- Mar 27, 2003
- Myrtle Beach, SC
VMP Performance Apex Predator Lid & Race/Street Intercooler Cores | A Detailed Look
I know you’ve heard the saying; “work smarter, not harder.” That’s exactly the mantra VMP Performance has been pursuing with their latest round of mods for 2020+ Shelby GT500 Mustangs. The 5.2L Predator V8 mills those cars are blessed with from the factory are potent, but there’s always room for improvement. Throwing more boost at it may be the simple solution, but what if I told you that you could get more power without increasing stress on the engine? What if it works even better when pulley down and add some boost? Do I have your attention now?
Justin Starkey and the crew at VMP have spent the better part of a year working on intercooler modifications for the Predator engine; and it looks like they have struck pay-dirt. VMP has finally released their long awaited Apex Predator intercooler lid, which features a host of benefits over the stock unit. To take advantage of the gains found in the lid they also have a couple intercooler core options to help keep the air charge at the optimum temperature for maximum power production. Check out this video for the full run-down:
The production version of the Apex Predator lid is the culmination of over a year of development work and several hundred test passes on a number of billet prototypes. The pain staking R&D work led to a production that not only performs better than stock, even at factory boost levels, it also weighs less. Ford actually added weight to the factory piece to reduce noise from the supercharger. Don’t ask us who thought that was a good idea, but cutting weight and adding blower whine sounds like a good idea to me. On an otherwise stock engine the Apex Predator lid will show gains of 19 RWH and 3 RWTQ, and that figure only grows as you increase boost.
Natural Finish | Black Finished | Cut Display Unit Compared to OEM
So how does it work? Well for starters it is slightly larger than stock, so it increases plenum volume. That alone is a time honored recipe for more power. However, after playing with several different designs for the roof of the lid VMP found one that optimized the airflow into the runners. Reduced turbulence and greater laminar flow leads to less restriction, which means more power. Again, the more boost you throw at it, the better it gets. But wait, there’s more!!!
It's a game of millimeters. Innumerable hours of prototyping and testing went into the design of the optimized Apex Predator lid.
We’ve shown you guys some of VMP’s intercooler offerings in the past, but they’ve developed a couple for the Predator supercharger setup that are beyond world-class. Everyone in the Ford Performance community knows of the inherent heat-soak issues that 2020+ GT500 owners deal with. A large contributor to that power-production bottleneck is the factory intercooler core. While it is robust; it is old-school technology, somewhat restrictive, and slightly undersized. Luckily, VMP has you covered and their intercooler bricks come in two flavors.
From left-to-right :: Race Core | Street Core | OEM - When closely inspected, the differences are stark.
VMP’s Street Intercooler Core for the 5.2L V8 lowers intake air temps while decreasing pressure drop across the core. There’s an entire field of study built around the compromises that must be made in terms of airflow restriction vs heat rejection, but VMP scienced that all out for you. The water inlets are larger than the factory piece, and the physical differences are readily apparent. It’s not just a bigger version of the same old thing, the core materials for VMP’s intercoolers are unique.
A look inside tells the real story. This is the restricted OEM Intercooler core.
The VMP Street core is less restrictive in terms of both water and air flow.
The VMP Race Intercooler Core pushes the limits of cooling technology.
However, for just $500 more you can step up to the VMP Race intercooler core (which is what I’d do if I were in the market). The race core is, once again, an entirely unique design that essentially takes a no compromises approach. It is as physically large as possible, maximizes airflow across the core, and manages even greater heat rejection than the street unit. Its unique core material is more efficient in every regard than the factory equipment, which is the result of a more complicated and expensive design. That’s why you don’t see this type of material used in most OEM applications.
As a combination VMP’s race intercooler core and their Apex Predator lid produced gains of 40+RWHP and 20+RWTQ versus the factory components when step up to a 2.4 inch blower pulley. That’s safe horsepower that’s nearly undetectable to the untrained eye. If you start throwing more boost at this combo the gains are even more impressive. I don’t even want to imagine what the difference would be during a July track day at Road Atlanta or an August 40-120 pull in Mexico. If you want to stick with the factory 2650 TVS, this combo from VMP is a no-brainer.
This is one of several billet prototype lids VMP produced. I think it would make a great piece of garage art.
VMP's billet water manifold allows for you run much larger water lines when you're ready to upgrade your coolant flow.
The VMP Apex Predator Lid is 100% bolt-on, and fits under the factory strut tower brace without any cutting or grinding.