- ESTATE OF MIND
/ #Audi-S6-JNL-Racing has created this highly-tuned 650+bhp monster of an avant – surely the finest Ur-S6 in the world… Words Davy Lewis /// Photography Matt Dear
JNL Racing's fierce 5-pot unleashed.
UR-S6 JNL Racing’s 520bhp avant
I first met JP, the main man at #JNL-Racing , at Santa Pod back in 2009. I was working on the now defunct Redline magazine and we’d got together a selection of the UK’s fastest tuned cars to go head-to-head in our Fight Club event. The premise was simple; entrants had to take part in two disciplines – a quarter mile and then a handling course – with the best overall time winning the day. Several Audis took part including Dialynx’s black SWB quattro and TTS Roadsport’s TT RS, but the one that stood out was a humble estate.
This stock-looking #1996 #Audi S6 #Avant C4 / #Audi-A6-Typ-4A seemed a bit out of place among the track prepped competition – which made it all the more impressive when JP proceeded to kick the arse out of it, laying down some impressive times in the process. All of which he did with a smile on face. Here was a man who clearly didn’t take it too seriously. However, when it comes to tuning, he is deadly serious.
Specialising in bespoke, hand-crafted cylinder head work and engine builds, JP has carved out an enviable reputation. Although VAGs feature heavily, he works on anything and has customers all over the world; working with anything from old school E-Types to the latest Japanese, European and US brands.
I bumped into JP just before we launched AudiTuner and said I’d love to feature the S6 when it was ready. It had come on a bit since the first shootout, that’s for sure. JP said he’d love a feature – especially if it made the magazine on sale in December as that’s his 40th birthday. So, here you go, JP – many happy returns!
With so many Ur-S6s pulled apart to scavenge their engines it’s not easy to find a stock car, let alone a 650+bhp weapon that’ll worry most supercars. “There are only 55 cars left on the road in the UK, and 85-90 left in total,” says JP. So what made him choose such an unorthodox Audi as a project?
“I had an Audi 200 running a tuned 10v engine, but it caught fire and I needed something else,” he recalls. “A mate had an S6 and I fancied an estate, so began looking for one. I found this one for sale for £2.5k and jumped on it quick.” From here the engine work came thick and fast as JP focused on creating a fast daily driver. “Being a daily, all the work had to be done over the weekends so that I had the car ready for the Monday school run,” he laughs.
The 20v engine was tuned with a ported head, uprated rods, a 63 hotside 3076 turbo on Wagner manifold, and SFS hoses as boost pipes. It made over 500bhp and offered plenty of fun. But, the constant flow of work on other fast Audis got him thinking.
“I built one of the UK’s most powerful B5 RS4s; I think it still holds the record on MRC Tuning’s dyno with around 780bhp and 1000Nm,” he smiles. “I did a 3.0 litre stroker kit and that car made me stop and say, ‘Why am I building all these fast cars for others and not doing my own?’” The RS4 had certainly made an impression. “You know that feeling as a passenger in a really quick car when the driver accelerates and you feel a bit sick and light headed – it catches you off guard. Well, I had that as the driver in the RS4! I decided that’s what I wanted to achieve in my S6.”
The engine itself is based around a 2.5 diesel block, which effectively created a stoker kit (the original was a 2.2 of course). Clearly a diesel block is designed to run in a diesel configuration, so JP welded up any holes and channels that were not required and added holes for the stuff he did need. Custom Pauter rods and JE pistons from a petrol engine were then added. The whole build needed to be bullet proof, so Mahle motorsport bearings were added plus a main girdle to prevent bowing at high RPMs.
Key to this estate’s sleeper nature is the fact that, to most people, it looks pretty innocent. Aside from the 9x18in Rotiforms, which necessitated the custom wide arches being fabricated by Ish and the crew at Quattro Coachworks, this looks to all intents and purposes like any other mid-90s Audi estate. This is just how JP likes it. “When I drive it through a village, people turn to see where the noise is coming from but don’t even look twice at the car – they’re looking for something that looks like this sounds!” With a 3.5in exhaust and 2.25in screamer pipe, it certainly makes all the right noises, just in a discreet package. But, as we all know, appearances can be deceptive.
Drop the hammer in this sedate looking Audi and it’ll attempt to head-butt the horizon at a startling rate. Having experienced the all out mayhem of 650bhp, JP has temporarily turned it down a few notches to an estimated 520bhp. And the rest of the car has been suitably uprated to ensure it’s provides a stable and safe ride. “It got to 650bhp with a slipping clutch, but there was nowhere you could properly open it up without getting into trouble,” he smiles.
I ask JP what it feels like when you really drive it hard at 650bhp. he pauses for thought, then says, “To be fair, I think my youngest son summed it up best when he was about ten,” he continues, “I launched it hard and he said it felt like his willy had gone into his back!” An unconventional response perhaps, but then that’s JP all over.
You get the feeling that he tells it like it is, with no bullshit. If something proves to work well, then he’s the first to praise it. But equally, if something doesn’t do what it says it will, he’ll be brutally honest. This sort of candour is refreshing in a scene that can attract people who like to make unsubstantiated claims, especially when it comes to power figures. But, JP has earned the tight to question things. He tests everything he does – often to destruction – to ensure that any upgrades not only deliver the goods, but also stay in one piece. As he says, “You need to blow things up to find the limits.
