Aston Martin V8 Vantage - Supercharged
Back in late 2013 we were approached by a customer to modify and tune his Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The first modification was a set of RSC hi-flow catalytic converters to increase flow and turn the volume up ever so slightly on the exhaust. The car was then custom tuned to unlock the hidden power, locked away by the factory tune, where we managed to find an additional 10kW at the wheels. In the pursuit of more power and the option of a supercharger from RSC to be fitted, the customer happily agreed to go ahead with the upgrade as he was planning to spend a lot of time at the track. Because this was a whole new ball game, other areas of the car had to be improved to meet the requirements for track driving, such as brake and suspension upgrades and a heavy duty clutch to handle the punishment of fast gear shifting and the extra torque from a supercharger.
First up was the clutch. Because the gearbox is in the rear of these cars for excellent weight distribution, the gearbox and carbon prop shaft had to be removed to access the clutch. Once we had access, the clutch was replaced with a new uprated unit from RSC.
Suspension was stiffened up for the track by the way of Nitron Race R1 shocks (http://www.nitron.co.uk/). These shocks are handmade in the UK using a titanium and anodized aluminum construction to significantly reduce weight and are also damper adjustable. The decision was made to use these shocks due their vast achievements in motorsport from a BMW M3 Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record, Porsche championship podiums and success in the World Time Attack series.
To get the ultimate braking force for street and track, the brakes we sourced for the Aston Martin were a special order only, monster 405mm Brembo GT performance kit with new calipers that were custom painted to match the car. To help visualize the size of these brakes, 405mm is roughly the same size as a 16” wheel. The rear brakes were also upgraded to Brembo’s light weight 328mm kit to complement the front. Once the shocks and brakes were fitted, the car was then taken to Road Race & Rally for alignment and corner weighting and then off to Pukekohe raceway for some testing on the track.
While we were waiting for the supercharger and after a couple of track days by the customer, there was the request to raise the accelerator pedal in line with the brake pedal, much like a proper racing pedal box to assist in using the heel/toe technique when changing gears. This required a custom made billet aluminum mount fitted to raise the pedal.
In an unfortunate series of events the supercharger upgrade was delayed due to RSC in the USA being unable to deliver, so we went back to the drawing board to research an alternative blower from a reputable company and decided to look into GMR in the UK who had just finished developing a new blower for the V8 Vantage. Instead of relying only on reviews, to make sure that this was a good product, Robin our company owner, personally flew to the UK to test drive the prototype car and see the GMR supercharger in action. Impressed with the build quality and performance improvements a decision was made to go ahead and the GMR600 supercharger kit was ordered.
Once the charger had arrived and was unpacked, the customer was called and the car was brought back to the workshop to have the charger fitted. The complete GMR600 consists of the latest Eaton TVS supercharger, does away with an intercooler and is replaced with GMR’s own, very efficient, Geyser water injection charge-cooling system to lower intake and combustion temperatures.
With our vast experience of fitting superchargers over 24 years of being in business, we can honestly say that the build quality of the GMR supercharger was superb and installation was a breeze. Once everything was in, the Aston Martin was strapped to the dyno for a custom tune and after a few hours of us making our adjustments the supercharger managed to add an additional 97kW (130hp) at the wheels to make an excellent peak power of 340kW (455hp) at the wheels.
To finish the supercharger install off, we weren’t entirely happy with how the electronically actuated, active exhaust system was working with the addition of forced induction, so we came up with the novel idea of making it boost pressure actuated using a two Turbosmart wastegates that are designed to open the exhaust active bypass valves at around 3psi.
Before the car was returned we fitted a very light dry carbon bonnet and spoiler to finish off the look. Now with the project finished and back with the customer, having the chance to personally drive this car, I can say it is one very fast and very exciting Supercharged Aston Martin V8 Vantage.