it with the Airtec in­ter­cooler, Piper ex­haust, air fil­ter and JS Per­for­mance sil­i­cone hoses I’d re­moved from my sil­ver VXR. This was al­ways go­ing to be a car sub­ject to ex­ten­sive mod­i­fi­ca­tion!” he laughs.

Gavin says the Club­sport’s lim­it­ed­slip­per made the big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween the feel of the stan­dard VXR and his new ride, but a Stage 2 map courtesy of SM Tun­ing also con­trib­uted to en­hanced poke, al­beit only to the 230bhp mark. “I spoke to Gary Con­way at VXR tun­ing spe­cial­ist, GCAP Per­for­mance, about my de­sire to in­vest in a K06 tur­bocharger setup,” con­tin­ues the Audi tech­ni­cian from Lin­colnshire. “I told him I wanted my car to be chuck­ing out 450bhp. It was at that point he sug­gested I saved my pen­nies for a Gar­rett bhp booster sup­ported by a raft of Nortech Per­for­mance equip­ment.” That’s pre­cisely what he did, re­sult­ing in the blueprinted GCAP build now pow­er­ing the grey Grif­fin.

go­ing strong

At the heart of the beast lies the orig­i­nal A16LER engine, now kit­ted- out with Wöss­ner pis­tons, PEC rods, ARP fas­ten­ers and a mod­i­fied cylin­der head loaded with GCAP fast-road camshafts and Piper val­ve­train kit. Fol­low­ing Gary’s ad­vice, Gavin forked out for a Gar­rett GTX2871R, which was promptly up­graded with a .72 A/R hous­ing. A Tur­bosmart blow-off valve and ex­ter­nal waste­gate were added to the mix, as was the sug­gested Nortech gear. “There’s a tubu­lar ex­haust man­i­fold, a down­pipe, in­duc­tion sys­tem, ra­di­a­tor fan shroud, air-con­di­tion­ing delete kit and fluid trans­fer pipes, all from Nortech,” smiles Gavin.

The car’s fuel sys­tem was up­graded with a Quan­tum high-flow pump, 615cc in­jec­tors and a Courte­nay Sport cus­tom map writ­ten to the stan­dard ECU. “The avail­abil­ity of the Courte­nay team on a Satur­day made it con­ve­nient for me to drop-off and col­lect the car out­side of my

“he sug­gested i saved mY pen­nies For a gar­rett bhp booster and nortech eQuip­ment”

work­ing hours,” rea­sons Gavin. The re­sult­ing 430bhp and 313lb/ft torque proved the Norfolk-based Vaux­hall tuner was a good choice when it came to re­con­fig­ur­ing the

Club­sport’s elec­tronic brain, even if the power fig­ure wasn’t as high as had been hoped for. “Ide­ally, I was look­ing for 450bhp, but it was ap­par­ent twenty ponies less would de­liver pretty much the same sense of power with­out forc­ing the car to lose any of its driveability.”

wild west

The dif­fer­ence be­tween 430bhp and 450bhp may be barely no­tice­able to most when driv­ing on the pub­lic high­way, but the jump from Gavin’s sil­ver VXR’s Stage 2 out­put to his Club­sport’s new­found lease of life felt noth­ing short of amaz­ing. “I drove close to a hun­dred miles to my home from Courte­nay Sport’s North Wal­sham work­shop,” he con­tin­ues. “I can say with­out doubt it’s the best hun­dred miles I’ve ever driven. The car was an an­i­mal!” Height­ened power is trans­ferred to the road via an M32 six-speed gearbox en­hanced by a Helix fly­wheel and six-pad­dle clutch, but these aren’t the only hid­den trea­sures present. Looks closely and you’ll spot a KS­port eight- pis­ton brake kit, plus the wel­come ap­point­ment of a DNA Rac­ing ad­justable rear anti-roll bar.

