One of the nicer aspects of the recent trend in turbocharging performance engines is the way tuning has evolved to suit. Most tuners know full well that an engine’s peak performance resides on the safe side of knocking, so they tune as closely as possible before the intervention of the factory knock sensor, which pull ignition timing at the first sign of detonation.
So, what if you could make your street/track day car’s current combination more knock resistant so that you could advance timing and make more power? Extracting the utmost power from a forced induction engine requires more aggressive timing tables, and to do this safely, one needs high-grade fuel which will better resist detonation. However, the kind of high-octane racing fuel which makes this tuning possible isn’t always available to the enthusiast or even practical for the application.
If you intend on sticking with pump gas, easily-obtained octane booster could be your ticket to serious gains. One can of VP Racing Octanium Unleaded™ is said to boost ten gallons of pump fuel by up to seven octane numbers. At this point, it should be noted that this means a tank full of 93-octane fuel can increase up to 100 octane. Other boosters promise gains of octane points, but one point is equivalent to one-tenth of a total number—seventy points are the same as seven octane numbers.
With Octanium Unleaded, the results can be real and immediate. The turbocharged engines in the Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST have proven how receptive they are to modifications. When good fuel is introduced into the equation, these small motors can safely run more boost, run more ignition timing, and run more compression—all of which improves output. On a lightly modified 2013 Focus ST running pump fuel, one can of Octanium Unleaded picked up nine horsepower and eighteen lb-ft of torque. When added to a tank full of 99-octane in a lightly tuned Fiesta ST, the engine picked up 24 horsepower—an improvement of seven percent!
VP says that Octanium Unleaded helps eliminates knocking or “pinging,” cleans fuel injectors, eliminates gum and varnish build up, and improves throttle response and acceleration. Lastly, it will not foul plugs, it will not damage a catalytic converter, and it will not empty a wallet. For inexpensive gains in performance, there aren’t many ways as effective, nor many as easy.