It’s been rumored at, hinted at, but never proven to exist… until now. What you see before you, in the first photos anywhere, is ProCharger‘s brand-new F-3X-143 centrifugal supercharger, designed to take heads-up racing – and other forms of racing – by storm. It will be on display during this week’s PRI Show in Indianapolis installed on Marty Robertson’s “Badfish” Pro Drag Radial Hemi-powered ’68 Barracuda.
This thing is going to be for the guy that doesn’t want to go to a set of twins, and really wants the simplicity of the supercharger. – Erik Radzins, ProCharger
Like ProCharger’s other designs, the F-3X-143 uses the same billet gearcase material and 7075-T6 aircraft-aluminum impeller construction that’s all designed and manufactured in-house. The company has made the investment in a brand-new five-axis CNC machining center to accommodate construction of the impellers.
“We have not only the largest engineering staff in the industry, but also the industry’s most capable test lab to help develop our products,” says ProCharger’s Ken Jones. “What we don’t have in-house is a Brad Anderson Hemi that’s capable of 3,500 horsepower in a racecar that we’re going to race. We work with so many high-quality customers who we can partner with to not just get the testing and data done on one car and one engine, but on multiple cars and engines that gives you the confidence that everything’s operating as desired. Multiple data points is just huge.”
One concern for many racers currently using turbocharging as a power-adder is that there are many challenges to doing so in a drag racing application; the starting line process is complicated and can be challenging, especially in terms of repeatability.
That’s where Jones says the ProCharger F-3X-143 excels. In addition to the easier process of getting the car to the starting line, supercharging can be easier on transmissions and torque converters – not to mention the cost-effectiveness, as there’s only one unit required. Along the same lines, plumbing and installation challenges are greatly reduced with a single supercharger due to the smaller packaging requirements in the nose of the vehicle.
“This thing is going to be for the guy that doesn’t want to go to a set of twins, and really wants the simplicity of the supercharger,” says ProCharger’s Erik Radzins.
The supercharger system has been developed with the idea of using a gear-drive from a third-party provider such as The Supercharger Store or Chris Alston and comes outfitted with the hub for use with these designs. If the racer has an existing gear drive, the F-3X-143 will bolt right up with no changes.
The company also has its F-3X-150 design currently in the developmental stages. The F-3X-150 uses the same exterior dimensions as the F-3X-143, but opens up the inducer another 7 mm to provide even more airflow capability. Jones says it will be capable of producing 3,500-plus horsepower.
AVAILABILITY: Late 1st Quarter 2016
The New Pro Race Bypass Valve
ProCharger also has a brand-new Pro Race bypass valve they’ll be releasing at PRI this week. Although it appears similar to the company’s existing Race Bypass, the Pro Race Bypass is in fact an all-new item that offers a number of advantages.
“There are two pistons inside the valve. It takes half the amount of vacuum to operate it, and it holds twice the amount of pressure, so there’s no reason for a guy to ever have to run a CO2 bottle to hold it shut anymore,” says Radzins.
The high-flow design does have an internal spring, but it’s only used to close the valve when the engine is off to prevent foreign objects from entering the assembly.
The 2.5-pound Pro Race valve weighs only one-half pound more than the current Race valve, and since the new design can replace a pair of the Race Bypass valves, a weight savings can be realized on weight-conscious racecars.
The Pro Race bypass valve uses a 3-inch-diameter V-band mounting assembly, reducing the need to stand the valve away from the tubing to access the fasteners in the older design. Additionally, the Pro Race bypass can be mounted to a 3-inch-diameter tubing assembly for those racers using 3-inch inlet piping, such as with an F-1X application.
The pistons feature Teflon seals for durability and use an O-ring and 45-degree metal-on-metal contact for 100-percent sealing ability. The new Pro Race bypass valve goes hand-in-hand with the release of the F-3X-143 as one valve has enough capacity to handle the new supercharger.
“The air chamber for the vacuum and boost can get to the top of both pistons independently, so the surface area is multiplied to twice its size for the given diameter,” says Radzins.
“The ports on the bottom that let the air out are much larger, so when the piston moves up, the surface area is much greater than the previous design. The entry hole is three inches in diameter, but the vent slots add up to much greater surface area than three inches. The last thing you want is a hole with three inches of entry but not enough surface area to let the pressure out.”
Keep in mind that both Pro Race and Race Bypass valves will continue in production, as there are many less-aggressive combinations that can use of the existing design with solid results. The Pro Race is designed for all-out competition applications.
AVAILABILITY: Late 1st Quarter 2016
If past performances of ProCharger-equipped racers is any indication, the performance of these new pieces will be in the winner’s circle in no time.