For this contest, Garrett and Andrew did the hard labor of strapping down the cars safely, but left the operation of the dyno to european car. GIAC was more concerned than we were that competitors might claim bias due to the choice of venue.
The dyno score was split between peak horsepower and torque delivery. The first is simple enough; it's the biggest number. The second is more complicated: Imagine each car has a gear that tops out at 100 mph, then add up all the torque available to accelerate the vehicle from 40 mph to 100 mph in that gear. The area under that curve was scored for power delivery. Most cars make more torque at redline than at 40% of redline, so it is an advantage to be able to spin faster. Simply extending the width of the rpm range is also helpful. In the real world, being able to keep accelerating for a longer time before shifting makes a car faster.
With half the cars making 350 hp or more, nitrous ruled the day. Ari Mosisoglu turned his car from a 353-hp "pussycat" into a 430-hp winner at the press of a button. It was the first of several surprises from this young enthusiast, as he backed up his formidable enthusiasm with equally formidable results. Todd Sager, from AWE, was later seen with treadmarks from his own Adidas on his forehead. He had chosen not to open the bottle on his "Silver Bullet," thus allowing himself to be beaten by a customer. The torque delivery score, not calculated until later, salvaged his bragging rights. The only notably low figure came from the B&M car, which was determined to be suffering from a faulty MAF and repaired before the second day.
We don't know how the Mustang's calibration compares to that of the Dynapack used in the 1.8T Challenge. Subject to that caveat, it is interesting to compare the results. Horsepower is tied closely to air mass flow, and stuffing a V6 in the little A4's engine compartment doesn't leave much space for air to move around it. Not one of these S4s matched the peak horsepower of APR's 2.0-liter S3, but thanks to the 2.7's displacement, seven of the 12 beat the Auto Sport Werks A4 Avant 1.8T's winning power-delivery score.
Day two began before sunrise at Los Angeles County Raceway in Palmdale. In the cool morning air, intercoolers were at their most effective for acceleration testing. Cars were lined up in an order determined by pulling names from a hat, with the sequence repeated four times. Each car had time to make adjustments and cool down while waiting for its next turn. Everyone got the same weather for each round.
On the drag strip, the S4s were clearly split between contenders and also-rans. Fully half the entries can claim to be legitimate 12-sec. street cars. Everyone thought Ari might win this event when he posted a 12.55-sec. run, more than three-tenths under the next fastest time. Then AWE knocked out a 12.39. Avalon Motorsports had the fastest car in the bottom half of the field, with a 13.88. The rest were scattered out at intervals all the way to Keith Rust's completely stock car, which ran 15.81.