car tuning

11 Jul 2007

How can a 500 bhp engine be more impressive than a 1000 bhp one?

What is more impressive, a BMW v12 F1 engine that puts out 1000bhp and redlines as 12,000 rpm or a BMW engine which puts out 500 bhp and redlines at 6000 rpm?

The F1 engine of course. If peak power output is the measure then you would be right but lets break this claim down a little. The F1 engine is stripped down and rebuilt after every race by a dedicated team of mechanics who also monitor every facet of the engine during each race. The 500 bhp engine is that fitted to a road car and as such it must last 100,000 miles at least before it required rebuilding and it must cope with long service intervals and a wide range of weather and driving conditions. Needless to say that the average driver does not have a pit crew on hand to keep everything running smoothly. When we put it like that we start to realise just how amazing our car engines are, and start to appreciate that there is a trade off when we ask the engine to put down more power.

Nearly every engine can have more power squeezed out of it and with some engines this can be as much as another 40-80% more power. This will usually reduce the service intervals and decrease the life expectancy of the engine though and presents the hidden cost of tuning.
Many people just can't see the point of F1 but when the things learned on these highly tuned and greatly stressed engines is applied to production going versions of cars you start to see the point, and actually realise the great benefits of the money companies pump into their motorsports divisions. Many innovations like traction control, active suspension and even tyre technology find its roots in F1.

Torquecars helps users decide which car tuning modifications are the best ones for their car and highlights any tradeoffs or compromises that need to be made for the sake of performance.

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