Grunt Almighty

GUIDE TO Making your 86/BRZ faster

by IAIN KELLY pics MOTOR

Pumping more than 250kW at the tyres isn’t rocket science

HERE are off-the-shelf exhausts, intakes and tunes for the 4U-GSE (ZC6) and FA20 (ZN6), but the reality is that the logic of investing money into pulling extra power out of a modern fuel-injected, naturally aspirated, small capacity motor is questionable at best. You might make plenty of noise, but the fact is, the factory pretty much has it right unless you’re prepared to squeeze more air into the motor by unnatural means.

So, the big question at this point is turbo or supercharger? The simple answer is that it depends on how and where you drive your car, as these choices give very different results.

The great news is that there are multiple options for either. Modern designs for both superchargers and turbochargers provide excellent throttle response and T torque, while modern billet-wheel turbochargers can give strong mid-range and a storming top-end without sacrificing much bottom-end at all.

Boss-man at Sydney’s Tunehouse workshop, Jim Ghelis, sees the 86/BRZ tuner market as filled with both traditional younger clients and older customers who have had more powerful turbo cars and want to combine the small coupe’s excellent handling with a bit more grunt to fire it out of the corners.

“Development on these engines started with superchargers, both centrifugal and traditional positive displacement units, and then we went to turbocharger set-ups,” Ghelis explains. “This is because we like to cover-off all possible angles when developing new engine packages, and we are exporting kits to the Middle East now.

“The 86 is a very good platform,” he says. “We won two years in a row at World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC) with our supercharged car and have gone back now with a turbo, too. Our WTAC package used a stock long motor, as up to around 300kW you don’t really need to look at building a motor.

“Over 250kW you do need to look at a new clutch due to the torque and the way the boost comes on in the forced induction motor. We flash-tune the standard computer and add an oil cooler to our track packages as this helps save the motor.

“Most of our customers are middle-aged professionals who are looking for a good street package they can also take to the track; it’s like Cross Fit for cars,” Ghelis says. “Our Stage One pack is our entry-level kit for an 86 or BRZ, at $7990 drive-in, drive-out, which still leaves them some change from an average budget of $10,000 to get some suspension work done.”

Harrop Performance has been tuning cars for 60 years. Along with developing positive displacement blowers for Chevy LS motors and the factory Lotus Exige program, Harrop has designed a kit for the 86/ BRZ that has some American brands worried.

“The gains from our TVS1320 supercharger kit are huge, with an increase in torque across the rev-range, plus the ability to smooth the performance over stock,” Harrop’s Jake Di Pietro says. “Another huge benefit is that we designed our kit to bolt-on with everything you need provided.”

The 1.3-litre Eaton blower and intercooler setup retains the car’s air-conditioning, something

Turbo or supercharger? With diff erent results, the answer lies in how you drive

not possible with some other kits on the market and something even Toyota and Subaru claimed as being why they hadn’t developed a forced-induction ZC6/ ZN6 yet.

“We wanted to target street car owners,” Di Pietro says. “These cars need a bit more power than what they have in stock form but it’s an easy platform to modify.”

Harrop General Manager Heath Moore is on record as saying he thinks 90 per cent of all BRZ/86s will be modified, and the popularity is certainly adding up, as Di Pietro explains: “The first batch of TVS1320 kits have sold out; it’s been ridiculous how popular they were!

We’ve had quite a few enquiries from the US – thanks mostly to the weak Aussie dollar – which equates to around 30 per cent of all interest in the kits.”

At a touch under $7000, including EcuTek ECU tune, the kit is not the cheapest supercharger set-up on the market, but does feature OE-level refinement and engineering. This isn’t to be underestimated when it comes to fitting a forced-induction set-up to a naturally aspirated car, as cheap turbo and supercharger kits almost always end up costing performance or reliability, or both.

Whether you’re looking for a drag, drift, circuit or street package, the best advice is to find a workshop, talk to them about what you want – honestly – and listen to their advice with open ears. The good news is that development of new parts for 86s isn’t slowing down yet. Far from it.

The good news is that development of new parts for 86s hasn’t slowed down yet