Exclusive: Vortech’s New V-30 Race Supercharger

Vortech Superchargers manufactures street and race superchargers for much more than the Mustang crowd; they offer systems for everything from LS-swapped cars and pickup trucks to the Subaru BRZ/Toyota FR-S twins and various styles of street-going and racing superchargers. One of which, their record-setting newest model–and the focus of this exclusive first look into its design anywhere in the world–is the company’s all-new, all-badass V-30 race supercharger design.

Vortech is a company founded on technology advancements and efficiency improvements. Back in 1990, when some of you reading this weren’t even a gleam in daddy’s eye, engineer Jim Middlebrook—who was then employed by Paxton—had an idea for improving the existing ball-drive centrifugal supercharger design. He subsequently left Paxton and went on to found Vortech Engineering to develop his idea further. That idea turned into the Vortech V-1 A-Trim supercharger, which helped to fuel the Fox-body Mustang craze and put Vortech on the map as a player in the centrifugal supercharger industry.

Those technology advancements and efficiency improvements have been hallmarks of Vortech’s superchargers over the years; steady gains in all areas have been the result of targeting areas of improvement and not settling until their engineering goals are met.

Here’s the Vortech V-30 supercharger–at least, the parts Vortech will show us! Four distinct areas of improvement have been applied across the entire V-30 supercharger lineup. The V-30 supports 1,200 to over 3,000 horsepower depending on configuration.

Science Begets Performance

Taking cues from Middlebrook’s efforts of nearly two decades ago, Vortech’s engineers have been elbows-deep in developing the V-30 compressor design over the last several years. Much like Vortech’s original V-1 A-trim compressor configuration did in 1990, the V-30 is designed to take the company’s products to the next level and improve performance across the board.

“Vortech is still pushing the boundaries of efficiency with the release of its new series of centrifugal race superchargers, the V-30 Series,” says Jimmy Martz, Vortech’s director of global sales.

Each V-30 makes use of the company’s inlet bell, which has been engineered to provide airflow improvements, and thus higher horsepower potential. These bolt-on pieces are made from either billet or spun aluminum depending upon application.

Extensive testing in Vortech’s one-of-a-kind supercharger test cell has permitted the company to refine the supercharger’s design and configuration to provide increased performance and efficiency improvements. Today, they are able to offer the V-30 supercharger configuration to racers competing in a wide range of racing classes and engine styles.

“Several years have gone into the design and development of the V-30 units, which utilize and implement several groundbreaking advancements in compressor design technology, making them the most technologically advanced superchargers to date. The V-30 Series of units range from 1,200 horsepower support, to over 3,000 horsepower support, with several stages throughout to suit all manners of racing class and requirement,” says Martz.

For example, Alton Clements, Jr. is using a V-30 in his pursuit of the NMRA’s Renegade class championship in 2017 and is currently leading the points chase with one event left. Clements has been running the V-30 supercharger all year and is thrilled with the performance the new design has given him in the battle against the turbocharged and roots-blown competition in the class.

Alton Clements in his championship-winning, high-flying V-30-equipped NMRA Renegade car.

“Every part we bolt on the car presents a new challenge as far as tuning. This blower has made that process a little easier. We never have to worry about what the blower is doing; if there is an issue with boost we know to look at the tubing, intercooler, or blow-off valve,” says Clements.

“The power is there when we want it and we are still taking a little power out of the car for the first 60 feet. If we can get the chassis tuned to where we can leave with all of the power I would expect to see low 1.10 60-foot times.”

EngineLabs’ sister magazine Dragzine also has a V-30 in its possession, installed on the Evil 8.5 car which competes in Outlaw 8.5 classes all over the country. From what the race team has discovered with the V-30 on Evil 8.5, the supercharger has a strong boost curve down low, which helps with efficiency in getting the car down the track through torque converter selection and tuning.

Typically these advances are found incrementally, through refining the shape of a compressor wheel design, changing impeller blade count or angle, or other minute changes. But with the V-30 program, the team put together several distinct improvements that Martz calls “giant leaps” and packaged them together to create the V-30 Series.

Part Numbers

Here’s a complete rundown of each of the V-30 models available from Vortech Superchargers. As you can see, the V-30 name will replace a number of older Vortech supercharger nomenclatures. This change was decided by the Vortech team in an effort to simplify the supercharger naming structure and remove some of the various older–and more confusing–supercharger model names.

Each of the improvements have been independently tested in various superchargers over the last several years, and Martz tells us that they’ve all been in the winner’s circle independently and together as a full unit—and won championships in the process.

