The overall aim in tuning is to provide a good compromise between the peak power, fuel economy and long term reliability. The greater the capacity and horsepower the larger the amount of power gains open to you. It pays to use good quality performance parts and sadly each performance modification will reveal a weakness elsewhere in the car.
Turbo Engine Tuning
Turbo engines represent the best potential for power increase as a remap will change the timing of the engine as well as the waste gate control (forcing more air into the engine) and fuelling. Smaller engines generally have little scope for tuning. Remap the turbo, fit a larger or aftermarket turbo, up-rate the exhaust and fit an induction kit. Cams, head work and bottom end strengthening are required for power hikes of 50-100% depending on the source engine.
NASP (Naturally Aspirated Engines) Engine Tuning
Ignore all smaller engines (sub 1600cc engines unless they have a high red line around 7500 rpm). For all engines over 1600cc you should fit (in this order) fast road cams, induction kit and get the head gas flowed. When all other modifications have been done deal with the engine timing with a remap. A big valve conversion and head work like porting will further increase the power output.
Rotary Engine Tuning
These are very high revving and are fairly tolerant of power increases. Look to improve the flow of air through the engine with a full sports exhaust and induction kit. Up-rating the fuel pressure and injectors will allow bigger gains to be made. Balancing and Gas flowing the engine will also improve things a little but most rotary engines are well machined to start with. Fitting forced induction or increasing the capacity of your rotary engines blower will also yield larger power gains.
Engine Tuning for Traction
Traction can be a big problem on front wheel drive cars. With front wheel drive cars exceeding 250bhp we would recommend substantially softer and grippier tyres and a slightly softer suspension than you would otherwise use in competitions. It gets really hard to control this sort of power on a FWD even with good strong LSD and will show up flaws in your chassis. Clutches are also potential weak spots in tuned engines so you may need to look at up-rating your clutch.
In rear wheel drive there are no such restrictions on power output although a carbon fibre driveshaft will also help to put the power down more smoothly and take some of the stress from your drive train. If your tyres are unable to grip the road the power will be lost so again you will need to think about performance tyre upgrades.
When increasing or changing the Torque curve of an engine it is best to alter the gear ratio’s to allow you to better exploit the power. Lower ratios will nearly always give better acceleration but you want to keep the engines power bands spread through the gears.
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