We're all aware the economy is wading through some murky waters these days. And that's why it's cool with us if you aren't familiar with Castrol Syntec's Top Shop Challenge by now. We realize that some of you are living out of shopping carts these days, spending the only $4.99 you manage to panhandle every other month on Import Tuner...and we appreciate the dedication. Then rest of you; you have no excuse. But we're going to walk you though what you've been missing anyway.
So here's the deal: Castrol Syntec has officially invited yours truly to kick the asses of all other magazines by building the ultimate power-producing engine. Actually, the other guys get to try building one too, but as you'll see in a minute, that means nothing. The short end of it is: Whoever builds the baddest engine (us), wins. And it seems we're in a pretty good spot so far (see sidebar); especially when the other mags are either blowing up family sedans on the autocross course, installing hydraulics on God-knows-what, or struggling with B-series swaps in their EF hatches. Not namin' any names, of course...
Rest assured, we're going straight for the jugular with this one; four-figure power from an SR20DET. And with the support we've got, we'll hit the mark without breaking a sweat. Sure, we'll have to deal with the forced induction penalty that essentially means our 2.2L SR20 will be judged as though it were 4.4L...but we're still talking about 227 hp-per-liter here--Ass-kicking guaranteed! Still, just for the hell of it, let's look at what the other guys are doing, and have a good laugh at why they think they have even a snowball's chance in hell of defeating us.
We have to admit it, when we first heard Super Street had contracted all-motor guru Bisi Ezerioha to build them a naturally aspirated F22, we wondered if they had a trick up their sleeve. But as it turns out, they ain't got nothing. Don't get us wrong--Bisi's engine building skills are second-to-none; his personal drag car can do low 9's in all-motor trim, but not because its making insane amounts of power. This isn't a drag race--it's a power competition. At best guess his methanol-fed F22 puts down about 360whp. Knock off some ponies for having to use 100-octane gasoline like the rest of us, and we're thinking Stupid Street will be making 350 flywheel hp at best from their naturally aspirated 2.4L F22. Going n/a eliminated the displacement-doubling penalty all us turbo-charged guys will have to deal with, but we're betting they'll still be left with only about 136hp/L. Weak Sos!
Sport Compact Car:
These guys crack us up! First, they decide to enter a VQ35DE in the competition. Not a rev-up engine, but still not an entirely bad choice. Then they go to Cosworth to build it. Very good choice; Cosworth wrenches on F1 cars for fun...safe bet they know what they're doing, but here's where things go genuinely SCC--they decide to go naturally aspirated at 3.5L, they're practically at the same displacement as our built SR20 with the forced induction penalty. This means that, pound-for-pound, they'd have to churn out about 770 horses to even be competitive. Isn't gonna happen.
Everyone knows that euros and horsepower go together about as well as oil and water. It's a fundamental law of automotive science, right up there with the Venturi Effect and Murphy's Law. Yes, we know the Bugatti Veyron is European. And the badass LP640 hails from Italy. But Volkswagen manufactures neither car, and eurotuner thinks they can win this thing with a 7A Quattro engine. What's that? You're laughing? So are we! In all seriousness, we wish them the best of luck. That doesn't mean we won't laugh again when their engine does nothing but trigger a door chime when they fire it up for the first time. Duh nuh nee, duh nuh nee...!
Lowrider: Hey, Lowrider: It's an engine building contest, not car-hopping. Yeah--engine...you know--the heavy, outdated chunk of iron in front of your cars, hidden beneath all the chrome, that causes your fuel gauge to fall to "E" even at idle? No? Well here's an idea anyway: Why don't you take the biggest, stupidest old-school V-8 you can find, like a 427 Chevy, and try to get it to make more power-per-liter than we're going to. You'll be looking at about 1,540 hp naturally aspirated or 3,000 with a blower. Can't do it? Well at least you can airbrush some moonlit wolves on the valve covers and go out strong!
Turbo: Here's where things get good. Turbo magazine and SP Engineering are teaming up to build a 3.0L 2JZGTE. We're not sure what numbers they're looking for, but putting down at least 1,300 turbocharged hp will keep them in the game. They've got more cylinders, and more displacement...but also a shorter redline. 2JZs revving 10.5K? Pleeeease...that's SR territory, kid! Higher revs = more powerband FTW!
Modified: They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And we're inclined to believe it--especially after seeing Modified follow us down the turbo-four route, albeit with a 4G63 a la AMS in Chicago. EVO specialists above and beyond all, AMS is no stranger to the T-4 platform, or to building 4G63s that put down over 1,000 whp in street trim. The 4G63 and SR20 are rivals for good reason--both are more than capable of producing record power. Still, let's consider what counts; the SR20DET comes from Nissan, the 4G63 from Mitsubishi. We've got the GT-R and Skyline behind us. Mitsu has the AMC Eagle. The SR20DET is the result of meticulous Japanese engineering and craftsmanship, the 4G63, a long partnership with Daimler Chrysler. Rallying? We've got the Wangan and Touge! Drifting? Nah...all ours! What does all this mean? Well, it...oh shit! Time's up.
Until nest month, make sure to visit the official Castrol Syntec Top Shop Challenge website and cast your vote according to how badly you think we're going to kick ass! We promise--you won't be disappointed. Foremen, Tuners: G-Dimension, City of Industry, California
These guys have been in the game since the beginning. Literally. Owners James and Leon Chang lay claim to doing the first stateside SR swap ever, over 13 years ago. These are the guys who built Jack Tsai's 460whp RB-swapped S14 240 that appeared in the November, 2007 issue of 2NR, and they're currently wrenching together a 800+whp, 2.4L SR20-powered S13 drag car. When it comes to calling shots and tuning, these guys got it covered.
Headgames: Mazworx, Orlando, Florida
Titleholders to the all-time high horsepower SR20DET record of XXX hp, building quadruple-digit SRs is what these guys do for a living. Mazworx is fielding three SR20-powered S-chassis drag cars in this year's NOPI series, including their newest addition, PRL Racing's XXXXwhp, 7.41-second S15 killer. The best part is they're building an SR20VE head for us, to XXXXwhp spec; wanna talk flow? Slim Shady ain't got nothing on this beast.
Building Blocks: Speed-O-Motive, West Covina, CA
With over 60 years' experience building engines, Speed-O-Motive is widely known as SoCal's go-to guys for any major project. On their plate at the moment is an RB25DET build commissioned by the Drifting.com crew, an RB26DETT for an upcoming RB Motoring project, and oh yeah...our nuclear-warhead resistant SR20DET bottom-end. What do you get when you combine in-house CNC capabilities, digital balancing and DTS Engine-dyno fine-tuning with over six decades of gearhead knowledge? We can't wait to see!