The stan­dard rear anti-roll bar on the Corsa D VXR range is known to be soft, a less than de­sir­able char­ac­ter­is­tic ex­ag­ger­at­ing un­der­steer. Pre­sented by GCAP, DNA Rac­ing’s well-priced ad­justable an­tiroll bar kit in­creases the rigid­ity of the Corsa D, Corsa E or ADAM, re­sult­ing in a more planted Grif­fin with sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced body roll. Be­ing ad­justable, the DNA up­grade al­lows Gavin to dial-in a lesser or greater de­gree of over­steer to suit his driv­ing style or track con­di­tion – ideal for when he’s bomb­ing around his lo­cal cir­cuit, Cad­well Park.

“Through­out the project, I’ve been happy to leave my Corsa in Gary’s ca­pa­ble hands with an in­struc­tion out­lin­ing how I want the car to be­have. I’ve al­ways been pleased with his sug­ges­tions, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of the DNA anti-roll bar, which works well with the car’s Bil­stein dampers and Eibach springs.” Not that he’s con­tent to stop push­ing for even greater lev­els

“the dna rac­ing anti-roll bar works well with the car’s bil­stein dampers”

of per­for­mance. “I was us­ing the Club­sport as my daily driver,” he ex­plains, “I’ve re­cently bought a Volk­swa­gen Golf to smoke around in so that fur­ther de­vel­op­ment work can take place on my VXR. Aware that I’m sac­ri­fic­ing its abil­ity to be­have in a civilised man­ner when I’m com­mut­ing to work, I’ve told Gary I want to hit the 500bhp mark. I also want to ex­pe­ri­ence more torque. GCAP al­ways builds with safe, re­li­able power in mind, which is why it’s likely my re­quests will be bol­stered by the pur­chase of a Gar­rett G-Series tur­bocharger and higher ca­pac­ity fuel in­jec­tors.”

Liv­ing up to its name, this cool Club­sport is its mas­ter’s week­end track toy. The model was so well pre­sented from fac­tory that he deemed only mi­nor ex­te­rior al­ter­ations nec­es­sary. There’s those car­bon-fi­bre bon­net vents (fit­ted by Mr Bon­net Vent him­self, Nick Wiley) al­low­ing trapped hot engine bay air to es­cape, while OPC fog light sur­rounds pro­mote ex­tra air­flow through lamp dele­tion. It’s a sim­i­lar story in­side the car, where the ab­sence of rear seat­ing gets rid of un­nec­es­sary weight in an ef­fec­tive move to in­crease over­all pace. The lack of back-end fur­ni­ture re­veals an in­jec­tion of red brought about by an En­hance Per­for­mance strut bar, while a smat­ter­ing of dash-mounted gauges keep an eye on engine op­er­at­ing con­di­tions.

De­spite be­ing crit­i­cised when new for its stag­ger­ing price point, the Club­sport has gone on to be­come re­garded as the most de­sir­able of­fer­ing in the Corsa D VXR range. Sure, a Nür­bur­gring is eas­ier to come by and is avail­able to buy in wider se­lec­tion of colours (Club­sports were only fin­ished in As­teroid Grey, Car­bon Flash or Glacier White), and yes, in stan­dard trim, there’s lit­tle to dif­fer­en­ti­ate a ‘Burg from a Club­sport other than the newer Corsa’s branded tai­lored floor mats, model-spe­cific sill kick-plates and Re­mus ex­haust pipework, but if you’re the kind of Corsa fan in­ter­ested in buy­ing a highly mod­i­fi­able, track-fo­cused VXR of­fer­ing a de­gree of ex­clu­siv­ity, then look no fur­ther than this last-of-the­line speed ma­chine. Just be sure to snap one up be­fore ev­ery­one else cot­tons on to the idea!

Gcap’s Gary con­way show­ing off the newly fit­ted Dna rac­ing ad­justable anti-roll bar

Bon­net vents help hot air to es­cape from tightly packed engine bay GAVIN JOB Tech­ni­cian BURR at an Audi sales and ser­vice spe­cial­ist FIRST VAUX­HALL/OPEL Sil­ver Light­ning Corsa D VXR FAVOURITE VAUX­HALL Lo­tus Carl­ton BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CORSA VXR CLUB­SPORT The screamer pipe is noth­ing short of may­hem un­leashed! WORST THING ABOUT YOUR CORSA VXR CLUB­SPORT The end­less sup­ply of fuel OWNER

The corsa D VXr’s in­te­rior still feels fresh many years af­ter it was first re­vealed

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