So while this might seem like an unconventional review since I don’t have any physical part or mod to analyze, dissect, or expound upon, I’m very much of the opinion that giving credit where it is due is incredibly important. As such, I thought it was worth writing a brief review of my experience with Tapout Tuning to share with others here on this forum.
Yesterday, while gifted with a copious amount of free time on a work trip, I was able to make it down to visit the Tapout Tuning facility in Plain City, OH. I messaged @WONT TAP here on the forums a couple days before and asked if I could drop by to get a brief tour of the facility and to check out what they’re working on (read: mainly for me to drool on) for the CT4-V Blackwing. The Tapout facility is located in a relatively new commercial/light industrial park area with plenty of freshly paved, wide streets on which I can only guess their customers turn into impromptu drag strips. It’s purely speculation here, but I would guess that many of their customers are gleefully tormenting Tapout’s neighbors by testing their freshly delivered rockets after modification.
Anyway, after being greeted by Michael and Scott, they took me out to the shop to show me what they’ve been working on for the CT4-V Blackwing, as well as numerous ATS-V’s that were in the shop for very healthy horsepower boosts. Right off the bat I was impressed with how friendly and welcoming they were. If you’ve ever tried to see the shop in a dealership, you’ll know that they’re typically rather cagey with letting people into the shop, even if your own car is being worked on. At Tapout, they’re very proud of what they do and I was able to see engine builds on several cars at every level of completion from “basically-finished-delivery” to “pistons-out-on-a-workbench”. Not only did I get to see these cars, but they took the time out of their workday to show and explain to me the intricacies of the LF4 motor and why it handles such sizable amounts of boost beyond what is rated for. (Did everyone know that Pankl makes our Ti connecting rods that are installed from the factory? I didn’t…)
While they’re still working on their complete product offering lineup for the CT4-V Blackwing, the substantial level of depth that they’ve taken the ATS-V platform to is amazing and really shows the scope of what they want to achieve. I was incredibly impressed by the E85/93 Octane system that they’ve implemented into the ATS-V, and are working to build into the Blackwing packages. While I’d previously combed their website before, I wasn’t fully aware that part of their E85 package includes an active sensor for the Ethanol concentration in the fuel line that changes the engine mapping based on whatever you fill up with! They do make it pretty well known that the performance on E85 is substantially higher, but it wasn’t until visiting that I knew that the car still retains the flexibility of running both fuels and can adjust as needed based on fuel availability. (Which to me, with my BW as my daily driver, seems super important in a street car!)
Tapout had a number of different builds in process for some upcoming races both local and abroad, so Scott/Michael, if you’re reading this, I think it would definitely be worth it to post up where you’re going to be so that if any other members here are nearby, they can also come check out (drool) on the fine work you guys do!
[Lastly, I should mention that Tapout did not ask me to drop by their shop, nor did they know I was going to post this or request me to write anything. In full transparency though, I did walk away with a t-shirt and a very cool motorized (actually spinning!) turbo keychain/flashlight that the TSA did not like as much as I did going through security. Lol!]