Map your car’s future

Even a performance car could do with a few more horses under the bonnet and the good news is that any car is just a minor remap away from more power. With so many performance cars on the roads, especially in London or Essex, it’s nice to know that yours is King of the Hill thanks to a subtle tweak that nobody can see.

Virtually every engine, from every manufacturer, is limited, meaning it simply isn’t allowed to run at the top of its game. Manufacturers err on the side of caution, keeping the power, torque and revs artificially hobbled in the name of longevity, emissions, smoothness and plain consistency. If you want to unleash a little added power, though, the answer lies with ECU and engine remapping.

Modern cars, whether it’s a Ferrari, Maserati or Ford, are governed by electronics. Every ECU comes loaded with power maps that determine the peak performance, the torque and, ultimately, the speed of the car.

Expert tuners have their own, more aggressive maps, that can simply be written over the top of the original software. At the touch of a button your car will feel faster, more responsive and just more fun to drive. You can gain as much as 25% more horsepower without a single mechanical upgrade; it really is a case of just tweaking the software that governs the car’s parts.

The remap generally focuses on the ignition timing, the mixture of air and fuel and boost pressure on turbo cars, as well as raising rev limits and removing any software-imposed speed limiter. It can also be done in stages, so you don’t need to have the full-bore effect unless you really want it.

It isn’t all about performance, though. Some companies prefer to have their fleets tuned for better fuel economy, which can make big savings over the course of a year.

Remapping is an art and you certainly don’t want to trust the ‘one-size-fits-all’ chips you see advertised on the internet. Instead it’s important to know that you’re dealing with an established company that takes pride in their work, deals with each model and engine capacity on an individual basis, be it a Ford Focus or a Bugatti Veyron and takes time to reverse engineer the manufacturer’s own maps before creating new parameters that will give your car that little extra pep.

Photo: 1987 Ferrari Testarossa Engine by Bonnett licensed under Creative commons 2