How else are you going to know how to improve on the original design?”
While there’s no doubt that JP was put on this planet to make cars go fast, he has a very specific focus. Everything must be about making the car perform more efficiently, which in turn makes it faster and more reliable. So although huge turbos combined with a remap and supporting upgrades can achieve eye watering power figures, it’s often at the expense of drivability.
“My S6 has a usable powerband from 3,250 to 8,200rpm – I see some of the German tuners with 1200bhp with cars that have nothing until 5,000rpm – that’s no use anywhere except on a drag strip,” he comments. Part of the reason behind the chosen upgrades (you can see the full list of goodies on the last page) was to show what could be achieved, without simply buying everything that’s available. “I saw so many owners on forums going on about how much they’d spent on this and that, and I thought, hang on, you don’t really need half of that.” So JP set about proving it with his S6 build. In the process it became the demo car for the business.
It’s currently running a baseline map that JP did himself, which he says was pretty straightforward using the 2D mapping of the Maxx ECU set up, “It’s easier for a non-IT guy like me!” The plan is to start upping the power again now that the rest of the car is ready to take it. ECU legend, Jonus Racing, is due to fly over to the UK to work on a bunch of cars, so JP’s S6 will be in very good hands. “This is the final throw of the dice – I won’t be re-doing this car again, so it has to be right,” he says.
As a cylinder head and engine building specialist, JP’s philosophy is to make engines as efficient as possible. Rather than simply bolting on a bigger and bigger turbos, he looks at ways to make more power off-boost with a less spiky delivery, while holding peak power for as long as possible to the redline. For those who are used to the kick of a big turbo coming in at 4,000+rpm, JP’s set ups can feel like the car is actually slower, but one look at the speedo will show it’s moving faster than the rev counter. By maximising the efficiency of the engine, including the head flow, there’s less pressure on the turbo, which in turn will be more responsive, with a wider power band – all the key ingredients of a usable, fast car. As JP says, “The proof is always in the performance – it either goes fast or it doesn’t.”
With lots of usable power, the brakes and chassis had to be more than up to the job of keeping this big estate on the road. A set of custom front coilovers were created by JP using shortened Bilstein B8 inserts. Gaz adjustable dampers bring up the rear, together with custom pig-nose springs and an Apikol uprated ARB. 2Bennet adjustable top mounts allow the perfect caster/camber to dialled in for that crisp turn in – not something usually associated with nose heavy 90s Audis. With a full complement of uprated bushes and solid sub frame mounts, this near 20-year old S6 now handles with aplomb. The Wavetrack diffs front and rear certainly help deliver the fun factor – whether launching hard or hitting twisty roads – especially with the re-timed factory Torsen unit that JP built up now giving a more rear-biased delivery over stock.
With plans to drive this thing hard on track, JP has wisely upgraded the brakes. The B7 RS4 calipers have been fully rebuilt together with high-temp seals and meaty 360mm discs. With Yellowstuff pads all round and DOT 5.1 fluid, this set up provides ample stopping power.
Inside, this mid-90s estate has been treated to a selection of upgrades befitting something with serious performance. The front seats are the first items that jump out at you. The carbon fixed back buckets look like they came out of a Porsche Carrera GT – but surely not – those things are about £500k now!? “They’re actually copies,” admits JP, “but they’re very good ones. They came out of a Porsche – I got them shipped over from LA Porsche dismantlers in the US.” The leather wrapped seats were in decent nick, although JP has changed the colour of the seatbelt guides, before having them recovered in leather and black Alcantara. They really look the part, right at home in the S6’s cabin complete with OEM carbon fibre trim. The rears were trimmed to match. One thing you wouldn’t see in a 90s estate is a 10.5in tablet fixed to the dash. This wifi-enabled device allows JP to keep an eye on the vital stats via the Maxx ECU.
Having followed the progress of this car for the last six years or so, it’s great to see it almost finished. Once the final mapping session has been completed by Jonus Racing, JP is hoping for up to 680bhp on V-Power and 700+bhp on E85. This S6 is beautifully engineered, extremely rapid, highly usable and, like JP himself, a little unconventional. We love it!
Top: One of the finest sleepers you’ll find.
SEE IT IN ACTION There are several videos of this savage #Audi-Ur-S6 being driven hard, plus some dyno footage. Head to JNL Racing’s YouTube channel to check them out – www.youtube.com/jnlracinguk
“My S6 has a usable powerband from 3,250 to 8,200rpm...”
Far right: Engine bay is a work of art Below right JNL custom inlet Bottom left Heat management has been taken seriously.
There are very few UrS6s left now, so here are three other S6 variants to consider...
Audi C5 S6 1999-2003
This 4.2 V8-powered S6 arrived in 1999 and went down a storm. The beefy V8 gave 335bhp and made all the right noises. The only downside was that tuning the NA lump was tricky and it liked a drink. Fewer and fewer of these around now and many have fallen into the hands of those that can’t afford to run them, so if you’re after one, be very choosy. Avants are more sought after than saloons.
