Fancy a 520bhp car that can deliver 0-60mph in 3.1 secs or less? That’s as good around town as it is on the strip or track? How does 0-100mph in 7.1 secs and 30-130mph in 11.1 sound? You’ll be needing one of our all-new IS38ETR V2 turbo’s then!
Introduce yourself and Owen Developments – what does the company do & how did the company start?
The business was established in 1980 by Brian Owen.
Owen Developments is one of Europe’s premier high performance forced induction specialists, with a proven track record of supplying turbochargers to a global customer base covering the motorsport, performance aftermarket and OEM sectors.
Brian’s history was working in the ‘special tuning’ department in the Abingdon-based MG factory, designing, developing, building & running the Mini rally cars through the late ’60s & ’70s.
He was also part of the team that developed the legendary Metro 6R4 group B rally car.
He believed the turbocharger was going to be a big thing in the automotive industry in the future so he set up his own company, Owen Developments, built around machining products, fabricating and turbochargers, where he continued to manufacture components for the now legendary 6R4 rally car.
Who do you work with and what race settings are they used in?
Turbocharging of OEM vehicles escalated quickly and it wasn’t long after that we were contracted with Mitsubishi Motors UK to build new OEM turbos for their warranty scheme alongside carrying out all their turbo remanufacture requirements.
In the mid to late 1980s turbochargers became huge in motorsport and Brian’s roots in motorsport naturally meant that our company moved heavily into the motorsport turbocharger supply chain building many bespoke units and designing and manufacturing the regulated air restrictors.
I joined the company straight from school in 1990 and was put through a traditional 5-year apprenticeship where I spent time at college 1-2 days a week on a vehicle mechanics course for 3 years and then a 2-year engineering course.
Whilst at work I carried out training in our machine shop/fabrication department and turbocharger department before choosing to settle in the turbocharger department knowing it was the career path for me.
I was working on everything from turbocharger remanufacture for local car garages through to OEM remanufacture schemes for the likes of Mitsubishi UK, Mitsubishi Europe, Toyota GB, International motors (Isuzu, Subaru) Daihatsu via Unipart and AA warranties.
As well as motorsport turbo builds/rebuilds for the likes of Prodrive, MSport, Mountune and numerous independent motorsport companies running ex WRC cars.
My passion for motorsport and racing found me always looking for a way to improve the performance or reliability of the race turbos and also build bespoke turbos for motorsport use so I started developing & manufacturing components to be used in these turbochargers from the mid-’90s. By the late 90’s I headed the turbocharger department at Owen Developments.
We continued to work with Prodrive carrying out servicing and some modification of the turbos until the end of Prodrive running the Impreza in WRC. We also worked with MSport on the rebuilds of the Escort Cosworth WRC turbo, also for many years through the mid-2000’s-2013.
Owen’s was one of the only aftermarket companies worldwide to work with Garrett Motorsport to carry out turbocharger servicing/remanufacturing of their motorsport specific turbos known as TR30R that nearly every vehicle manufacturer used in WRC at the time.
In the late 2000’s we built the turbos for the FIA F2 series for the 4 years the series ran.
2010 marked a new chapter for our company where we were extremely proud to be selected by TOCCA as the turbocharger supplier to the prestigious British Touring car championship as they were making the switch to turbocharged engines from NA engines.
*Above three images courtesy of BTCC
We still hold this relationship as the sole partner 10 years on and it’s something we are extremely proud to be involved with. Similar relationships were also then forged with the Mini Challenge race series, Indy Lights in the USA working with AER and the China Touring Car Championship and Focus Cup that we are currently sole turbo supplier for all series to this day.
We cover all forms of motorsport from rally, circuit, endurance, rallycross, drag racing, hill climb, drift, truck racing, sprint, autocross and more.
We also worked with numerous vehicle-specific tuning companies for the last 20+ years to produce uprated Hybrid turbocharger applications for their specific markets.
Fast road turbos or ‘Hybrids’ as they get branded have also always been a big part of our history and focus. We worked with Mitsubishi to develop the FQ400 limited edition EVO 8, Cosworth for the CS 400 Subaru STI Impreza, Radical RXC6.
Fast road is an important market for us at Owen developments as many of the products that we have developed for motorsport application gets transferred across into our fast road turbo builds to achieve the desired performance requirements of our customers.
In more recent years Owen Developments took the next logical step for our company which was to build on our past and manufacture our own small range of niche OD “GBT” universal performance turbochargers.
Owen Developments also distribute, supply, service/repair and support a vast range of turbocharger manufacturers and turbocharger related products from the likes of Mitsubishi (MHI), Garrett, Borg Warner, Precision Turbo, Forced Performance, Tial Sport, Turbosmart and Forge motorsport, Murray and Motec to name a few.
You’ve had your hands on the V1 ETR, what are the main differences with the V2?
Basically the 2 turbos, although externally housed inside the same OEM castings, are completely different.
Simply put this new, completely redesigned IS38 ETR hybrid makes more power than the original V1 ETR.
The main part is the turbine wheel. We opted to use a larger diameter inducer and exducer with a high flow aero design.
The reason behind this is because VAG models have high exhaust gas flow and you need to pass the exhaust gas through the turbine wheel to generate drive whilst creating the least back pressure possible.
This helps to free extra high-end performance of the engine and a bespoke made OD uprated 360° thrust bearing with increased size thrust pads with 4 direct oil supply galleys.
We have a billet anodised adaptor/seal plate to protect the aluminium from corrosion, lastly, we have installed a 14 blade compressor wheel (instead of the previous 12 blade wheel), which is actually slightly smaller on the inducer diameter but slightly larger on the exducer diameter.
