NZ Performance Car - - CONTENTS - Email: jaden@per­for­mance­car.co.nz In­sta­gram: jaden_nzpc­magazine

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

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