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Castrol Top Shop Challenge

Spinout May 2008

Mar 5, 2008

The rules have been drawn up and the invites sent out; the Castrol SYNTEC Top Shop Challenge is on. The Challenge is an engine build-up competition between seven magazines - Eurotuner, Import Tuner, Lowrider, Modified, Super Street, Turbo and us, Sport Compact Car. Each magazine will be teaming up with an engine building shop and will each be responsible for selecting an engine and building it to the limits of the rules.

The basic rundown for the rules is as follows:

  • Production engine from a production based car
  • 100-octane spec fuel
  • Spec Castrol Syntec synthetic oil of shop's chosen weight
  • Only one forced induction permitted (factory counts as one)
  • No methanol, fuel or water injection
  • Custom parts are allowed
  • No muffler during testing, but header must fit a production chassis

After each engine is finished, the engines will be given a total points score based on peak horsepower and torque per liter of displacement (turbo/supercharger are given a 2X displacement multiplier), power under the curve, surviving a 30-minute drive cycle and a subjective judging panel for quality and craftsmanship. All testing will be handled on an engine dyno.

When it came time to pick an ally, our choice was easy. We placed a call to the guys at Cosworth Engineering. With experience in the WRC, Formula One and Champ Car series, their engineering prowess is second to none. They also produce a full line-up of performance engine parts aimed at the Ford Duratec, Mitsubishi 4G63, Subaru EJ20/25 and Nissan VQ35 engines. We're going to be building a naturally aspirated, high compression VQ35 engine (at least 11:1 and 400bhp) using off-the-shelf Cosworth parts that anybody can buy with a simple phone call. We'll be covering the build-up on the ultimate naturally aspirated VQ engine in upcoming issues, as well as keeping you up to date about the progress of all the underbody lighting and panty-loving tuner mags.

And the best part is, the winning engine in the Castrol SYNTEC Top Shop Challenge will be given away to one lucky reader. For more details on the contest and how to win our Cosworth engine, visit



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