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A Spotlight on GMG Racing

A Spotlight on GMG Racing

March 1, 2012 - Words by Dan Bartelson, Photos by Peter Chaney
The Roman Empire is known as one of the truly great civilizations. Conquerors of nations and people, purveyors of new thought and feats of engineering; and yet, they were unable to sustain their reign in perpetuity. Perhaps, however, had Global Motorsports Group (known to you and I simply as GMG) been designing and tuning their chariots, the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher may be racing for a Caesar now instead of McLaren and Ferrari. Alas, the Emperor is dead, long live the Emperor!
Having the opportunity to spend an afternoon at GMG's Santa Ana, California headquarters recently, I can tell you first-hand that their feats of engineering may rival that of the Romans. Fortunately for the enthusiast, GMG is thriving.
Walk through their front door and you're greeted not only by friendly staff persons, but also with a glimpse of what's to come. A red Ferrari Testarossa in the lobby? Check. A display of BBS wheels? Check. A row of Sparco racing seats? Check. A shrine dedicated to the many victories GMG has amassed in their racing program, serving as a testament to their abilities to not only develop products that work, but also using those products to obtain victories over actual manufacturer racing entries. Check, check, and another check! Oh, and those racing products that were used to beat cars like those from factory Porsche Racing? They can be had on your everyday driver. That is real world results. A trip around their always bustling shop is one of pure automotive decadence and delight. The shop is obviously designed by and for the hardcore motoring enthusiast. One that demands roll cages, racing products and supplies, HRE wheels, and an onsite dyno. But, it's also great for your average service needs such as oil changes, brake and belt jobs, or VAG-COM modifications. With nine lifts and countless dedicated staff members, GMG is the place to be.

As I walk around on a self-guided tour, it's hard not to notice how clean and well put-together the shop is. It makes your average Audi dealership look like a second-hand car lot. I can't help but stare at two amazing beauties in the dead center of the entire operation; both with curves galore and adorned with the four rings. I think I'm in love. I'm greeted with a wide-mouthed smile by a 2010 S4 Avant conversion and a twin-turbo'd 2011 R8 V10. I better wipe my drool off before I look the fool. Too late. As I stand over these mythical cars I see a very friendly face walk up. Fabryce Kutyba, co-founder of GMG, approaches after having been working with a customer - in the auto bay no less, getting his own hands dirty. This is just another one of the many things that set GMG aside from your average tuner. We talk about the two Audis in front of me awhile longer before heading to his office to wax nostalgic and talk business.

Fabryce grew up in a family with a motorsport legacy. His father was an engineer for BMW Motorsport, and passed his passion on to his son. In fact, at just 16 years old, Fabryce was building Porsche 911 Turbo motors in his dad's shop. This is what he likes to call his "specialized apprenticeship" program. What about Audis, though? With the importing of a 1983 Ur Quattro into the US by his father, Fabryce immediately fell in love with Audi's infamous rally-come-street car. In fact, that was the very car he learned to drive in.

The family moved to the West Coast in 1992, and in 1995, Fabryce and his father opened a new shop. This shop primarily worked with the development of BMW's, focusing on building exceptional racing models. A short two years later, mere happenstance caused him to be introduced to his future business partner, James Sofronas. While developing a customer's car, the two crossed paths over a botched response to an advertisement for light-weight racing wheels. With the customer car completed, and James now serving as a private racing instructor for the customer's son, a bond was formed. In the end, the customer's son no longer wanted the car. As Fabryce explains it, "much like a race horse, the car is not worth anything unless it's racing - and doing well." The customer allowed the two to maintain and race the car, with hopes of selling it if they were successful. Were they ever! Two years, 24 starts and 24 wins later - the new power duo was getting noticed. With friends, past clients, and co-racers asking the two about starting their own shop and working on customer cars, it wasn't until 2000 that Global Motorsports Group finally got its start - and on the proverbial napkin at that! The blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the company have formed what Fabryce calls a brotherhood, and has paid dividends of respect in the motorsports and enthusiast communities. It wasn't until 2004 that the GMG duo finally went all-in, working on the shop full-time.

GMG is nothing if not realistic about the cars they build. Their goals are not just to be power hungry fiends, although their cars certainly deliver the power. What GMG desires is to keep their customers happy and returning to them by keeping their vehicles not only fun, but reliable. They don't need to sell dyno numbers, because their product is proven every time it hits the streets or enters the track.

What's next for GMG? Well just recently GMG has expanded operations to include offices next door to their longtime facilities, amounting to an additional 15,000 square feet. That now gives them 30,000 total square feet of motorsports goodness, customer service, and enthusiast passion. If that doesn't seem like enough, Fabryce described GMG's goals of taking up the entire corporate center where their offices are located to become a whopping 45,000 square foot facility! I, for one, can't wait to see what they do with the place.

What about getting back to their racing roots? GMG has plans for getting Audi racing some attention here in the States with the building of a B8 touring car, getting their B5 S4 Competition car (one of just five produced) back into the swing of things, and they just recently took delivery of a first-in-the-country R8 LMS GT3 R16. The later is similar to the R8 race cars now being run in the Grand-Am, but on another level. We cannot say much more about the car at this time, but Fabryce has promised that full details and plans for the car will be released very soon. Add all of that to their build of a short wheel base Sport Quattro for a client in Dubai and GMG's Audi exposure is about to hit the stratosphere! Fabryce, who drives one of GMG's tricked-out B8 S4's as his daily, did let me in on yet another little secret. His own personal next project will have a little something to do with a C5 RS 6 Avant.