Audi C6 S6 2006-2011
Launched in 2006 the C6 was packing a NA version of the 5.0 V10 from the RS6. This ten-cylinder monster gave it the sound of a supercar, all wrapped up in a very discreet saloon or estate. Loaded with goodies and that fabulous 429bhp engine, we’ll never see the likes of these large capacity cars again. Not cheap to run and expensive to fix, they are still very desirable. Available in avant and saloon, if you’re after one, make sure it’s been well loved and comes packed with options.
Audi C7 S6 2011-present (2017)
After increasing its capacity with every new model, the latest S6 goes back to its turbo charged roots and back down to a V8. Great news for tuners as the 4.0 V8 twin turbo can easily be cranked up to RS6 levels of grunt. A remap, full exhaust system including downpipes and uprated air filters will see you on the way to 550+bhp with more available depending on how deep your pockets are. Better still, unlike the RS6, you can get the S6 as a saloon, so you could create one of the fastest four-doors around – a true sleeper.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #1996 / #Audi-Ur-S6-Avant / #Audi-Ur-S6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-S6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-S6-Avant / #Audi-S6-C4 / #Audi-A6-Avant-C4 / #Audi-A6-C4 / #Audi-A6 / #Audi-S6 / #Audi /
Engine Re-engineered 2.5 diesel block and crank, #Pauter rods with ARP 625 plus, custom JE coated pistons, mains girdle, #ARP mains and headstuds, #Mahle-Motorsport bearings, baffled sump, #Gates-Racing timing belt, custom timing belt tensioner, secret spec cylinder head, #Jonus-Racing camshafts, lightweight flywheel, twin plate tilton for 800ft/ lb, steel crank timing belt pulley, #Vernier cam pulley, custom carbon timing cover to clear vernier, tubular #Vband manifold, 60mm #Tial wastegate, #HTA3586 m-spec with tial v-band hotside, 3.5in downpipe and straight through to twin 3in tail, 2.25in screamer with custom made side-exit, custom 4in intake filter housing w/integrated recirc pipe, custom 2 piece intake heatshield with bumper and bonnet cold air feeds, red TFSI coilpack conversion with custom coil cover, custom twin plenum intake manifold, overbored throttle body w/ Linden power coupler, billet fuel rail, 1000cc #ASNU-injectors / #ASNU injectors, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, twin #Bosch-044 / #Bosch in tank fuel pumps, custom one of header tank, custom designed breather system, electric fan conversion, lambda heatsink, Thermal velocity magma exhaust wrap, #PTP turbo blanket, 300x600x76 bar and plate cooler 2.25in in and 3in out, grille mount remote oil cooler, 50mm tial recirc valve, #Maxx-ECU running 720 sequential injection with 60-2trigger, multi-boost/fuel application, variable fuel pump speed via CAN-bus 10.5in tablet monitoring 5 x egt, exhaust back pressure, boost pressure, oil pressure and temp, coolant temp, air temp, lambda and various other parameters via Bluetooth
Transmission Custom geared 01E 6-speed, updated 1-2 slip collar, carbon 1-6 synchros, #Wavetrac front diff, retimed factory torsen diff for improved rear bias, custom 3.5in carbon propshaft, Wavetrac rear diff
Brakes B7 RS4 8-pot front calipers rebuilt with high temp seals, 360x32mm front discs, refurbed single pot calipers with custom mount 335x32mm rear discs, Yellowstuff pads
Suspension Homemade front coilovers w/custom length #Bilstein B8 inserts, #Gaz rebound adjustable rear shocks with custom pig nose springs, #2Bennett fully adjustable camber/caster front top mounts, solid front and rear subframe mounts, new oem bushes all round, polyurethane front snubmount and rear diff hanger and mount, 034 track density gearbox mounts, custom delrin/urethane engine mounts, #Apikol uprated rear ARB, custom front A#RB mounts for improved caster
Wheels and Tyres #Rotiform-Nue / #Rotiform 9.5x18in with one-off centre caps, Federal RSR 255/35x18
Exterior Widened arches front and rear, widened bumpers front and rear, debadged trim, colour coded trim, rear wiper delete, custom bonnet air duct, painted custom metallic grey/silver, front and rear cameras linked via wifi to tablet
Interior Porsche Carrera GT style carbon bucket seats retrimmed with logo and Alcantara centres, retrimmed rear Alcantara seat centres and door cards, 20v Ur-quattro custom flat bottom steering wheel with Alcantara centre, custom steering column cover, modified front speaker pods with 4in focal speakers, 17cm Alpine rear speakers, Bluetooth enabled Pioneer headunit, 10.5in tablet
Contacts/thanks JNL Racing www.facebook. com/jnlracing, www.youtube. com/jnlracinguk,
www.instagram.com/jnlracinguk, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Ish and crew at #Quattro Coachworks for not only doing the most amazing work but also helping to realise my vision, and of course all the friends and family that have assisted and put up with my shit for the existence of the two-ton Bugswatter, with special mention to Karl and Sean