The V-30 series includes 13 different supercharger configurations, which supersede many of the company’s current successful superchargers. For example, the V-30 105A replaces the well-known V-24 XB105, and the V-30 94A comes in clockwise and counterclockwise rotation styles to replace the V-27 YSi-B which has been so successful in NMRA Renegade competition. See the sidebar for a full rundown.

It’s Not Just A Coating

The compressor map (click to enlarge) shows a serious gain with the use of the NTT material–nearly 1.5 psi boost pressure at 45,000 rpm impeller speed over a supercharger without the coating. Vortech’s Lance Keck says this sort of gain for a compressor is huge; the same types of gains are shown across the entire product line, thanks to the technology advances they’ve developed.

The new V-30 superchargers make use of Vortech’s new Nano-Tolerance Techology, which is the techie description for a patent-pending material and application process. By minimizing the internal clearances between the impeller and volute, Vortech is able to substantially raise efficiency of the superchargers, which translates into more usable boost and ultimately, horsepower.

Martz says the process allows these improvements without the risk of the internal components clashing, which means the performance improvements the NTT process allows do not come with a risk of longevity or durability compromise.

The addition of Nano-Tolerance Technology to the V-30 line of superchargers gives the supercharger an average boost increase of 2 to 3 psi when compared to superchargers without NTT. This boost pressure increase can vary slightly according to compressor stage and the overall engine combination, but the technology offers an increase in efficiency and performance across the board. The team worked hard to develop the NTT technology and is excited about its use.

Given that race technology eventually trickles down into street products, it’s not unrealistic to think this could eventually show up in Vortech’s street-going superchargers.

The parts and pieces which make up the V-30 supercharger’s internals. As you can imagine, Vortech is quite protective of their billet impeller, so you’ll have to buy a supercharger to see one of those at this time. Proprietary ceramic bearings and an air/oil misting system specific to the V-30 are two of the newest developments.

Diverging Diffusion Technology

Of course, they can’t give away all of their secrets, and the new Diverging Diffusion Technology is one of those areas where Martz was mostly tight-lipped. We did glean that DDT is not a wrestling move, but a way for Vortech to tune the compressor stage for a specific application and engine configuration to provide maximum horsepower. The science behind it, which was initially developed for use in the company’s V-20 series of superchargers, adjusts the diffuser’s performance characteristics to precisely match the engine’s capabilities. It allows more boost pressure and improves overall efficiency, but does come with a slight cost of reduced operating range.

The impeller side of the supercharger uses a robust bearing retainer to reduce flex and support the impeller shaft.

However, since the supercharger’s performance in its intended powerband can be enhanced, losing a bit of operating range outside the parameters where the racing supercharger will be used has been determined an acceptable tradeoff. With an ultimate goal of maximizing performance and curtailing drive load required to turn the supercharger, the Diverging Diffusion Technology can be seen as a win for the racer.

Transmission Enhancements

In conjunction with the improvements found in the airflow area of the supercharger, Vortech’s engineers have also applied a number of changes internally to the drive section in an effort to improve efficiency all around.

“Squeezing every last bit of efficiency out of a compressor stage has always been what Vortech does best,” Jimmy Martz, Vortech Superchargers

They’ve selected a proprietary ceramic bearing design to increase load capability while reducing drag; this has the intended effect of improving efficiency and performance capability at the same time. The bearing design is exclusive to the V-30 supercharger, and when used in conjunction with the company’s new air/oil misting lubrication system, greatly improves durability for the drive section of the supercharger.

And since the V-30 series superchargers all use the same basic architecture, Vortech is able to adjust performance easily.

“The modular nature of these V-30 Supercharger units gives the racer the ability to switch between compressor stages much more easily than in most other cases. Each unit from the V-30 94A to V-30 128A can be changed between compressor stages by sending the unit to Vortech and having them changed. This is particularly useful for racers who switch between racing classes for various events and sanctioning bodies over the course of a racing season,” says Martz.

The hefty steel input shaft is designed to work with either a cog drive, or more significantly, a gear-drive input option, which is what most V-30 users will have. It’s supported by those ceramic bearings to lessen the drive load and improve efficiency.

In Conclusion

The Vortech V-30 supercharger series is available for purchase in one finish—black. Perhaps to signify its sinister, race- and championship-winning heritage, perhaps because it’s cheaper and easier than polishing, perhaps to intimidate the competition. One thing is for certain; the Vortech Superchargers engineering team hasn’t been sitting around waiting for a winning lottery ticket—they’ve gone out and created one based on their in-house testing, combined with the feedback they’ve received from their racers using the product in the field.

With impellers manufactured from a billet forging, an enhanced bellmouth air inlet system which has been designed to stimulate positive inlet airflow characteristics and improve compressor performance and horsepower output, the Vortech Superchargers V-30 compressor design has set the company—and its racers—up for success.

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About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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