The high-efficiency aero design of the compressor wheel has a higher ‘lbs per min’ airflow and compliments the high flow turbine wheel aero perfectly to give the V2 ETR an improved power figure and overall drivability over the V1 ETR.
The red aero 71mm HTA billet compressor wheel is a custom design. It looks stunning, but how does its blade design improve performance?
The aero of the wheels is totally different. The wheel used in the V2 ETR has a substantially higher efficiency aero that will actually generate higher pressure out of the wheel into the compressor cover at a lower shaft speed than V1 ETR.
Because of the aero gains in the compressor wheel, it allowed us to opt for the fitment of the high flow turbine wheel that complements each other perfectly to extract the most performance out of the turbo/engine.
What is the importance of balancing the CHRA (Centre Housing Rotating Assembly) to motorsport spec?
The balancing of a turbo is very important to its overall performance and reliability.
We spend extra time on balancing to meet our strict tolerance of both the individual component balance of the turbine wheel and compressor wheel and then also of the built CHRA on the VSR (Vibration Sort Rig) to meet the balance target of our motorsport turbo builds.
What benefit does the included red billet muffler delete offer?
The Revo Turbo Muffler Delete offers a high-quality single piece replacement for the OEM part, which allows for smoother uninterrupted airflow, increasing throttle response and providing improved turbo acoustics.
Revo wanted it to look cool, to match the red compressor wheel and red adaptor/seal plate, but the colour is purely for aesthetic benefit.
How long has this V2 unit been in testing and have there been any issues or revisions along the way?
Throughout the testing period there were three units being used globally in order to cover a variety of scenarios. Altitude and fuel quality being two such variables.
We have had no issues and no revisions along the way. Nailed it first go, although I think we could make a larger comp wheel in the future for some more ponies, if needed. 😉
All of the parts are built in house at Owen Developments UK HQ facility. Why?
We do everything in-house simply so that we have total control over the product that we are supplying.
This is an absolutely critical part of the way we operate and allows us to be 100% confident in everything we manufacture.
What’s the importance of the electronic actuator being fully calibrated before the customer buys it?
It’s important for us to calibrate the electronic actuator on each turbo once we have assembled it to make sure they are set to exactly the right voltage/load on the wastegate assembly.
It is a very tight tolerance and a little tricky to set the actuator correctly, then we run a cycle test to check actuator operation to make sure there are no movement issues.
We built a testbed using a Motec M1 ECU and wrote the software in house. This isn’t something you could carry out upgrades or repairs of the OEM turbo without such test/setting equipment.
This is all-important to get the setting correct. So that when the turbo gets fitted to the car there are no issues or fault codes that come up on the vehicle.
Thanks to Lee for the detailed insight. Now let’s take a look at the real-world numbers and performance.
Firstly, let’s look at the ACTUAL benefits of a direct bolt-on hybrid turbo, rather than a full aftermarket solution
A hybrid turbo retains the OE housing, so they’re a direct fit. Aside from the extra power, a direct bolt-on fit is the beauty really.
They use uprated, improved internals & in the case of the IS38 ETR absolutely every component is improved and optimised to deliver the very best performance gains possible.
It’s not only about uprating the compressor and turbine wheels to deliver the extra power. It’s also about ensuring every other component part that makes up the turbo assembly supports the extra power.
What additional performance figures are we seeing?
The ETR IS38 hybrid makes up to 520bhp/580NM with 99ron fuel! Offering a significant increase over the ~300bhp that IS38-equipped cars leave the factory with.
It’s also 12-30bhp and 20-40NM up on the previous V1 ETR turbo (dependant on vehicle, conditions, spec etc).
Quite remarkable when you consider those gains are all down to improved component design allowing further fine-tuning of the software.
On Standard Engine Internals?
Yes. This ETR turbo is designed to be used with standard engine internals. Of course, this extra power is only possible once supported by other bolt-on hardware removing flow restrictions and additional cooling.
If you’re already running a Revo Performance Pack or Revo software with a turbo-back exhaust system, intercooler and intake then you already have all of the additional hardware needed. Just the turbo, fuel pump(s) & software upgrade left to go.
In a nutshell, the Revo Performance Pack comprises of an uprated intercooler & IC pipework and uprated intake system including a machined billet inlet to remove OEM restrictions.
More importantly, how does it feel on the road/strip/track, in real-world driving?
The power is night and day different from the standard OE unit. However, extensive ECU calibration work means the car retains all of the drivability for the times when you just need to get from A to B.
When you want the performance though it’s there waiting to launch you into the back of the driver’s seat! 0-60mph is achievable in 3.1 secs or less, 0-100 in 7.1 secs and 30-130mph takes just 11.1.
Along with a full aftermarket exhaust (we use a Milltek system with Revo downpipe). The Revo Performance Pack components deliver all of the supporting hardware you need in order to install your new turbo. Which comes with a red billet muffler delete already fitted to remove restriction from the OE muffler).
Uprated fuel pump(s) and Stage 3 software are all that’s needed. Manual cars will also require an uprated clutch, whereas DSG models retain the OE clutch packs but require TCU upgraded software.
The software supporting this turbo offers a host of additional safety and performance features too:
- Cold Start protection
- Temperature protection (specifically EGT)
- RPM limit increase to 7,100rpm
- Speed Limit unlock
- Left foot braking enabled
- SPS compatibility (for switchable performance modes)
- Simple OBD install
As with all software we tune to take varying grades of fuel quality into account. The software for this turbo upgrade is switchable and offers four performance modes:
PM0 – 97ron (low boost) stock mode
PM1 – 97ron
PM2 – 98ron
PM3 – 100ron
This caters for various different global regions and fuel types. All performance figures quoted are based on 99ron VPower fuel on PM2. It’s possible to achieve slightly higher figures with 100/102ron fuel and PM3 mode.