Project Audi S3 : The Ultimate Combination Of Show And Track

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The story of the Project Audi S3 begins with Brian Mccauley, a 12 year Audi Brand Specialist at Audi North Scottsdale. Since the 90’s Brian has been a part of the European car scene and has had cars such as the Ipanema Brown Metallic Bagged MK3 VW Cabriolet build by Parts Score, the Fourtitude.com 2005 widebody 8P Audi A3 SEMA show car, Big Turbo 2008 8P Audi A3, and VF Supercharged MKIV VW R32. Before we get into how Brian came to build the Project Audi S3 we must go into a little bit of history of the Audi A3’s platform.

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Brian’s beautiful Ipanema Brown Metallic Bagged MK3 VW Cabriolet build by Parts Score.

The Audi S3 has been around since 1999 and first started under the chassis code 8L. Audi decided to not bring the 8L A3 or S3 to the USA, however starting in 2005 Audi of America introduced the second generation 8P A3 Sportback to the USA. This platform debuted many new technologies for Audi such as combining turbocharging and direct injection as well one of the first introductions of the DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) to the USA. Audi still held out in bringing the 8P S3 to the USA and kept the turbocharged AWD sportback to themselves in Europe. In 2011 Audi cranked the knob to insanity and released the RS3, a 2.5L Turbocharged AWD 5 cyl insane hatchback, sadly Audi again held out and decided to not release the RS3 in the USA. Fast forward to 2015 and VW Group introduces the new MQB platform which the 8V Audi A3 and Audi S3 are based on. This new platform refined many of the technologies that Audi introduced with the previous model A3 and S3.

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The Airlift Performance Series front strut installed in the Audi S3.

As a past A3 owner, Brian had to be the first one to both purchase and modify the 8V A3. Here at Parts Score we played an integral role in helping Brian achieve his goals in building and by the time the Fourtitude Project 2015 A3 was completed it was the first 8V A3 in the USA to be on Air Lift Performance air suspension. We didn’t stop there and we installed GIAC Performance Software, TTRS Brakes, one-off three-piece Fifteen52 wheels, Billy Boat exhaust, and many exterior carbon fiber parts to the A3. In addition to installing all of the components, Parts Score partnered with Air Lift Performance and assisted in development of the Performance Series struts.

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Pictured here is the Project A3 Sedan. The Air Suspension, TTRS brakes, and wheels used to build this A3 were transferred over to the S3.

Fast forward again to June 2015, one year after the 8V Audi A3 was introduced in the USA, Audi stayed true to their word and finally released the Audi S3 for the US to play with. Brian was one of the first in the country to pick one up, a Sepang Blue Audi S3. In the one week period of time from Wuste 2015 and Fastivus 2015 many of the performance parts needed to be swapped over from the A3 to the S3 so it could have its first showing at Fastivus.

Once the summer show season had been completed it was time to prepare the S3 for the track. Arizona track day season operates at a 180 from the east coast due to our weather, with most of the events taking place in the fall, winter, and spring. The S3 received the full suite of CTS Turbo boost piping, an upgraded intercooler from HG Motorsports, an Emmanuele Design rear sway bar and 034 Motorsports rear subframe inserts. Also installed for the track were Black Forest Industries transmission mount inserts and motor mounts. And thanks to the GIAC Stage 2 ECU and TCU tune the power level on the S3 approaches 400HP and 400TQ! On the track the Air Lift Performance Series Air Suspension combined with the other chassis modifications gives a very predictable handling setup. The S3 is also a winner at the drag strip too, with Quattro AWD its able to put down ludicrously fast 0-60 times, 3.53s to 60 and 12.385 at 110.13mph in the 1/4 mile.

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At Arizona Motorsports Park for the S3’s first track Day. Prior to the track day we installed a new set of Hawk Brake Pads for the TTRS Brakes.

3.53 0-60 is approaching the territory of many recent supercars, and thanks to the DSG transmission the S3 can do repeated launches without trouble!

A serious winner at the strip, the S3’s time is on the right of the slip.


In the year since being built the S3 has toured the show scene in the southwest and has been one of our top cars, both on the racetrack and on the show scene. With top awards at Hot Import Nights, Wuste, Import Face Off, and Occupy Big Bear this goes to show how impressive the S3 is!

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Air’d out at Hot Import Nights 2016!

Now in November 2016, just over one year later after building the S3, Brian has decided to part ways with the car, and for good reason. This past week he purchased a Black on Black 2009 Audi R8 V8 6-Speed Manual. The mid-engined V8 sports car will be the next project Brian brings to us and he already has some modifications planned out.

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Up on the rack at the shop!

Parts Score provided and installed all of the performance parts and upgrades to the S3 and many of these parts also work with the A3 that it shares a platform with. If you have an 8V A3 or S3 and are looking to do some or all of these modifications take a look at the list below and then email us at contact@partscore.com to order parts and schedule your appointment.

Project Audi S3 Modifications:

  • G.I.A.C. Stage 2 Performance Software
  • G.I.A.C. DSG Transmission Performance Software
  • Air Lift Performance Series Air Suspension
  • Air Lift Performance V2 Management
  • Billy Boat Turbo Back Exhaust
  • CTS Turbo Intake Kit
  • CTS Turbo High Flow Turbo Inlet Pipe
  • CTS Turbo Outlet Pipe Kit
  • CTS Turbo Inlet Pipe Kit
  • CTS Turbo Blow Off Valve
  • CTS Turbo Lightweight Crank Pulley Kit
  • HF Series Front Mount Intercooler
  • TTRS Front Brakes with HAWK HPS Pads
  • Emmanuele Design Rear Sway Bar
  • 034 Motorsports Rear Subframe Inserts
  • Black Forest Industries Transmission Dog Bone Insert and Motor Mounts
  • P3Cars Digital Vent Gauge
  • Emmanuele Design RS3 Grill with Quattro Lettering
  • Fifteen52 Touren SC Wheels in 19×9 Square ET42 (Show Setup)
  • Fifteen52 Turbomac Wheels in 18×9 Square ET 45 (Track Setup)
  • Toyo Tires R888 (Track Setup)
  • Toyo Tires Proxes T1 Sport (Show Setup)

Below is a selection of photos from the Project S3 during the build, at the track, and at many shows it won.

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The full Air Lift Performance Series and Airlift Performance V2 Management prior to installation in the S3.

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Pictured is the Air Lift Performance V2 Management Air Manifold

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Closeup pictured here of the rear bag and shock installed with the new AirLift rear control arm.

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Here is the S3 getting its GIAC Stage 2 flash tune after the air suspension was installed. Having a constant power source is key to the tune being successful.

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The RS3 Grill with Quattro Lettering adds an aggressive touch to the S3. The silver surround stands out and provides a nice contrast from the black grill to the Sepang Blue paint.

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CTS Turbo Boost Piping combined with Emmanuele Design Rear Sway Bar and 034 Motorsports Rear Subframe Inserts will assist the S3 produce more power and handle better on the track.

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Closeup of the CTS Turbo Boost Piping installed on the S3’s 2.0 TFSI engine.

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Closeup of the Emmanuele Design Rear Sway Bar End Links prior to installation

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Aired out at Big Bear Lake for the OccupyBigBear 2016 car show.

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Aired out in the forest near Big Bear Lake for a photoshoot with Fifteen52.

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Meaty racecar stance with the Fifteen52 Turbomac wheels and Toyo R888 Track Spec Tires.