September 26, 2022

Whenever you’re tall, spherical and knocking on for substantial rugby participant stature, what higher automobile to make an animal than a modified VW Polo GTI 9N3?

Function from Efficiency VW journal. Phrases: James Wallace   Pictures: Ross Delaney.

Just a few weeks again we have been watching an episode of Police Interceptors the place a very smug officer was belittling a Ford Fiesta ST and bigging up the prevalence of his Octavia VRS, “As if that was ever going to outrun our VRS,” he mentioned in a very haughty and smug approach.

A part of us was considering, you’re blooming fortunate it doesn’t have a hybrid turbo, remap and an intercooler bolted to it otherwise you wouldn’t have seen which approach it went. That very same sense of knocking automobiles primarily based upon dimension is one thing Jack Hills, an HGV driver from Northern Eire, is aware of all about.

Little automobiles with huge energy have at all times been an intoxicating recipe, however a modified VW Polo GTI with over 300 horsepower, now that’s a supermini certainly. For Jack, from Omagh in Northern Eire, his Olop journey started again when he was simply 18-years-old.

“I purchased the automobile from my brother, Jayme, who had upgraded to a Leon FR, it was kind of my 18th birthday current with a little bit assist from my dad that I needed to payback over a couple of months – it was fairly a critical automobile for a comparatively new driver,” Jack advised us. Shortly afterwards Jack joined the military and started working for the Mechanical Transport Platoon as an engineer and mechanic, so throughout his down time he’d come again dwelling to Eire and begin tinkering together with his Flash Purple VW Polo GTI with some assist from his older Bro, “Jayme is guilty totally for my modifying of the automobile and it began out with a reasonably harmless stage 1 Revo remap that noticed it comfortably nudge over 200hp with the K03s AUM motor onboard.”

Naturally, Jack did what any 19-year-old with a remapped sizzling hatch would do, he drove it, “like a dick”, hooning round in all places together with his foot welded to the carpet at each alternative.  As time ticked by, and his expertise on the spanners started to tackle new ranges of prowess, he began delving additional into the 20vt rabbit gap, becoming a member of 5 valve per cylinder geeks on Fb, signing as much as Polo boards and sussing out what can be required to really unleash the beast inside. When a visit to the drag strip noticed him internet a 15.05 second in the future, it was Jack’s eureka second.

Drive by shot of modified VW polo gti

“I knew straightaway the path the automobile ought to take at that time, it needed to be monitor and motorsport targeted.” With assist from his brother, who because it occurs has additionally constructed a basic Mini with a BMW K1100 engine onboard with Jack’s assist, issues began to escalate, quickly. “It was important that it remained my day by day driver as nicely, however I cherished the wee factor that a lot that I used to be fearful about conserving it anyplace round London in case one thing malicious occurred to it, so it remained at my people,” beams Jack.

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Earlier than the ability on the modified VW Polo GTI might actually take a hike although, dynamics have been sorted with a set of BC Racing V1 coilovers, H&R uprated rear anti roll bar and a few Mk5 Polo entrance prime mounts with CM Camber plates which permit for as much as -2 levels of destructive dial in, “They’re a swine to suit although as it’s a must to lower out the strut mount prime part and weld the Mk5 platforms into place, it’s no five-minute job.

In the meantime stopping energy is amplified by matching 323mm Cupra FR discs with the corresponding Brembo 4 pot calipers, whereas out again 312mm EBC discs present a little bit additional leverage, “Even with 200hp it felt like I used to be taking the piss with the manufacturing facility brakes, so with huge plans in retailer, sorting the chassis was important.”

Brembo brakes with OZ Wheels on modified VW Polo GTI

As a steadily evolving venture over time every part of the construct has been tackled methodically utilizing the perfect elements wherever attainable with no corners lower. “It was after I was despatched to Africa on an train and I tore some ligaments in my foot that issues actually began occurring.” With time on his fingers to ponder life, Jack determined to suit an Airtec twin cross entrance mount intercooler, and from there issues actually began to circulate.

Being a self-confessed, “Lanky and spherical fellow,” Jack determined that ditching the rear seat and making his personal stable facet mounts for the Corbeau Membership Sport pews was important, “We managed to manufacture them as low down and as far again within the cab as attainable, however individuals nonetheless snicker at me after I’m climbing out of the automobile as a result of it’s like a large is escaping.

Factor is, you’ll be able to’t assist the automobiles you fall in love with, proper?” retorts Jack. Measurement points to at least one facet, he additionally opted for a 02jb fast shift setup from Coolerworx for a a lot tighter and exact motion between cogs, ”It’s loopy how rather more partaking the drive is with the CW lever particularly as my brother had already swapped within the 02jB 5 velocity ‘field when he owned the automobile.”

Engine shot on modified VW polo gti

With the constructing blocks of one thing very particular coming collectively for Jack, he was fortunate sufficient to win a work-based lottery prize and that’s when he secured the Cup Version bodykit and proceeded to bolt the entrance and rear bumpers on with the Votex facet skirts together with the 25mm wider SRS Tech entrance wings, “It seemed a little bit bit like a high-speed, limited-edition Harlequin for some time,” laughed Jack.


