Project GD STI- Checking Out The Development of KW's New 3-Way Adjustable Clubsport Coilovers
By Mike Kojima
A few months ago we visited KW Suspensions' factory in Germany to learn about the development of their new 3-way adjustable Clubsport coilovers. We feel that the 3-way Clubsport is a pivotal product for KW. The 3-way Clubsport promises the performance and flexibility in tuning of expensive elite Motorsports only shocks, that are priced out of reach of most enthusiasts in a package that is much more affordable than custom uber dampers.
The 3-way Clubsport also has something the uber dampers don't have: KW's long term street daily driving durability. Most super expensive racing dampers are designed to work ultimately well and be lightweight. Durability under long term use is not an issue because race use products are serviced frequently. The 3-way Clubsports offer the performance without compromising streetability or long term durability.
We visited KW just as they were putting the finishing touches on the development of their 3-way Clubsport to learn about the product and to attend some of its final testing. We also brought home a prototype sample set to test on our own Project GD STI. What did we learn? Look inside and see!
|The first stop on our trip was the world famous Hockenheimring, home of the German GP every other year. We were seriously jet lagged as we flew straight from a grueling Formula D weekend straight to Germany. KW had already done a lot of the preliminary tuning of the 3-Way Clubsport on their 7 post shaker rig, their street handling loop and the autobahn prior to my arrival. Now it was time to do a track evaluation at racing speed. KW uses both Hockenhiem and Nurburgring for track testing. KW attended a track day at Hockenheim to get cheap track time just like we do. Just because it was a track day doesn't mean the KW crew was not prepared for serious shock tuning. They had brought a well organized crew and there well equipped race support van for this test.|
|The van has everything needed to revalve and repair shocks including a shock dyno. The van normally attends major races across Europe to help provide race support to KW equipped teams.|
|The test mule was this 997 GT2 RS. Although this is a fully registered street car, it is also a hell of a race car. A well known German VLN driver, I forget exactly who, was the test driver. The test was going to verify that the basic valving that worked well in street evaluations also worked well on the track. Let me tell you that German street conditions are more like American racing conditions! Germans drive fast. The Autobahn has no speed limit sections and there are many 2 lane twisty roads linking many towns. In Germany 70 year old grandmas can kick your ass in the twistys and it seems like everyone drives twice as fast as us everywhere.|
|KW's head Engineer Klaus Frank was in charge of the test. I respect Klaus because he is the guy that introduced me to yellow lenses in my glasses. Well actually he is one of the smartest guys I know and I was eager to see how his test methods and methodology compared to how I do things. Here Klaus checks his notes to verify the car's baseline settings before heading out on the track. Did I mention that I have serious car envy? There was some serious iron at this track day and believe it or not, this GT2 RS was just a typical run of the mill car. Our neighbors in the F1 pits were a bunch of rich Swiss bankers with Ferraris and an F1 style transporter with a big crew and a hot chick to make sandwiches and espresso. There was also some sort of euro popstar driving a KTM crossbow covered in fur with a Paris Hilton like look complete with an annoying little dog. Paparazzi were snapping her every move.|
|The F1 garages were way nicer that what we have at Willow Springs, Buttonwillow or even Cal Speedway! Look how neat and clean it all is. Klaus Frank was performing some last minute checks.|