There is a big debate over the use of turbochargers in naturally aspirate motors, especially amongst drag racers. New turbo technology makes it so that every combustion engine with enough exhaust flow can benefit from the boost generated by a turbos’ compact and powerful fin turbine. This generates air pressures that boost a motor’s horsepower potential.
Though every engine can be turbocharged, that doesn’t mean some naturally aspirated car owners would want to add them to the power plant currently residing under the hood. A combination of power and traction is required to control an engine’s potential and transfer it to the wheels.
One place where you see the turbo versus non-turbo debate is at the local drag strip or race track. Many of the racers have different experiences when it comes to boosting the parts installed.
Drivers who have small displacement motors may choose to include a turbo to get the response they need on a race track when they push their RPM to the limit. These foreign made “rice burners” could never compete against some of the big displacement muscle car motors that you’ll find on the race tracks. Not without adding a powerful turbo to their engine package. This may be the perfect solution for them, but it is not something a big displacement engine owner considers when they want to increase the power and performance, as well as transfer of that power to the streets through the wheels.
The first fallacy of turbos is that you get extra power at any throttle opening. This is false. A turbo compression wheel does not create maximum boost until the throttle is in a WOT (wide open throttle) position for a number of seconds. You may never WOT a throttle around town streets as a turbo would let the daily driver down when it comes to throttle response.
Now that you know the downside of turbo power, you can see why a big muscle car motor might do better with nitrous oxide and a monitoring system for heat. Heat is the number one power robbing component in the combustion engine. Adding a turbo will only add to the build-up of heat inside the combustion chambers. This robs the motor of its power building abilities when trying to get the most horsepower to the wheels. Find out from a wheel supplier which wheels will complement the turbo you have.
Large displacement motors and pickup trucks are susceptible to these environments more than any other engine. Running hot laps back and forth can generate engine busting temperatures that can be exacerbated by a turbo’s added heat induction. Often, the larger and heavier cars use turbos to increase the power for forward momentum. Diesel is also usually used in these vehicles because of the initial power and fuel needed to accelerate these vehicles.
If you have a large displacement drag car that operates on staged nitrous oxide induction, you might not want to add a turbo because it won’t make much of a difference. Turbos are great if the vehicle is able to suitably control the power of the wheels, drive shaft, tyres and the engine.