With 13 cars lined up outside, it CAN take all day to dyno every team in the Tuner GP, especially when each car is allowed three pulls for consistency. So this year, Shawn Church from Church Automotive Testing in Wilmington, CA generously offered his services.
Not only does he have an enormous facility, with more than enough parking for our motley crew, but Church boasts three Dynapack dynos, allowing us to run multiple cars together.
The Dynapack bolts to the driven hubs of the car, ensuring no wheelspin and greater accuracy. It takes a little longer to fit the adapters than strapping a car down, but the Church crew was well practiced in the art.
Once everything was clicking, we had one car being dynoed while a second was being prepared for its runs. We had all the cars tested in about five hours, with only minor problems to overcome, all associated with traction control systems farting because they could sense all four wheels turning at 100mph. However, Shawn Church was very familiar with his equipment and was able to resolve every issue. He's used to testing a huge variety of machines and problem-solving electronic issues, so nothing we presented caused him any difficulties.
The weather was unusually hot for early October and the humidity was very low; not ideal conditions for maximum power runs, but all the teams coped well, some using ice or nitrous to cool the intake.
As mentioned, we allowed up to three runs and recorded the best results here. We considered taking an average but several cars had spurious readings because of traction control or heat issues, skewing the results. Since the Dynapack can't produce wheelspin, the numbers recorded should be an accurate measurement of what the engines were capable of.
Time Attack Class
Attempting to run the cars in alphabetical order, Berk Technology was first on the dyno with its Time Attack-prepped BMW 135i. As in past years, the team is only interested in the track portion, but tolerates our dyno session, not expecting to win but hoping for around 400hp at the wheels from its N54 twin-turbo 3.0L. "It's got a stock bottom end with bolt-ons," company owner Bryan Min explained. "We won't win here but just want to beat Christian [Miller, 034Motorsport] on the Streets of Willow track!"
As predicted, they didn't have the most powerful engine, but they did hit 402hp to the wheels at 5900rpm, with 420 lb-ft of torque at 4500rpm during three very consistent runs, proving they know exactly what this car is capable of.
Their big rival, 034Motorsport, always brings a big gun to the fight. After several years running a mid-engined VW GTI with a single-turbo Audi S4 V6, the team reverted to its B5 Audi A4. It's powered by a 1.8T 20v motor with a 2.0L built bottom-end. The motor revs to 8500rpm and uses a Precision 6262 turbo to make its power.
034 brought its Audi out of retirement and claimed the Time Attack class dyno win at 596whp despite ignition problems
034 brought its Audi out of retirement and claimed the Time Attack class dyno win at 596wh
Team principal, Javad Shadzi predicted 630hp and seemed almost disappointed to realize 596whp at 7000rpm and 501 lb-ft at 5560rpm. It turns out, the dry air may have been causing some ignition problems, prompting the team to request a shorter ramp time on the dyno to avoid engine damage. This undoubtedly compromised output but kept the 2.0T in one piece. However, 034 came away with the most powerful car in its class, if not the Tuner GP...
Running later in the day when the temperature had risen, Platte Forme returned with the same ESS Tuning VT2-500+ supercharged E46 M3 as last year. However, they'd gone from 9psi to 12, improved the cooling with a new intercooler and oil cooler, and addressed fuel starvation problems with a new fuel cell.
The guys had sneakily been testing on the Church Dynapack the day before and identified problems with the Okada Projects ignition coils and throttle position sensor. Once changed, the 3.2L motor put out 473whp at 8000rpm and 325 lb-ft at 6500rpm, an increase of 90hp over the previous day...
We would recommend you watch the ECGP12 video at europeancarweb.com - not only is it a great record of events but it captures some of the violence of the M3's exhaust note. Along with the E36 M3 and CLS63, it stood out as one of the more spectacular-sounding cars at the event.
With no FWD cars entered for the first time in 10 years, Raffi and Vic Kazanjian from Euro Sport Accessories had abandoned their usual VW GTI for an AWD R32. It was equipped with a VF-Engineeering supercharger, head gasket spacer to reduce the compression to 9:1, Eurospec 264? cams plus custom Euro Sport FMIC and exhaust system.