Having dedicated his modified VW Polo GTI engine plans into movement, and saved for some time earlier than forking out on a Seashore Buggy Turbos K300 K03s hybrid turbo because the catalyst for the construct, issues have been powering up, “I used to be so naïve after I purchased the turbo, I assumed it will simply bolt on, map it and make the ability, I didn’t fairly realise what number of supporting mods I’d have to get the perfect from it while making dependable energy,” mused Jack pragmatically, the spec record now studying like a who’s who of 20vt tuning greats.

Hell, the underside finish has even been on the receiving finish of a wholesome purchasing record courtesy of some Professional Race rods, ARP rod bolts and ACL bearings throughout a refresh, “I spent a yr in whole stockpiling the entire elements I wanted to do the engine construct so it might all go collectively and get the automobile again on the highway fast as attainable.”

On the entrance of the modified VW Polo GTI, simply barely squeezed in behind the expertly trimmed Cup bumper rests the Airtec intercooler, “I needed it to stay beneath the radar, simply as any tidy GTI would, so there’s a component of shock to the efficiency except you notice the edges or brakes.” That very same ethos extends all through this automobile with hardly something misplaced or giving any trace of the urge beneath the hood. Beginning with an ITG foam filter and three-inch turbo consumption pipe, issues are swiftly compressed by the BBT hybrid that options each uprated compressor and turbine wheels, machined core and an uprated 15PSI actuator.

With a Badger 5 ported forged turbo manifold and the expertly reworked internals in such a small body it hits enhance rapidly from round 2500rpm however holds on robust all the best way to the redline because of the circulate traits of this very neat little package deal. Joined by 550cc Bosch injectors, an Built-in Engineering consumption manifold, injector rail and gas stress reg it is a automobile able to delivering much more, Jack nearly over engineering every little thing prepared for a good larger turbo at a later date.

Bucket seat in interior on modified VW polo GTI

The engine work was carried out by a neighborhood storage near Jack as he was away in London, however at each step of the journey he’s been concerned with the spanner twiddling. Waste gases now hearth out of the rear courtesy of a full 3” turbo again Milltek non res system, whereas the VW ECU was reside mapped by Dave Howlett, who’s considered the 1.8T Polo whisperer on-line, after Jack delivered the modified VW Polo GTI to him for a couple of weeks throughout lockdown. “He’s a 23-year-old 1.8T nut who appears to make use of his Mum’s outdated Home windows 98 laptop computer to work his magic.


Initially I despatched him the ECU for a base map simply to get it operating, however afterward I drove over to Macclesfield and left it with him for a couple of weeks proper in the midst of lockdown. Preliminary runs noticed in extra of 330hp, however Dave determined to drag some timing out and settled on a closing determine of 314hp with faultless drivability, baggage of low-down torque and epic energy supply when required.”

“It’s pretty savage,” says Jack, “And at all times places a smile on my face, however traction may be a problem.” That’s when the gearbox acquired an excellent seeing to, with a Wavetrac limited-slip differential, VR6 clutch and G60 flywheel to attempt to stick that ample energy on the ground.  A set of semi-slick 205/45 Nankang NS-2Rs now wrap round 8×17-inch OZ Ultraleggera rims which go away little doubt in your thoughts as to the monitor day and drag strip aspirations of this distinctive and exceptionally spirited little automobile. There are not any holes on this construct, it’s a Polo with energy and make no mistake.

Sadly, many of the Irish drag strips and motorsport venues have been shut since Jack acquired it on the highway, so he’s but to check the fruits of his labour, however relaxation assured the gnarly B-roads of Northern Eire have nicely and actually been battered into submission. One factor is for positive, Jack’s Potato Bread engineering crew definitely have loads to reply for since they visited Version 38 a couple of years in the past.

Tuned Polo GTI photos

Tech Spec: Modified VW Polo GTI


1781cc (AUM) 20vT, ITG air filter, 3” consumption pipe, BBT K300 hybrid turbo, 550cc Bosch injectors, ARP rod bolts, ACL race bearings, Professional Race H beam rods, Airtec twin cross FMIC, IE consumption manifold, IE gas rail and FPR housing, Deutschwerks DW65 265LPH gas pump, 3” turbo again Milltek exhaust, Badger 5 ported forged exhaust manifold, R8 coilpacks, Forge coilpack cowl, Forge N249 clean, Forge DV. Gearbox: 02jb 5 velocity, VR6 clutch, G60 flywheel, Wavetrac LSD, Coolerwerks quick shift lever, Quaife gearknob. Energy – 314hp and 300ft.lbs of torque


8×17” (ET48) OZ Ultraleggera, 205/45 Nankang NS-2R semi slicks, Vibratechnic engine mounts, BC Racing V1 coilovers, Mk5 Polo prime mounts, CM Camber plates, Cupra Brembo 4 piston calipers, 323mm two-piece discs, H&R rear anti roll bar, 312mm rear discs


Full repaint in Flash Purple, Polo Cup version entrance and rear bumpers, Votex facet skirts, SRS Tech 25mm wider entrance wings


Corbeau Membership Sport seats, customized low profile facet mounts, Momo wheel and boss equipment, rear strut brace bar, Coolerwerks shifter tower