Langley BC CANADA, July 12, 2015 – Continuing their quest with their two DSG-equipped Jettas, the HPA team landed in Toronto for Round 2 of the PWC Touring Car Championship. Morning testing went extremely well. Altenburg’s Jetta was on rails and running in the top pack and Welch’s progressively gained ground as small adjustments were made during early time on the track.

It was a challenging start for the HPA team, with Altenburg and car #15 dropping out a piston around turn 4 in the practice round, which meant a bittersweet end to a long haul out to Toronto. Having to park Altenburg’s car #15 was a disappointment.

It looked like something from a Back To The Future sequel with the track lit up in flames. Here is what happens when you lose your engine oil through a hole in the block at High RPM and speed!

The team spent the majority of that evening to have the car cleaned back up. The new power plant was installed in the AM and ready to go and optimism remained high before taking to the grid for race 1 the next day.

With a positive attitude and drive to win, both cars went hard the next morning only to have Car 15 knocked out of the race for the second time. Engine failure resulted in car 15 receiving its second engine of the weekend; burning up both spares they had onboard. “Good news: we were not going to have to face a third all night engine swap party if we had another failure as there were no more motors. Bad news: we cooked two engines in two days on one car!” said HPA owner Marcel Horn.

All signs were pointing to an intermittent electronic valve on their oil accumulator system, coupled with engine oil that could not keep up with the heat when pressed. With the valve replaced, the team had their fingers crossed in hopes of a trouble free rest of the weekend.

Car 16 was having issues of its own, receiving its second CV joint for the weekend - only possible by the heroic efforts of Michael Smeraldo from Humberview VW, who fought Friday evening long weekend traffic to drive on his own time from his downtown Toronto Volkswagen dealership to HPA’s race paddock; landing the shaft in the team’s hands at 1am. The cause was found to be a defective damper canister that removed compression forces; allowing the axle to repeatedly over travel and blow out the joint.

Drivers Altenburg and Welch arrived at the trailer to two warmed up cars at 7:30am and off to the grid they went. Starting from the back, the race was on. Car 15’s new engine was tight and fast but two laps in the temperature pegged and the day was cut short. A $2 plastic clip for the coolant temp sensor, molded without a tight 90 degree corner on one side, had failed and it dropped the water from the engine. The car was towed in and everything seemed fine on initial inspection, with no bad noises. Thanks to some inter-paddock relations, a replacement part was found on site. The team hoped Race 3 would be their charm.

Welch, on the other hand, found the correction on the damaged damper to change initial turn in, and after a few laps sorting out the lines, the charge was on. Knocking off time late in the session, Welch piloted car 16 into a respectable 8th place finish, earning us our first top ten on the weekend.

Welch and Altenburg ran a clean and respectable race. Despite starting from the back of the pack and dealing with the white flag coming out, they had clawed their way up to 8th (car 16) and 10th (car 15) before things went south.

The same CV failure on car 16 that originally occurred in qualifying showed its ugly head again and prevented Welch from taking the checkered flag. A blown engine sidelined car 15 just before the white flag dropped.

Both drivers pushed hard to pace the cars up through the field. The end result was not what the HPA team had hoped for obviously. Their efforts quickly shifted to studying these two repeating failures and finding a solution for the next challenge.

HPA Motorsports’ full line of 2.0L TSI tuning solutions, as featured in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Championship, are available through HPA dealers worldwide. Please visit or for more details.

Melanie Hastings
100 – 10185 199B Street
Langley, BC Canada V1M 3W9
Ph: 604.888.7274