After hearing numerous rumblings about some of the staggering horsepower numbers coming out of the Lone Star state, we decided to pop in on one such event and see for ourselves whether these guys had the muscle to back up their bold claims. We were not let down.
Twice a year the Houston Performance Driving Club has a battle of the big guns in Texas, once up north in Dallas/Fort Worth, and once down south in Houston. And believe me, you've never seen such a heated contest for bragging rights as at this event. It was decided to break up the event into two days, with the top five qualifiers from Houston dynoing on Saturday night, then the top five from D/FW hitting the rollers early on Sunday morning. Best of all, the event is only open to real live street-driven cars.
When the time came on Saturday for the first car to be strapped down, Tiago Salies' twin turbo '99 Trans Am got the nod. Spinning those big drums to a best of 952hp at the wheels, he definitely set the bar very high for the other entrants. But he wouldn't be highest.
Houston went on to score 781hp from the 2JZ-powered S14 Silvia, owned by Duy Bui, followed by Dennis Jason's blown nitrous-equipped Camaro SS. He was able to post a best run of 880hp, even with his clutch slipping for most of the run. Not to be outdone by a domestic, Kareem Omar's black single-turbo Supra cranked out a staggering 960hp on the DynoJet dyno.
But as they are known to do, the boys from the South saved their best for last. For Stephane Courcelle to make his run with the gorgeous anthracite grey Supra, they not only used every strap they had in the shop, they even had the two biggest guys in the shop sit in the trunk for extra weight on the tires. It turns out they would need it. On Stephane's second run he laid down an astounding 1140hp, all while spinning his tires at nearly 200mph on the dyno. But he said it had more in it, so there had to be one more run. Not for points, but just to be the king. While spitting 4 ft. fireballs out of the tailpipe, the guys at Ross Motorsports found out the hard way that their dyno stops at 1200hp. He not only pegged the dyno, but he held it at over 1200hp for the last 10-15% of his run. Stephane believes on a higher capacity dyno he has the ability to make well over 1300hp from the healthy 3.4L stroker 2JZ.
After closing up shop and heading out for a nice plate of dead cow at a local watering hole, some of the more rambunctious members of the group decided to embark on a more "real-world" test of their automotive mettle. Fortunately for them, no one was arrested, but a few did show up the next morning slightly hung over. The cool morning air would prove beneficial for some of the D/FW contestants, but would it be enough to beat Houston's total of 4713hp? Keep in mind that's an average of 943hp per car.
The first car up for D/FW was a black twin-turbo Viper, owned by Kelly Martin. Due to some crippling tuning issues, he was only able to make 649hp. This setup has been proven to make over 900hp on other Vipers, though. Next up to try and pull it out of the ditch for the North was Brian Hodges and his silver Viper. With a built motor and no turbo, it was very impressive that he was able to best the turbo Viper with a run of 694hp using only a conservative spray of nitrous. Following him was the red Supra of Ryan Bailey. On an internally stock 2JZ he ripped off a very impressive 760hp run. Maybe D/FW would pull out the win after all?
Next to last was Phillip Stanley's little red Corvette. A stout dose of boost from the supercharger netted him a best of 602hp, so things were starting to look just a bit doubtful for the overall win. But D/FW was also trying to save the best for last. So their final entrant would be a rather basic looking white Supra, coincidentally owned by the shop owner himself, Ross Baird. Now Ross' car is no dyno queen, it's built strictly for numbers of the 1320 variety. But once again proving its reputation of being a wolf in sheep's clothing, he spun the dyno to a best of 885hp. Not bad for a street driven Supra that gets beat on at the track with regularity. Even more impressive was that through his three runs the horsepower number never fluctuated more than 3hp. Now that is a well-tuned car! Imagine what it could do if it wasn't giving up part of its horsepower to that TH400 automatic transmission.
So D/FW had to take second place this time with an average of 718hp per car, and a total of 3,590hp. I'm sure plenty of you would like to be the loser that has "only" 718hp. But they'll be ready for next time when the boasts start flying again, and everyone will have a chance to put up or shut up. We can't wait...