When most people outside of Europe think of diesel performance, Cummins, Chev, or Ford probably come to mind. As this week's Tuned In podcast guest tells us, however, there's a lot more to the performance diesel world than the big 6BTs and 6.0 Powerstrokes.
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Originally hailing from France and now based in Nashville, Tennesse, Grégoire Blachon has built his business, Boxeer, off the back of Volkswagen Audi Group's impressive family of TDi four-cylinder diesel engines.
Boxeer's journey began with TDi conversion packages for VW's Vanagon overland vehicles, and having always had an interest in motorsport, Grégoire always felt the urge to start pushing these stout engines in a motorsport environment — specifically hill climbing.
Podcast host Andre Simon and Grégoire get stuck into exactly what makes these little TDis so good, and how he gets the absolute most out of them utilising obscure standalone ECUs, triple compound turbo induction, in-cylinder combustion pressure monitoring, and more.
Grégoire goes on to break down the TDi-powered build he's best known for — his tube-frame Beetle hillclimber — which he's used in the last few years to come tantalisingly close to clinching the diesel win at Pikes Peak.
After breaking the Bug down, Grégoire talks Andre through his new build, which he hopes will absolutely smash the diesel record at this month's 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. Based on a Radical chassis, the new car runs the same triple turbo TDi setup (with some extra added spice) and the same Porsche PDK gearbox, but with a considerable drop in weight and aerodynamic drag, as well as far superior handling and braking.
The European diesel world isn't one that we've discussed much — if at all — on this podcast, so this conversation with Grégoire is a really interesting look at what makes these platforms tick, and how builders like Boxeer are getting serious performance out of them.
As mentioned in this episode, you can find Skynam, the ECU Grégoire uses here: www.skynam.com
And if you want to follow Grégoire's progress, check out the Boxeer social channels below:
FB: Boxeer - Diesel Motorsports and Overlanding
YT: Gregoire S. Blachon
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