So that's all there is to know about GMG? Hardly. As I'm quite certain you're still wondering about those beautiful Audis I was ogling earlier, well this article would be incomplete without the details. Fabryce described to me the situations which brought these two cars to life. As a prelude to the development of the B8 S4 Avant, GMG was approached by a long-term client and huge Avant fan. Much like me, this client was dismayed by Audi of America's stance on hopped-up wagons in The States. So what was the next logical step? Import an S4, RS 4, or RS 6 Avant? While gray-market cars may be possible the conversation, naturally, turned to the fact that GMG could build one - "if you build it, they will come?" Pretty much. After finding a salvaged S4 at auction, it took a factory Audi-trained master technician over six weeks to complete the build from boot to bonnet. The goal of this vehicle was not to produce a wild and crazy machine that blows away Ferraris (that's what the twin turbo R8 is for), but to simply drive like a factory S4 Avant. Working with Overfinch, the custom interior shop of choice for Mercedes Benz concept cars as well as the makers of Overfinch branded Range Rovers, GMG took that already amazing Audi S4 interior and made it even better. The attention to detail and materials used are on the level of what you would expect in a bespoke Bentley, nothing short of perfect.

Currently, this one-and-only S4 Avant in the United States is running on stock software, but there are plans to change that. Teaming with GIAC, GMG is looking to boost the output while maintaining drivability and reliability. That doesn't mean that GMG hasn't tinkered and had a little fun. With underpinning upgrades that included GMG's own World Challenge products - springs, front and rear sway bars, and a burly exhaust setup with downpipes, these guys have built this vehicle into a very factory-like car, but just that much better. Better because it's got GMG's proven products and technicians standing behind it.

And the twin turbo R8 V10? Fist and foremost we all realize what a pinnacle achievement this car is for Audi in its stock form. I can hear the German engineers saying to each other now, "it's not fast enough for them already?" I found myself asking that question as well, and yet, as I exited the car after a "quick" jaunt around town with Fabryce, I can really only say "bless you GMG for making the beast even that much more!" If Audi's development and implementation set the standard for the segment, then GMG's work is the shining masterpiece. They improved upon Audi's exotic and yet still allowed it to maintain the use of a daily driver. All of that without the arrogance of a Ferrari or Lamborghini, with which you may commonly get "the finger." In this twin turbo R8 V10 you most definitely get thumbs up, except from those "Prancing Horse" and "Wild Bull" drivers!

As is the case with many of GMG's clients, the owner was shopping around for something to "improve" his R8. Having approached many shops that were already developing systems, he felt that he was not getting the right story. Too many of those cars were already experiencing compromises in how they operated - stalling, hesitation, hiccuping, CEL's, and a lack of overall drivability. When GMG was approached, they told the client quite honestly that they'd never done a project like that on an R8 but felt confident with the engineering and right people that they could do it. GMG promised that it would be perfect or their name wouldn't be on it. The results are a car built without compromises; with performance, fit, and finish that speaks for itself. The turbos place no additional strain on the already powerful V10 and its electrical system. Purring at idle, with air conditioning on or off, this car is smooth, comfortable, reliable - oh yeah, and fast! Pulling to redline in every single gear without drop-offs, dips, or lag. The car is nearly indescribable.
What GMG has delivered is known as the LeMans 780. The 780 standing for the crank horsepower figure. The GIAC tuned twin turbo V10 is running at 5.5lbs of boost pressure on 91 octane pump gas. This dream-machine just recently put down 666 horsepower to the wheels on GIAC's rather conservative dyno. Serving as a celebration of Audi's 10th anniversary win at LeMans, GMG added their World Challenge springs with a 20mm drop, front and rear sway bars, 19"x9" front and 19"x12" rear Monoblock fully forged wheels, and an upgraded carbon-kevlar clutch system. Everything else Audi had developed works perfectly in conjunction with the new turbo system. As we stare at the R8 parked next to a Guards Red Porsche GT3 RS, Fabryce looks at me with a straight face and says "I'd take the R8 in a heartbeat. It's a real devil in a black suit." With several other R8's in transit to get this same modification, we'll be seeing GMG's feat of engineering across all points of the globe.
I have hardly stopped smiling since my day at GMG. Their amazing toys aside, GMG provides excellent customer service, quality products and vehicle service, and proven engineering for the everyman and his racing dreams. In Fabryce's words: "Why GMG? You get so much more value for your money." After my time with him, his fellow team members, and all of the many projects they've built both past and present, I couldn't agree more.
  1. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

  2. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

  3. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

  4. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

  5. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

  6. The B8 S4 Avant conversion - By Peter Chaney

  7. The B8 S4 Avant conversion - By Peter Chaney

  8. The B8 S4 Avant conversion - By Peter Chaney

  9. Custom interior work on the B8 S4 Avant - By Peter Chaney

  10. Custom interior work on the B8 S4 Avant - By Peter Chaney

  11. Custom interior work on the B8 S4 Avant - By Peter Chaney

  12. Custom interior work on the B8 S4 Avant - By Peter Chaney

  13. Interior of the B8 S4 Avant - By Peter Chaney

  14. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 - Courtesy of Global Motorsports Group

  15. The Audi R8 V10 LeMans 780 - By Peter Chaney

  16. The Audi R8 V10 LeMans 780 - By Peter Chaney

  17. The Audi R8 V10 LeMans 780 - By Peter Chaney

  18. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

  19. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

  20. On the shop floor at GMG Racing - By Peter Chaney

A Spotlight on GMG Racing
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