Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One last run...

We are having a really good late summer here in BC, it is still gloriously sunny and warm. I was itching for another drive and didn't want to take any weekend time so decided to take the day off and head out. Part of the reason I was so eager to get out there is that I wanted to try the 'upgrade' of the TT-RS engine.

Cars are complex machines these days, computers control much of the systems including the engine. Valve timing, fuel/air mixture, ignition and a host of other variables all contribute to the efficency and behavior of an engine. Cars from major manufacturers like Audi will come with a solid but conservative engine programming, to ensure long-term functioning. There are companies out there like STaSIS and APR that will modify engine programming to obtain extra power. In case of the TT-RS engine, there is a lot of room for improvement. The STaSIS engine reprogramming increases the torque output across the band up to about 420lb/ft and hp output is smoothed out and increased to about 380. The sweet spot is around 5000rpm where there is a 70hp & 70lb/ft of torque increase. The torque numbers are especially impressive. As a comparison, the new Porsche 911 Carrera S makes 400hp and 320lb/ft of torque.

The end result of all this is a smoother power delivery and a lot more torque across the board. Passing manoevers are now even more fun, when doing say 50km/h in 3rd gear, pressing the accelerator results in a neck-snapping surge of power and a dazzling buildup of speed. Fantastic stuff.

The drive itself was the classic Vancouver-Hope-Merritt-Lillooet-Whistler drive that covers some spectacular pieces of tarmac like hwy12 between Lytton and Lillooet and the Duffy Lake Road. I left early to get the Lower Mainland part of the drive out of the way and arrived in Meritt around 10am. A quick coffee and snack stop later I headed East towards Spences Bridge. This drive is familiar, I have done it before as part of a Boxster summer drive.

River view from Lytton
I have described this drive before so I won't go into much detail. Given that this was a Monday in September, there was little to no traffic. The entire way from Meritt to Lilooet was pretty much deserted. This is exactly what I wanted so I had great fun driving along, keeping speed up and not having to worry about RVs and minivans clogging up the road. Things got a little bit busier after Lilooet but not much. This was a far cry from the last time I did the Duffy Lake which was about a month ago when it was extremely busy. It was definitely worth taking the day off!

The start of the Duffy Lake road, 100kms of windy mountain road to Pemberton!
I think this concludes the summer driving season, the weather is going to turn soon and I have precious few vacation days left. The A4 will get its winter tires on in November and we will be looking at winter drives for snow fun. We're talking about a Revelstoke trip, which should be interesting!

Here is the route I took:

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