Let’s take a step back in time for a moment.
During the early days of AutoSpeed, in 1999, we featured a 5-litre Ford XR8 with
head work, an SVO airflow meter, bigger injectors and many other tuning
accessories. The result of all these cubes and go-fast bits was a measured 136kW
at the wheels. And that was considered pretty tough - at the time...
Now check out at this graph. You’re looking at an
amazing 400+ kilowatts at the wheels achieved by a run-of-the-mill BA Ford XR6
Turbo with a relatively modest number of mods.
Boy, how times change!
The 400+ kilowatts at the wheels figure can be
credited to the XR6T owned by Spiro of Sydney’s Autotech Engineering. The car is
an early ’04 build which means it’s a ‘Series 1’ and its manual gearbox is a T5
five-speeder, rather than the six-speed found in later models. Spiro says it’s
been an incredible vehicle to develop – the amount of power the 4-litre turbo
motor can put out with relatively little $ is simply unbeatable. But there are a
couple of weaknesses that appear when pushing this heady level of power.
That T5 five-speed has blown up on three occasions
and Spiro says a stronger T56 six-speed is being considered as a solution.
Transmission loads aren’t helped by the fitment of an Xtreme ceramic button
clutch – the standard clutch started playing up with around 280kW at the wheels.
The Ford donk is built strong but with big power
on the agenda from Day One, Spiro decided to remedy the engine’s known weak
spots – the valve springs and conrods. A set of Crow aftermarket springs
maintain valve control while billet rods replace the stock conrods (which can
bend under extreme combustion pressures).
Of course, none of this does much to improve power
output – so where does the 400+ kilowatts at the wheels come from?
Well, lift the bonnet and you’ll notice the APS
(Air Power Systems) throttle body feed pipe and blow-off valve. These are an
indicator that the car is equipped with the complete APS Phase 3 kit which
comprises a high-flow exhaust, replacement airbox, upgrade DR-series front-mount
intercooler and plumbing, replacement wastegate actuator and wastegate swing
valve. This hardware increases engine airflow capacity while a UniChip
interceptor takes care of fuel, ignition and boost control. An additional fuel
pump and high-volume injectors are also incorporated as part of the kit.
The official advertised output for the APS Phase 3
kit is 390kW at the flywheel – a 150kW gain over stock. However, Spiro’s car was
built to push the limits so has been tuned to punch out more than 400kW at the
wheels. With boost pressure cranked up to around 20 psi and in-house modified
injectors, the car easily puts out 406kW at the wheels on Autotech Engineering’s
Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno and has achieved a best of 416kW at the wheels at the
2006 AME show. But we must reiterate this car has been built to push the limits
of the APS Phase 3 set-up and stock turbocharger – Spiro say’s he would dare
supply a customer with a vehicle in this highly stressed configuration!
If you really, really must have more than 400kW at
the wheels, Spiro will be more comfortable recommending Autotech Engineering’s
in-house ‘Phase 3.5’ upgrade. This is essentially the APS Phase 3 kit augmented
with a replacement exhaust manifold and turbocharger. Spiro recommends the
stockie turbo ‘only’ for up to around 400kW.
Spiro hasn’t yet run the car down the quarter mile
or thrown it around a racetrack as he says the stock XR6T brakes are a big
letdown. Get a couple of high speed stops into ‘em and you’ll notice the fading
stopping power... The suspension is enhanced with lowered springs and Bilstein
dampers while the guards are filled by 19 inch DTM alloys wearing Falken rubber.
Nothing over the top.
With even more power on his mind, Spiro dipped
under the bonnet not long after our photo shoot and installed their Phase 3.5
turbocharger and exhaust manifold. Tuning is yet to be completed but, with no
other changes, he’s expecting around 450kW at the wheels (still on 20 psi
450kW at the wheels? That’s more than three
times the amount of power achieved by that grunty XR8 back in 1999. At this
rate, we’ll be seeing tweaked Ford sedan generating 600kW (around 1000hp) at the
wheels by the end of the decade...
Autotech Engineering +61 2 9897 1378