This Audi TT has been crowned Australia's OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car

The Underground Performance Audi TT takes top honours for the Australian leg of Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge 2024

With a McLaren P1, twin-turbo Lamborghini Huracan, a stack of blown Mustangs and a bunch of pro touring muscle cars in the line at scrutineering, we doubt most people would’ve picked the unassuming Audi TT would top the charts on the morning of the 2024 Optima Street Car Challenge.

However, with hindsight, it did almost seemed inevitable. The 2015 TT is owned by Alex Barnett’s Underground Performance workshop, based in south-east Melbourne. With a potent chassis, 424kW to all four wheels and nine-second quarter mile credentials, it was always going to finish near the top.

“We knew we might have a good chance [going into it], but we also knew it was going to be tough,” says Alex. “Our goal was always to take an off the shelf car, something any customer could walk in and spec out.”

The TT uses the same 2.0-litre, four cylinder it came with as new. That engine recently benefitted from upgraded rods and pistons, with mildly ported heads and valve springs. The turbo is a prototype Turbo Technics V6, forcing up to 40psi in the engine.

“We had the engine out two weeks before the event to get it ready,” says Alex. “That’s when we did the rods and pistons, which are off the shelf items.”

It uses re-tuned factory engine management by Galano Engineering, with an uprated fuel system, and the standard DSG gearbox. The front brakes are upgraded six piston APR calipers with 360mm rotors, and on the 19-inch NEUSPEED wheels are Bridgestone RE71 RS tyres in a 245/35 size. 

All the exhaust, intake and everything else is off the shelf as well, and it uses Ohlins coilovers.

“We didn’t want to make anything for this car, it was all about using parts anyone can buy online and keeping it a proper street car,” says Alex. 

For Optima USCC, Alex had Reece MacIntosh steer the Audi to overall victory. He laid down the gauntlet early in the autocross, excelling in the speed stop test and hot lap before running a 10.20 in the drag racing component to secure the win.

“We were gobsmacked, and we’re absolutely elated,” says Alex. “It’s a surreal result for the team, and it feels right a proper street car won it overall.”

Reece was also ecstatic with the win:

“We like to call it the supercar killer and I think we proved that today! It’s something that’s a passion of ours. I’d like to thank Galano Engineering, Underground Performance and Northside Euros.”

To prove its street car credentials, Alex went on to tell us the TT drove straight up to Sydney the day after Optima, where it was the second fastest VAG product in the roll racing at Sydney Motorsport Park. 

“It drives so nice on the street, it’s really in that sweet spot in its current setup,” he says. “We’re keen to come back next year and give it a red hot crack, but you’ll have to wait and see what that’ll be in.”

If you want to see the 2024 Optima USCC champion in person, get to MotorEx in Melbourne on May 4-5 where it’ll be on display. You can purchase spectator passes here.


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