Just when you thought the book on LS1 modification
had been written – coz, let’s face it, there isn’t much that’s been left
unexplored! – you come across this 2004 VYII HSV Clubsport R8 owned by John
So what are we looking at here – a stroked engine
with a cam and head package? Nope. Is there a supercharger kit bolted on? Guess
again. Nitrous injection? No siree. Maybe a twin-turbo set-up? Close, but no
cigar. This HSV packs a single turbocharger installation under the
John is a dedicated fan of turbocharging so when
Centrifugal Air Pumps Australia (CAPA) released their ‘400kW’ GEN III single
turbo kit he was instantly reaching into his pocket. Starting at around
AUD$9000, the single turbo kit is much cheaper than the twin-turbo set-ups on
the market and CAPA claims advantages in under-bonnet heat, better turbo
protection and the eliminated need for an oil scavenge pump.
So what do you get with the CAPA GEN III Turbo
kit? Well, you score a large capacity Garrett ball-bearing turbocharger with the
necessary oil and water lines, a replacement exhaust manifold and cross-over
pipe assembly, dump pipe, front-mount air-to-air intercooler (with plumbing),
Bosch blow-off valve, an under-guard cold air intake and a coolant header
Interestingly, the CAPA turbo kit retains the
genuine Holden exhaust manifold on the right bank of cylinders. Unfortunately,
the tubular headers used in the HSV aren’t recommended for use with the
turbocharger so John’s R8 has reverted to the standard Holden cast iron exhaust
manifold. The cast iron manifold bolts to a CAPA stainless steel cross-over pipe
which routes gasses around the back of the engine to the opposite side of the
engine bay. The left bank of cylinders is fitted with a replacement tubular
manifold that combines gasses extracted from both banks and channels it into the
turbine entry. Boost pressure is typically set to around 7 psi in the standard
kit. John’s R8 also benefits from a custom twin 2 ½ inch mandrel exhaust.
CAPA offers optional engine management and fuel
system upgrades but John’s local performance tuner – C&V Performance – took
care of these aspects. The standard engine management system has been switched
to a 2 Bar MAP sensor and runs the fuel and timing maps appropriate for the
turbo. Extra fuel flow comes from a Bosch Motorsport pump (which drinks from an
under-car surge tank) and a Sard pressure regulator combined with Wilson rails.
With these mods – and a boost bleed giving 8 psi –
the single turbocharged LS1 has pushed out 320kW at the wheels on C&V
Performance’s Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. And John says there’s more to come
with extra tuning.
Interestingly, the substantially increased engine
output hasn’t torched the factory clutch. John says the clutch can slip if
provoked but in all other circumstances it does the job with OE levels of
lightness, smoothness and quietness. The six-speed T56 gearbox remains untouched
as does the HSV LSD. So far, there have been more than 10,000km of problem-free
And don’t count this Clubsport R8 as another boofy
straight-line monster with no poise. The VYII Clubsport can be flung through
corners with speed and confidence and the IRS gets the grunt to the road
remarkably well. Torque delivery is very smooth, full turbo boost is reached by
about 2800 rpm and holds steady to the 6500-ish limiter. Braking performance is
up to the task using HSV’s Premium Brake package. These hide behind the standard
19 inch rims (shared with the HSV GTS) wrapped in 245/35 rubber.
John is the sort of guy who has a poker face when
it comes to cars. Sure, his HSV might have turbocharged V8 muscle but there’s no
need to advertise the fact. As such, the only visual mod to the car is TURBO
lettering beneath the HSV spoiler. Its possible that John has committed a crime
given these are genuine Ford parts... Inside, the leather trim is all standard HSV
but you’ll find a 52mm boost gauge neatly nestled in the dashboard pod alongside
an oil pressure gauge.
Interestingly, John’s previous car was a Subaru
WRX with a fairly typical list of bolt-on mods. So how does the turbocharged HSV
compare, you ask? Well, the boosted bent eight doesn’t give the same explosive
shove in the back like a Subie with a rush of boost; instead, you get a linear
progression of torque that ultimately leaves most Rexes in its wake. It’s no
wonder John calls it a sleeping giant!
But there’s no time for snoozing. If John gets his
way the car will soon run a twin-turbocharger set-up, a performance built engine
and an elevated boost level. Yikes!
the quest for more speed, John is now contemplating the purchase of a Yamaha R1
two-wheeled road burner. And that means the turbocharged R8 has to go – if
you’re interested and you’ve got between 50 and 55 grand to spare, consider it
yours! John can be contacted through email@example.com
C&V Performance +61 2 9690 2000
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