SuperSpec Cup Power Area tuning
Optimizing power area for SuperSpec Cup
What is area under the curve?
Tuning your engine for best power under the curve can lower lap times more than tuning for peak power. SuperSpec Cup engine rules limit peak power, peak torque and most critically, power area. Power area describes the total amount of power below redline. This matters because we have gears that drop revs well below redline with each shift. An SSC spends a lot more time in the 5500-6500 rev range than it does at 6500-7000. So the actual power the car makes at say 5800rpm has a greater effect on how hard it accelerates off a turn than how much power it makes at 6800. We think of it in terms of average power per lap. When the driver exits the turn at say 5000rpm, this car would be making 124whp. It accelerates slower than it does at 140whp so it spends more time at 5000 than it does at 7000. With full analysis, we can determine the average power an SSC makes per lap and it’s always going to be a number between the lowest rpm reached during the lap, usually around 4200rpm and peak power at 7000. If two cars exit a turn at 5000 with the same peak power at 7000 but one makes 5 more whp at 5000, we know which car will get to the next braking zone first. This is why there is a rule for power area. Looking over the dyno plots submitted by SSC drivers, we see that not all car owners are taking the extra time to tune the power from 5000 through the 7000 peak.
The plot above is from the car that won the 2015 and 2016 championship. Notice that it doesn’t make peak power at 7000 and is only making 137whp peak. As a result of careful tuning, it probably made 3-5more whp between 5000-6000 than some other cars, which is where the drag race to the next braking zone starts.
Most healthy BP engines with header and high flow intake tubes will make well over 140whp if maxed out. This allows the tuner to strategically shape the power area to give the most power over the widest area. Take advantage of this part of the rules to optimize your car.