The 106 GTi as a track car

106 track carThe 106 GTi is an excellent base to use as a track car either just for the occasional trackday or all out seasons of racing. Parts are available very cheap from the likes of EuroCarParts or GSF for example. The sweet handling from the factory can be improved on with aftermarket modifications and you can end up with a serious weapon of a car, for not very much money.

The car

The first thing you need is the car itself. You want a solid motor with good service history. Check the engine has been well looked after with regular oil changes and the belts have been renewed. It is down to the individual whether the condition of the bodywork is a priority – often track enthusiasts would rather forgive dents etc and get a cheaper base car than pay over the odds for immaculate bodywork. You may be planning changing the suspension and upgrading the brakes so their condition may not be important to you. However if the suspension is worn it can be used to knock down the price freeing up funds for modifications.

Braking

Once you have your new 106 there are a few cheap upgrades that will make a world of difference on track; The main improvement needed for sustained use on track is a brake upgrade. Due to the lightweight nature of even a fully loaded 106, no ridiculous 8 pot calipers are needed here – A simple upgrade to a bigger caliper and disc from a larger peugeot model will do a very good job.
Common upgrades

These are available very cheap on ebay, or from the respective car forums.
A brake pad upgrade is essential to handle the higher temperatures on track. Compounds that are popular for track use include:

No brake upgrade is complete without appropriate brake fluid. A fluid with a high boiling point is essential on track to prevent the fluid boiling under hard use and leaving you with no brakes! Any Dot 5.1 fluid should be adequate for a light car like the GTi but if you’re really feeling flush, these fluids are considered the best in motorsport:

Interior

A fully welded roll cage and bucket seats is a very good idea if the car is going to be used exclusively on track. Bucket seats with harnesses prevent you moving around when cornering but it is essential to fit a rollcage if harnesses are being used. A fully welded in cage stiffens up the chassis and provides protection should the car hit a wall or dig in to a gravel trap and roll. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for a car still used on the road, as you are likely to hit your head on the cage without a helmet and it is tricky getting in and out.

An aftermarket steering wheel with a grippy suede or similar surface can be very useful to install for when your hands are sweaty on track.

Suspension modifications

A larger Rear Anti RollBar can be fitted to aid turn in and provide controllable lift-over oversteer.Springs/dampers/coilovers. Coilovers allow adjustability, very useful in a track car where finding the best setup for all situations is a job in itself. Coilovers are fitted to the front of the car only and can be adjusted for damping and height, well worth the extra expense. Adjustable top mounts allow you to give the car more negative camber and caster to allow the tyres more contact patch when cornering. Stiffer torsion bars can be fitted to the rear beam. Upgrading the front springs is a good idea but don’t forget the torsion bars should ideally be changed to match. This is not a nice job on many peugeots as often one side of the torsion bar is seized and removal is a very tricky and annoying job. This can often be done by a garage for £75, and allow you to lower the rear of the car at the same time.

Tyres and wheels

Lightweight 15″ wheels offer a reduction in unsprung weight, and allow fitment of cheap tyres. Semi slick tyres like the Toyo R888s provide excellent grip, even in wet weather. Lightweight wheels ideal for track include:

  • Team Dynamics 1.2
  • 205 1.9 alloys
  • Compomotive CXR
  • Speedline 2108

Engine upgrades
106 GTis gain a suprising amount of bhp with a Cold air filter – an enclosed high flow air filter with appropriate cold air ducting will help the engine breathe better.
Similarly a stainless steel exhaust together with removing the cat will gain a worthwhile amount. The car will rev harder and gain a little in horsepower. It is essential however not to go for too big a bore as back pressure helps scavenge exhaust gases from the engine, needed in an naturally aspirated engine, and a large bore will lose you power.
Supercharger – A Centrifugal supercharger like a Rotrex or Vortech charger gives a massive upgrade in power while maintaining drivability, essential in a front wheel drive car. The boost is linear unlike a turbo, and so this prevents wheelspin ruining the drivability. It gives the feeling of essentially doubling the engines capacity but leaves its driving characteristics intact. This is an expensive upgrade, but very ltitle on track would be able to touch a lightweight 106 with 450bhp/tonne, thats the same as a Ferrari Enzo!
These upgrades have the potential to turn your 106 into a real weapon on track, capable of sticking with and embaressing much more potent machinery, and a really exciting driver experience for very little money.

The GTi really is a capable tool on track, even from the factory but can be devastating with the right modifications. For not a lot of cash you can be keeping up with and even overtaking much more exotic machinery on track from BMW M3s to Skyline GTRs, for a fraction of the outlay.

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