KW Clubsport First Track Test

It was great to get back out on track for the first time since November and it was also a chance to experience the new KW Clubsport suspension properly for the first time.

On the road the set up is very good to drive, the car rides with a degree of comfort and the solid top mounts are fine to love with but the whole reason for fitting it to this car was specifically for its on track capabilities.

The previous set up with the B8 dampers/DAP Race springs was a great set up and worked well. With no damper adjustment I was able to run with the rear bar on a medium hard setting (position 3) and this gave good feel and balance. The KW Clubsport kit however is on a completely different level and a huge step up.

To begin with and to evaluate the new set up I began by running with the KW Clubsports with the rear bar backed off to the softest setting (position 1). Initially on the slightly damp track the back end feel a little loose and unpredictable. There was little confidence in rear end feel and grip levels felt uncertain. I stuck with it to see if increased tyre temperatures helped but after about 20 minutes felt that something needed to be done to improve things.

The KW Clubsport kit has rebound and compression adjustment on both front and rear dampers. Now with the rear bar fitted this gave less grip at the back end upon first test. With the damper adjustment available I could have altered the settings to dial back the grip with the bar fitted. But the bar adds weight, and if the car can be made to handle without the rear bar, then not only will the handling be better with the KW Clubsport kit, but the weight of the bar can be removed as well…. win win.

When KW developed the clubsport kit they did so on a standard VXR/OPC chassis without any aftermarket add-ons, and KW maintain the excellent handling can be achieved without a rear anti-roll bar. Knowing KW and the development that they put into their kits there would be no reason why they would not be correct.

So after the first session it was back into the pit garage to remove the rear bar, check the damper settings and head back out on track.

Immediately the whole car felt more controllable, the rear felt more positive and the handling, even on a slightly damp surface was fantastic. Over the course of the day on a drying track the new set up was brilliant. The KW Clubsports performed beyond all expectations. Corner speeds were much higher than with the previous set up. So the handling has been improved with the new KW Clubsport kit and the rear bar is no longer needed to balance the chassis meaning an additional weight saving over the previous set up by removing the bar.

Having driven a lot of suspension set ups on the Astra H I can confidently say that this has to be the best out there, especially for track day use.

So as far as suspension is concerned it has to be KW all the way; Clubsports for trackday cars and for road use KW Variant 1,2 or 3.

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Astra VXR Sprint.....

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