False Start

Update by Alan Cesar to the Volkswagen Beetle TDi project car
Jun 4, 2013

Today was supposed to bee the day we tried out our fancy new rolling stock on our Volkswagen Beetle TDI project. Although the current stock Beetle TDI comes with 17-inch wheels, an 18-inch option is available on the gasoline version (and should be available soon on the fuel-sipping TDI as well). VW suggested we use this as a basis for our first upgrade and sent us a set of swanky factory 18-inch wheels, which we promptly shod with a set of 245/40R18 BFGoodrich Super Sport AS tires. Because of the multifaceted approach to this project, we wanted to increase performance without creating an obscene amount of rolling resistance, which wreaks havoc on fuel economy. The stock 215/55R17 low-resistance rubber was simply not up to the capabilities of the chassis, however.

So we split the difference a bit on our street setup. We went wider and more aggressive, but not all the way to a super-sticky ultra-performance tire. Although the Super Sport AS is rated as an all-season tire, one look at the aggressive tread pattern shows you it tilts a little toward the performance side of the equation. But with full-circumference grooves and multiple ribs, it still cuts down on rolling resistance compared to a super-high-performance-class tire. We’re hoping that the reduction in mileage is minimal, and we’re expecting a significant gain in performance.

Of course, when it comes to track tires, fuel economy takes a back seat to good old-fashioned traction, and that’s why we mounted up a set of TSW wheels with some 245/40R18 BFG g-Force R1s. We suppose they could also be considered all-season tires, if all the seasons were ass-kicking.

Unfortunately, our excitement upon raising the car and setting about our tasks was short-lived when we discovered factory wheel locks on the car–and found no key. A quick call to the VW dealership assured us that salvation was likely in stock, or no more than a day away at the special order desk, but they’d need the car in person to match it to one of their several dozen styles of lug nut keys. Sadly, that trip will have to wait a day or so.

The day wasn’t a total loss, though. We did manage to get the BFGoodrich decals applied to the car. And as anyone who knows can tell you, proper sticker application is worth at least a second a lap.

Get the best sports car content 8 times a year. Subscribe to Grassroots Motorsports now.
Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
View comments on the GRM forums
mistanfo UltraDork
6/4/13 10:38 a.m.

I often find the key in the spare tire well, hidden under another tool. Not saying it will work in your case, but it's not always in the proper spot.

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Dork
6/4/13 10:42 a.m.

You don't say...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/4/13 11:11 a.m.

And what did I suggest?

mistanfo UltraDork
6/4/13 2:31 p.m.

And has it been located?

Sponsored by



Our Preferred Partners