Many of you local 86DRIVERs already know that at the end of last year we said farewell to our 2013 Subaru BRZ, and replaced it with a brand spanking new 2016 Subaru BRZ. Naturally, we bought one in the same color, World Rally Blue because it’s the best color! We saw this as an opportunity to start over with a clean slate, and actually enjoyed driving the car in stock form for the last few months. But it was inevitable that we would start down the modding path again, and this time we decided to go in a different direction. The 2013 car was left in naturally aspirated form and tuned using OpenFlash to run E85 corn juice to make a little extra power (about +20hp). This proved to be a very good bang-for-the-buck performance enhancer but the reality is, it’s a bit inconvenient to have to always plan around getting fuel at only a handful of gas stations around the Bay Area that carry E85 fuel at the pumps. And even at the performance-oriented racetracks around the Bay Area region, E85 is difficult to come by, forcing those of us who love the corn juice to haul tens of gallons of fuel with us to the track. Even before we said goodbye to the 2013 car we had made a decision to upgrade to a forced-induction supercharger solution. The kit we went with was the Jackson Racing supercharger system which uses a Rotrex C30 compressor.
With the Jackson Racing supercharger kit, we could make nearly +100hp in its basic configuration, and run regular 91 octane gasoline for convenience. There are several other supercharger kits out on the market as well, but we liked the fact that the JRSC kit has been out on the market for several years now and has been tried-and-true, on the street and at the track. Unlike most of the other supercharger and turbocharger options out there for the 86/BRZ, the JRSC is even available with CARB-exemption, meaning it is street legal here in California — an important consideration for many of us. We know several other local drivers who have and enjoy running the JRSC kit, and for us, it seems like the best choice for everyday street driving and some occasional track time.
We’ve been spending some time both at and away from the racetrack with the guys from Elite Performance in Burlingame, CA and they are one of the best options in the NorCal region for full-service auto performance tuning for our platform right now. They offer performance parts, service and installations, and custom dyno tuning using the Ecutek system. We handed over the keys to our BRZ to Eric, Gary, and the rest of the guys at Elite and let the magic happen. Turning your baby over to someone else’s care is always a little nerve-wracking, but I could tell our car was in good hands and the guys made me feel comfortable about entrusting them with this responsibility. The car underwent a dramatic transformation while at Elite — not only did we add the supercharger but also put our Tein SRC coilovers back on and got an alignment done. So power, and handling abilities were addressed during its stay at Elite.
Eric is Elite’s resident Master Ecutek tuner, as well as an authorized Jackson Racing dealer. After checking that everything was looking good, they put our car on the Dynapack dynamometer and tuned for a safe, reliable setup. Hearing your car screaming at full song on the dyno is a memorable experience, and we got some video footage of it to share! Check out video of the dyno runs here:
The guys at Elite had recommended also adding a header to the car before the custom tune, but that’s a little more money than we’d like to spend right now and we kind of like the idea of running in the California-legal configuration … for now. Maybe further down the road we will consider adding a header or a flex-fuel system when we are craving even more power.
Oh so what were the results you ask? The car made 234 whp and 192 ft/lb on the Dynapack. I’m told that a stock BRZ or FRS would generally make about 145 whp on this same dyno. So 234-145 = 89, or almost +90whp gain from the supercharger. Now I might be taking some liberties with this calculation, but if you start with the assumption that a factory-fresh BRZ makes 200hp at the crank, then adding 90whp means the car is likely making over 300hp at the crank! This was a very good result in my mind and I think even Eric was surprised at the amount of power the kit made on our car.
Now the car is back in our hands and it’s been a joy to drive it the last few days. The various new induction and supercharger sounds the car is making is going to take some getting used to but it’s a real kick in the pants for sure! We will probably continue to make a few more tweaks and adjustments to the car in the coming days before the next track outing but it’s a great start and we look forward to learning our way around with what feels like a completely different animal.