It was great to hear a VR6 running at full song on the dyno, exceeding the predicted 360hp to produce a respectable 387whp at 6000rpm and 379 lb-ft at 5000rpm.
Without fuss or drama, european auto source won the RWD class with 574whp
Its major opponent would be the 2012 Golf R from former R32 turbo specialists HPA Motorsports, who had driven down from Canada for our event. They brought a stage 2 version of what they described as a DIY street conversion, the car having a full interior.
Hoping for 410hp at the crank, it boasted an 8.7:1 head spacer for the GT30-71/76 turbo set at 26.5psi, plus an HGP intake manifold and injectors. It ran an HPA downpipe, quad muffler system, software and a prototype intake.
On the dyno, the combination produced 392whp at 6700rom and 350 lb-ft at 5000rpm, putting it close to the prediction. It would certainly be interesting to see how these VWs compared on the track the following day...
The third VW was the Mk5 Rabbit from Bluewater Performance, but with its AWD conversion and turbo upgrade, this specialized machine was practically halfway to time attack status. It debuted last year to take on 034's purpose-built machine and did exceptionally well, although it suffered on the track slightly with cooling issues. After significant development over the past year, the team returned to try and win the event.
Unfortunately, things got off to a bad start for Bluewater when the 2.5L five-cylinder engine block breather failed four days before ECGP12. After losing all its oil, the motor had to be rebuilt the following day and fitted the day after. So one day before our event, they drove up the road to check the engine and it immediately blew a plug out of the block, losing the oil again. Fortuantely, LTMotorwerks allowed them to use their workshop to wrench on the car, and J&S Engines next door provided a new plug.
By the time the team arrived at the dyno their nerves were frazzled since the motor had never been under load until then. There was drama when a boost hose blew off on the second run but it was quickly refitted. "We were just happy to see the car run," said Gabe Adams from BWP. "I'm happy just to see a number. It would have been nice to push the boost a bit more but we didn't want to risk anything."
Running conservative boost and revs, the 2.5L turbo produced a healthy 594whp at 6500rpm and 554 lb-ft at 5200rpm.
Unfortunately, this was to be the Rabbit's last appearance since it was smoking heavily as it came off the dyno and was later found to have jumped three teeth on the timing pulley when the tensioner failed, bending most of the valves. The team tried valiantly to rebuild the head at Eurocode's workshop but threw in the towel at 3am and headed home. This isn't the last we'll see of the Bluewater Rabbit and we commend their huge effort, which was rewarded with the best run in the AWD class.
As for Eurocode Tuning, they brought another B8 Audi S4 to show off the parts they'd developed for the supercharged 3.0L V6. It had the Eurocode intercooler, headers and prototype intake, plus a Milltek cat-back exhaust, smaller APR pulley and custom APR software.
Everybody was fascinated by the electric-powered EV West M3, especially when a laptop bumped output to 841 lb-ft at the wheels
Everybody was fascinated by the electric-powered EV West M3, especially when a laptop bump
The team was expecting to see around 460hp but the dyno showed 492whp at 6200rpm and 477 lb-ft at 3800rpm. However, they were pumping nitrous onto the intercooler, which is allowed, but the spray was certainly entering the intake, which isn't. So while they didn't break the letter of the law, they were sailing close to it. Fortunately, none of the competitors complained but it might explain why the output was slightly higher than expected.
Our final AWD entry was the 997 Porsche 911 Turbo from GSR Autosport. This was the car the more established competitors feared. As a eurotuner event, we previously didn't allow the 911 because it wasn't a vehicle the magazine covered. However, as a european car event, this is what it was all about. And the mere sight of the 911 had people quaking in their boots; it certainly attracted one of the largest crowds when it ran.
As it happens, they need not have worried so much since the modifications were relatively mild. The Porsche had Promotive software, IPD plenum and Y-pipe, evoms intercooler, BBi pulleys and coil packs, Euro Pipes exhaust with high-flow cats, a GT3 throttle body and Aquamist meth injection.
Expecting around 500hp, the 911 spun the Dynapack to 493whp at 5700rpm and 552 lb-ft at 4400rpm, which meant it was a long way off the most powerful cars in ECGP12, but its legendary ability to put that power to the ground was still a cause for concern.