The final part of the Engine Masters Challenge for the builders was the three competition pulls. These three dyno passes would be averaged together to find the horsepower and torque numbers used to develop each entrant's score. The ability of an engine to make consistent power over three runs is the key to winning the title, and factors like temperature increase from pull-to-pull becomes paramount. For our readers, this filters out engines making one "good" pull and not being able to back it up immediately. It sidesteps the "peaky" engines that don't make tremendous average power, but do well only within a slim rpm window. It's what makes the Engine Masters Challenge hard, and why it's such a big deal to win. Note that all of the power figures shown here (both peaks and averages) are derived from accumulated data averaged over the three "competition" dyno runs, and peaks on individual passes showed both higher and lower numbers. By sharing the average data, we can confidently post these numbers and know each of these engines can easily claim the power figures we've printed.
SummaryWith the results posted, the testing complete, and the unofficial winner named, we had the chance to look over the field and come to a few conclusions regarding 92-octane big-blocks, the Engine Masters Challenge, and street performance.
The 92-octane gasoline is key to making the Challenge both exciting and unpredictable. Builders are learning to squeeze the most out of these limited octane engines and really make some incredible power. We heard many participants and sponsors asking for higher (race-level) octane to truly showcase the potential within both the engines and the builders. We had to turn them down, and in fact we'd rather run the Challenge on 87-octane than 110-octane.
We genuinely feel the actual power numbers generated in the Challenge are less important than the competition itself. Seeing a variety of professional engine builders doing their best to work with the same 92-octane gas our readers fight with was refreshing. Knowing some of the best tuners on the planet were having to develop ways around low compression to make big average power numbers is beneficial to our readers, and in the long run, will be beneficial to all. Learning to curb detonation and preignition in low compression engines will guide researchers and racers to better efficiency by eliminating the hot spots where pinging starts. Using Engine Masters Challenge winners as models for street performance engines is a good move, and it starts with the capability to burn pump gas effectively when the engine is up to operating temperature and being heavily loaded. This is what we do in the Challenge, and is also why we do it in this manner.
The Engine Masters Challenge program, as a whole, is a good thing. It brings together an eclectic mix of builders and philosophies, and runs them against each other head-to-head. There is room for improvement, however, and we're not blind to it. The logistics behind shipping engines across the country, the difficulty of developing a truly fair rules package fair to all makes, and the need to effectively load and unload engines during testing are all being addressed for next year's rumble. We learned plenty, and the program will continue to evolve toward a higher level of competition. Look forward to where we're headed, as we're confident you'll be as excited as we are.