The 10-second quarter mile facelift (8V.2) for RS3's and TTRS's is all the rage these days. It seems that they’re on every corner of the internet, popping up like Starbucks locations in suburbia. If you’re picking the facelift for its quick-route into the 10’s then you’re certainly not wrong. That being said, hopefully, we can save you a little grief and time along the journey.
Obviously, no matter what you do, your first step should be tuning. The RS3 and TTR pick up huge levels of power even after stage 1 tuning. This is especially true when higher octane fuels are employed. High octane fuels really help mask some of the stock hardware that becomes an issue at tuned power levels.
The first big piece of hardware you’ll need is an intercooler. Especially on pump gas, it’s critical to have good intake-air temps where the engine is much more knock sensitive. Although the factory intercooler does this, it’s typically for about 3 seconds of full throttle and then it quickly heat soaks. If you aren’t using high octane fuels, you really won't get a good quarter mile time using the stock intercooler.
The next step, especially if you're planning on running 104 octane or E85, is an intake. The intake and turbo inlet pipe are the difference between high 400's or low 500's WHP RS3 / TTRS, on good fuel.
The last piece to the 10’s puzzle is a good downpipe. Installing an aftermarket downpipe is critical for pump gas power. Better downpipes reduce back pressure and heat on the engine, which allows more ignition timing on pump fuel. They will also help the turbo spin a little faster, increasing power even on race fuel.
Once you've got your TTRS / RS3 tuned and bolt-ons installed, the most important part for drag racing is fuel. 91 / 93 AKI pump fuel is a really bad way to race whenever you’re using a high boost turbo engine. Although it's possible to run low 11's with 93 octanes, massive gains in speed are only possible with either 104 Octane unleaded fuel or E85 Ethanol. On the subject of fuel, these cars do have one little issue once they are laying down 10-second quarter mile passes. You must keep 1/3 to 1/2 a tank of fuel in the tank to ensure good fuel pick-up, especially past the 1/8th mile. Having a good amount of fuel in the tank can sometimes come into question, especially when trying to save weight. Don’t run too low or you could produce nasty fuel cuts, slow ET's and even lead to engine damage!
Tires and Wheels
Traction is another piece of the pie that you should consider. In order to get the 60-foot time down below 1.6 seconds and set a really nice time, you need sticky tires (even if you’re all-wheel drive). Plus, if track prep is not stellar at your local track, then drag radials are the ONLY way to get a good time. You'll need a set of 18" wheels that clear the large factory brakes. A good example is the Neuspeed RSe10, lightweight, good looking and proven to clear the big OE brakes. Wrap those with a set of Hoosier DR2 245/40/18 drag radials from Tire Rack and watch your ET's drop. Another little trick is a tweak to the way the factory Haldex AWD system functions. This quick trick costs nothing with a Ross-Tech VCDS cable. It's very simple: Go into the AWD module, go to adaptations, and find the one for wiring. Change it from ‘Normal’ to ‘Increased Traction.’ This will cause your all-wheel drive to kick in faster and more aggressively.
Get Rid of Extra Weight
The final piece of the pie for running some really impressive times is weight reduction. There are a few tenths of a second on the quarter mile available simply by pulling out the extra seats. The passenger seat weighs about 65 pounds, and the rear seats, especially the seat backs are quite heavy. If you want to go even further, the next step is installing a lightweight racing battery. Another 40 pounds or so can be saved there. You may want to add a disconnect for between runs as the RS3 is very power hungry. Finally, hardcore racers might replace the driver's seat with a lighter racing version, saving another 50 pounds or so. It's possible to take 300 pounds or so out of an RS3 in only a half an hour's work and of course, this yields huge dividends at the track.
Of course, much more is possible, but this article should give you an idea the fastest and most effective way to punch your RS3 well into the 10's. Our shop car uses most of the methods described and has been into the low 10's. Share with us your successes and failures modifying your RS3 in the comments!