We’ve all seen those video clips showing a Corvette that has been tuned to produce way more than the amount of original factory horsepower.
And we all wonder why Chevy just doesn’t send out a ZR1 direct from the Bowling Green factory that could boast of, say, a whopping 1,200 horsepower to begin with?
Well, it just doesn’t work that way in the real world, though, as this two-minute clip from EFI University explains.
Standing beside a 2009 ZR1 that makes 638 horsepower from the factory, EFI’s Ben explains that General Motors had very specific goals when they built the calibration for the supercar.
While they obviously wanted to make a certain amount of power, Ben points out GM also has to meet pretty rigid CAFÉ standards for economy, EPA standards for emissions, and bean counter standards for the company executives that don’t want an excessive amount of warranty claims.
“So the end result of all that calibration,” Ben says, “is a series of compromises, and it was never their goal to make as much power as they possibly could.”
Of course, once the car leaves the factory, some of us are never satisfied with these compromises, so we head straight to our friendly neighborhood tuner and try to get him to wring out the most power we can.
“When we take our car to a dyno shop to get it tuned,” Ben says, “they pretty much ignore all that other stuff. They don’t care about emissions or economy or warranty claims and things like that. They’re just thinking about what’s the maximum output we can get.”
Just remember that changes like this can possibly void your factory warranty and/or shorten the life expectancy of your car’s systems.
Sure, a change in calibration can produce more power if that’s your ultimate goal.
But Ben warns it doesn’t mean that the factories don’t know how to make more power to start with, too. “So now that you understand that,” he says, “you can talk more educated on the Internet and you won’t sound like an idiot.”
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