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28 February 2007

Which Blower?

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I was fortunate enough to be asked to drive the new range of Supercharged tvrs from tvr Power and AutoDesign last week at Mallory Park. Though it rained (a lot) it was still a great day. Why wouldn’t it be? Being given the keys to not one, but four highly modified tvrs at a Track…tvr heaven!

So how were they? First the SC450. This is a completely standard 450 Chimeara with the supercharger fitted to its 4.5L Rover V8. With everything else standard, tyres, brakes, suspension etc how would it fair? Well as you will know by now, I am a big fan of this conversion and the car didn’t disappoint. As I have said before the figures are academic as the feel of the car impresses much more than the 340-360 bhp claimed. Power is relentless and seamless. The nature of the “Blowers” allows you to feed in the power effortlessly and without the feeling that you have a tiger by the tail. As it was soaking wet when I drove this car I could press too hard. Suffice to say it would wheelspin at 80mph on a wet track.

Next the SC500. It was hard to prize the keys for this car from Marc Hockin’s grubby mit. Marc drives the tvr Power Challenge Griff and is awaiting his SC500 engine for it as we speak so as you can imagine he was very keen to get his hands on the test car keys. Marc, Myself and Howard Bryan (Sprint Editor and Challenge driver) had been asked along as the cars were felt to be a bit of a handful in the wet for those unaccustomed to this level of power. Speaking of which, the power from this car was awesome. No other word for it. The test car had its wick turned down a bit on the day to overcome some minor pinking and was without an intercooler but even so it was the automotive version of a guided missile. SC500? It would suggest “Exocet” maybe more appropriate. 400bhp should be reasonable for this car when completely fettled which is the same as the “monster griff” but I would imagine it should feel like more and be more accessible. On the day the pedals weren’t set for heel and toeing so I nearly disappeared into the scenery at 140nph as I changed down for Gerards Corner and the rears broke grip, but we saved it and made the corner…wheelspinning out of the exit to hide my embarrassment!

Finally, the familiar (to me atleast) SC400. This is the car I drove at Spa (again with Marc Hockin) last year on our “Monster International” though it was now sporting black metallic paint and a beautifully re-trimmed interior to show off tvr Powers latest trimming service. This is still my favoutite. As the car has so many test miles on it, it is completely bedded in. It has the same brakes as mine and handles very well. Another plus is that the easy revving nature of the 4.0 feels very close to my 5.0 race engine, all of which flatters my driving. I spent a good hour and a half taking people round in this car, power sliding and drifting - and it never missed a beat. Power is not a million miles away from its big brothers (although this gap will increase) and it is extremely well behave and flexible. Currently my pick of the bunch!

If you are thinking of upgrading, modifying or changing your RV8 car for the bigger model, I’d strongly suggest that you test drive one of these cars first. I really can’t see a downside here and at around £6.5k…they are exceptional value. Remember, I am comparing these engines favourably to my own…which cost £16k when built!

My thanks to Dom (tvr Power), Colin & David (AutoDesign) for a great day. It really was a pleasure!

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