Images: René Vermeer & Damian Smuts
We just had to get the stars to align this year. We’ve been wanting to check out the Turbosmart headquarters for some time now, but every year we attend the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge, we’re flat off out and never get the chance. It’s also always an awkward time for them too, being the day before World Time Attack.
This year was it though; we locked it in! I sell Turbosmart product through my day job at North Shore Toyota Parts, as we’re the New Zealand distributor for the product, so we teed it up with the team to take us through this expansive facility.
After touching down on Australian soil, we collected our rental car, jumped in, and made our way to the Turbosmart HQ, stopping off on the way to taste Australia’s finest cuisine; Red Rooster. After being thoroughly disappointed in the budget KFC wannabe meal, we pulled in the Turbosmart gates, met the crew, and made our way into the workshop.
The team and I were instantly taken aback by the scale of this workshop. Nothing even comes close in little old New Zealand. First, we made our way to the raw material section, where Brendan would go through each and every material and its uses within the product range.
While this was going on, it was a good time to peep through into the boxes of stock, where half-machined components were carefully placed ready for assembly and anodizing.
Now the exciting part… The heavy machinery! The Turbosmart building is covered in solar panels, which on a good sunny month, means that up to 90% of the power is paid for. This makes running heavy machinery such as this much, much cheaper.
One thing we noticed about the Turbosmart assembly line, is that it’s immaculate. Every workbench was impeccable, with each and every worker taking incredible pride in their respective jobs.
Another great find was the original Turbosmart time attack Mazda RX-7 FC. Powered by a PAC Performance 13B-rotary engine with a GTX4088R turbo, it’s no slouch but hasn’t been raced since 2011/12 — in World Time Attack Challenge no less.
Sporting the wild engine setup, it also needs the stopping power to match, which the team handled with ginormous Project Mu calipers — front and rear. It was great running into this machine. In its day, it would have been competitive. In today’s competition, probably not so much.
Turbosmart head honcho Stewart Mahony took over the tour reins and decided to walk us through some of the assembly himself, of the latest Gen V external wastegate range.
It’s incredibly interesting how simple these components are to put together. But, the design and attention to detail are flawless. From the shape of the valves to the heights of the diaphragm, to the materials used — it’s all of the highest quality.
Turbosmart has added a ‘Motorsport’ range to their existing lineup. These feature a longer valve, with a diaphragm that is much higher off the wastegate. In their destructive testing, they were literally unable to destroy and overheat it. We were told these units have so far, been unbreakable. How many manufacturers can say that? Not many!
The ‘Motorsport’ wastegate range is great for applications in which the wastegate itself has little to no airflow to keep it cool. For example, an R35 GT-R with a twin turbo aftermarket setup more than likely has the external wastegates sitting atop the bellhousing. There’s no airflow there, and wastegates commonly get hot in these applications.
A new feature to the Gen V range of wastegates is the water-cooling. When we asked why you would water cool a wastegate when they have the ‘Motorsport’ model available, we got a very good answer. Stewart told us the water-cooled wastegate is for applications where the wastegate itself is causing excessive heat in the engine bay, which is damaging other components around it. Whereas the ‘Motorsport’ wastegate has been designed to improve the life of the wastegate itself.
Finally, we made our way into the blow-off valve and boost controller area. Staff were kind enough to show us how they are put together after giving us a demonstration on how to properly test a blow-off valve.
You can’t leave the Turbosmart HQ without getting a shot of their GIANT wastegate and blow-off valve! These things are way cooler in person than you’d think.
All in all, an incredible day with the Turbosmart and North Shore Toyota Parts team. We gained so much knowledge and a much greater respect for all of the components involved to make a reliable turbocharger system. We’ll be back for sure, and we’ll get some photos of the Turbosmart stand at World Time Attack.