There was simply no comparison of the power in and out of the turns and top speed at the end of the straight. Had we put two cars on the track and run them for 50 laps, the Chip-equipped car would have finished at least two laps ahead!
HOLDEN VS Commodore, V6, Auto
Std Powerchip
60-100km/h (Power/Drive) 5.12 4.31
80-120km/h (Power/Drive) 6.51 5.30

PARTING (CHIP) SHOT

The most striking aspect of this test (apart from the lower times), was the consistency of the results gathered. And that's what you want on the road - consistency. Something that really works.

Overall, Powerchip's claims that its product reduces engine harshness, smoothes the shift points and increases all-round performance seem to be right on the money. But it forgot to mention its Chips solved flatspots, cure 'surging' and eliminated 'gear

hunt' - or that they don't cost a fortune, are guaranteed, can be installed by anybody (and quickly too) and can be mail ordered (with a full set of instructions and special tools, if necessary).

The gains measured during the test were impressive - considering most only had a Chip fitted. Importantly, the power and torque curves improved throughout the rev range - dispelling the theory that Chips only

produce extra power because of the extended redline. Naturally, a complete package (Chip, air filter and exhaust) would be the ideal way to go, and would result in sharper times.

In the future, Powerchip promises even more exciting developments. Whatever path it decides to take, it can only be good news for enthusiasts.

Why not chip away at the performance envelope yourself?


PLUG-IN PACKAGING
An increasing number of vehicles are now being produced with sealed ECUs which were first thought to be 'unchippable'. Their development was not a matter of bloody-mindedness on the part of the manufactures, but rather one of manufacturing technology and economy.

A fully-sealed unit offers the benefits of being protected from the elements, minimises the chances of damage and interference and fits nicely with new service policies of remove-and-replace rather than remove-and-repair!

Ford started the trend as far back as 1984 and since then many manufactures, particularly European, have adopted the same production techniques. For a while, they had the chip tuners beaten.

That's no longer the case and the latest developments, such as the Powerchip ICON, now offer a vast range of possibilities for retuning the 'unchippable' ECU.

The ICON is a self contained engine management computer which 'plugs in' to the car's existing ECU or computer system - working at much faster speeds and intercepting then recalculating signals to remap, literally 'on the run'.

In some cases, (Mercedes Benz for example), the ICON simply plugs in via the OEM unit's diagnostic port - it is simple, foolproof and effective. On those vehicles which offer diagnostic downloading, this is the way to go.

Switchable features enable the motorist to change from standard Unleaded to Premium Unleaded - each with its own individual program.

On other completely sealed units however, it's a matter of tapping into the ECU wiring loom. This is quite straightforward.

One of the major benefits of the ICON is that it is re-programmable - even

while the engine is running - offering tremendous potential for custom set-up and tuning.

THE 'TOTAL' performance workshop of the Nineties. Whitecoats and whitegloves replace overalls and grease!

Taking the concept even further is the Powerchip ICON Race, a unit developed for normally-aspirated vehicles running 'conventional' coil and distributing ignition systems. The 'Race' comes with its own ignition mapping software and a small programming adaptor which plugs into the parallel port of any lap or desktop PC - allowing you to alter ignition timing by up to 20 percent at home or in the workshop.

It is the ICON - and units like it - which are paving the way to the future and opening the doors to engine management technology which until now, has been the sole realm of the manufacture.

Australian Road & Track

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