ProCharger C7 Intercoolers: It’s all about PERFORMANCE and TESTING!

*** For VIDEO click on IMAGE ***
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We thought we would do a more "technical" blog than usual, and offer some insight into the testing that goes into intercooler development. Here we'll illustrate how we use "real world" data to evaluate how the aerodynamics of a vehicle's body affect the performance of an air-to-air intercooler.

In previous C7 Corvette blogs we talked about core design and track testing, so this time we're going to focus more on what "track testing" means, and how different versions of the intercooler are evaluated.

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When ProCharger began R&D for the C7 Stingray supercharger system, we determined that a "one-size-fits-all" approach to the intercooler was not an ideal solution. Lets be honest, the Corvette is not a "one-size-fits-all" performance vehicle, given the variety of racing mediums customers use them in. To ensure a customer has the ultimate air-to-air intercooler for their needs, two versions of the intercooler system was created (Vertical and Horizontal.) Customers using their C7's for 1/4 mile drag racing or standing mile racing, can benefit from our outstanding vertical intercoolers advantages. And those using their cars on a road course application, will prefer our horizontal intercooler, that allows maximum engine cooling for long durations.

So lets dive into what steps were taken to ensure both of these ProCharger air-to-air intercoolers for the C7 were the undisputed industry leader.

LOCATION: First and foremost we knew it would take both a road course and drag strip to collect the data we needed for proper evaluation. The Heartland Park racetrack is located close to the ProCharger facility and offers up not only a world-class road course, but also an NHRA drag strip. This allows us to test the same car on both tracks, on the same day, with the same weather and conditions (thus eliminating changing variables that could otherwise skew the performance data).

(Full Complex Arial View)
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(Road Course Layout, used for Testing)
hpt_layout.jpgDATA COLLECTION: Three separate laptops were on board recording nearly every engine parameter (that's right THREE separate data acquisition systems), as well as pressure and temperatures at different locations on the supercharger system. For good measure we also used video and photography to capture aerodynamic effects.

ProCharger C7 Supercharger Data Collection

(It took 3 laptops on board to capture all data each run)
ProCharger C7 Supercharger Data Collection

TEAM: We wanted to keep the amount of cool down time between laps and passes constant, so each time the car would come in from a track session, all the vehicle data had to be logged and saved, and the entire intercooler system had to be swapped to test each design. To make sure all this happened quickly and consistently, a team of ProCharger staff worked feverishly with the skill and speed of a professional endurance race team.

(Changing Intercoolers)
Changing ProCharger Corvette Supercharger Intercoolers

DRIVER: All the testing equipment in the world will do no good if the driver can't perform consistently on each pass and lap, and ProCharger is lucky to have AMA and ASRA licensed road racer Walt Sipp on our sales staff. Lap after lap, hour after hour, Walt's driving abilities allowed him to push the Corvette to the limit, yet still retain consistent precision.

(Walt prepping before testing)
Walt Sipp Drives ProCharger C7 Corvette

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Now for the test results, starting with the Vertical intercooler and followed by the Horizontal variations tested.

ProCharged supercharged C7 Drag Strip Stingray

Vertical Intercooler Testing: Absolutely lowest IAT's, PERIOD. With a nearly non-existent pressure drop, the Vertical intercooler option is perfect for high-HP street cars, whether on the drag strip or long pulls down the highway. However, with the stock radiator and engine cooling system, this unit may not be ideal for road-racing with extreme multi-lap sessions at wide open throttle. Enter the Horizontal intercooler option.

(Vertical Intercooler)
ProCharger Corvette C7 Vertical Intercooler Supercharger

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(135mph entrance to turn one)
ProCharger C7 Corvette 2014

Horizontal Intercooler Testing: We tested several versions of scoops, flaps, diffusers, etc to determine what the best fitment and the most effective cooling. Though none of the Horizontal intercooler options tested (regardless of flaps, scoops, size, etc) could match the Vertical intercooler's low IAT's, the Horizontal intercooler still has its merits--some of the versions that stood out from the rest are illustrated below ...

(Horizontal Intercooler)
ProCharger Corvette C7 Horizontal Intercooler SuperchargerFirst Test Group:
3.5" thick ProCharger cores (to mimic competitors' available units)

A. Enclosed scoop, forward-facing, top of core
B. Factory flap, behind core opening

Second Test Group:
4.5" thick ProCharger cores

(C) No scoop/flap, just open hole to ground
(D) Factory flap, behind core opening
(E) Factory flap, in front of core opening
(F) Extended flap, behind core opening
(G) Extended flap, in front of core opening
(H) Enclosed scoop, forward-facing, bottom of core
(I) Enclosed scoop, forward-facing, top of core
(J) Enclosed scoop, forward-facing, bottom of core, extended
(K) Multi-vane wings, forward-facing, bottom of core
(L) Multi-vane wings, rear-facing, bottom of core

So what does this all mean? Here is a quick breakdown of the notable tests, with images of a few of the options tested.

(A) and (I) = Poor Performance
Testing of these units had to be aborted due poor IAT's and ECT overheating, likely due to the amount of air the scoop steals away from the radiator just behind it.

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(H) and (J) = Moderate Performance These units performed well in terms of IAT's and ECT, however aerodynamic problems occurred after above 135+ mph. The nose of the vehicle would lift causing "push" when cornering, and the braking transition was sketchy. For safety reasons, no testing about 140 mph was performed.

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(D) = Good Performance This was the first unit to ship with our systems and performed well. However, the intercooler flaps that are intended to route air toward the core create a ground clearance issue for lowered vehicles, and have a tendency to lay over at higher speeds. The IAT's and ECT also performed adequately, though not the best of the options we tested.

c7_bottomflap420.jpg

(L) = Best Performance
This unit could spend all day on the road course (at least until you ran out of gas, tires, or brakes). The IAT's stayed exactly the same on each lap, the ECT stayed exactly the same (stock), no aerodynamic changes of the car were observed, and great ground clearance was achieved (even on lowered C7's). This version wasn't too far behind the Vertical unit in terms of low IAT's and it has the same high-flowing core as the Vertical with nearly no pressure drop. This is the perfect unit for cars that will be at WOT for long periods of time, and/or in harsh, high-heat climates. Even though the unit is drawing air from underneath the car, the ground clearance is still close to factory.

ProCharger C7 Corvette Supercharger Intercooler Diffuser Scoop CAD

(Shown with intercooler)
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So there you have it, a glimpse into the real-world testing and R&D, with data to back it up. For more than 20 years, ProCharger supercharger systems have been a premium product, consistently proven to be the top performer on the drag strip, the street, and the road course!

If you are looking for the Ultimate Power Adder® for your C7 Corvette Stingray at power levels from 650-1200+ HP, look no further and call ProCharger today at 913-338-2886.

If you already have a ProCharged C7 that you want to share with the world, please check out our FACEBOOK page, or tag us at #procharger

(Aftermath of only a few laps on fresh tires)
ProCharger C7 Corvette Tires on Road Course Supercharger