ED TEAM CHATTER
ilowatts, horsepower, newton metres, foot-pounds — these are all units of measurement used to work out power and torque. To some, they are trivial numbers that don’t have a lot of bearing on the value or capability of their cars, while to others they’re the benchmark to measure your proverbial member by, before ecstatically waving it around in everyone’s face.
This topples over, however, when tuners use their know-how to manipulate the figures to deliver the results a customer wants, resulting in some cars being built based on perceived acceptable power output rather than usable packages. Hell, not even 10 years ago, rolling 300kW in a street car made you a king, but now, that line has been raised so high that we couldn’t even tell you where it is any more.
I may be a little guilty of this with my own car, with a strong 350–400kW range in mind, and I couldn’t count the number of times the first or second question that gets asked when talk turns to progress is, “What power are you looking to make?”.
However, thanks to many an hour spent yarning away with my tuner and a number of respected members of the automotive fraternity, I’ve come to understand the importance of relativity and usability when it comes to generating power.
Having 600-plus kW on tap is all well and good, but when your dyno sheet looks like Mount Everest and you’re making 150kW up until 6K [RPM] before boost finally arrives, what’s the good in that? A proper driveable package is going to win out any day of the week. Sacrificing a small portion of your top-end number in favour of responsiveness and low-down torque is going to go a long way to making the car feel genuinely fast while retaining some form of driveability.
Of course, what I’m saying here doesn’t apply to all disciplines, but that’s where the relativity that I mentioned comes in. Build the best package for the intended use. A lag-riddled top-end monster is almost pointless for a street car unless you have no use for your licence any more and are looking to get rid of it.
This seems to affect drifters a lot, too, with 500-plus kW packages are trying to put power down through class-capped 235 rubber. Or grassroots guys who are spending a fortune to build mass-torque-producing big-capacity Frankensteins without ever learning to drive the car on factory power first.
Power doesn’t necessarily equal cool points, nor does it equal more fun. Keep it humble; aim for what you actually need, not for what people want you to have. Jaden Martin