In 2016, ProTorque had about as successful of a season as you could ask for on the racetrack. With numerous championships, countless event victories and number one qualifier awards, Joe Rivera and his skilled team solidified their stature as one of the leaders in drag racing torque converter technology.
From powering 2016 NHRA Rookie of the Year, Michael Biehle, to a top five championship points finish in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Modified series to sending Kevin Fiscus into the quarter-mile radial record books and first-to-the-fives milestone on radials, ProTorque’s successes are innumerable. As the title states, the New York-based company has changed it’s mold just a touch by selling off the OE re-manufacturing portion of the business to strictly focus on the high performance racing market moving into 2017. And they’ve also doubled-down on their efforts for the mid-range-horsepower heads-up market with a new converter, the EV2.
“Our performance customer base has grown to levels that wasn’t even on the radar when we began this division of the company,” Rivera says. “It was more of a hobby than a business, but with the success of the motorsports program, it’s time to move forward with the performance torque converter business as a standalone entity. There are so many products that I haven’t been able to create, and now, it’s time to focus on one thing only — performance and not just racing.”
It was more of a hobby than a business, but with the success of the motorsports program, it’s time to move forward with the performance torque converter business as a standalone entity. – Joe Rivera
This will put all the engineers and builders at ProTorque pushing to achieve more impressive results in all the combinations available to racers today, not just a single power adder. For years, ProTorque was known as a turbocharged converter company, but that’s no longer the case.
Not only is the mindset around the company changing, but the surroundings are, as well. In mid-December, Rivera and his team opened the doors of their new facility in Medford, New York, just minutes from their former home, sporting the familiar ProTorque logos and colors all throughout the building. Featuring a more high-tech lab environment with new machines, expanded shelving and work area, the new building will deliver new energy and get the creative juices flowing through the ingenious minds all throughout the front office and assembly rooms at ProTorque.
ProTorque is always pushing the bleeding edge to find the next big thing in the world of torque converters, including the design, capacity levels, stator sizes, and angles. The market was flooded when the revolutionary EV1 was released just a few short seasons ago and the records fell one after another. From the likes of 2016 NMCA Radial Wars and No Mercy 7 champion DeWayne Mills to the television stars from the hit show, Street Outlaws, the EV1 blasted records, claimed event wins, and season championships in short order.
The EV1, one of ProTorque’s most prized products to date, carries ever many of the same features built-in to their Revolution Series converters, including a billet back cover, a billet stator, mechanical diode, one-piece integral ballooning plates, and safe D bolts for strength.
But the EV1 was only the beginning.
Rivera saw the need for a converter with less capacity for the mid-range horsepower engines that are common in the X275, Ultra Street, and Outlaw 8.5-style categories, using the 1,200 to 2,200 horsepower range as the target market. This is where the new EV2 torque converter went from a drawing on a napkin during a restaurant conversation to 3D computer modeling programs to make this idea a reality. While keeping overall performance in mind, the team takes each personal combination into account while developing the specifics for the newest EV2 converter, including engine specifications, vehicle weight, gear ratios, and power adders, among other variables.
“In addition to the nitrous and boosted class cars, there are plenty of street cars that are making that kind of power with superchargers and nitrous that will use this converter becuase they have unlimited budgets and want the best of the best,” Rivera says.
With classes like X275 expanding each year to more combinations and cars, the availability of a custom converter tailored to your specific combination has been a void, until now.
The new EV2 has been tested by some of the top runners in their respective classes near the top of their specific performance ranks. Like it’s counterpart, the EV2 features the exact same billet cover as it’s predecessor, including safe “D” bolts around the perimeter of the converter to secure the two halves together, along with the pilot’s function to center the billet drive side of the converter in the rear of the crankshaft. Like the EV1, the EV2 features two threaded holes provided in the top of the billet cover to permit the use of jacking bolts to separate the halves easily, instead of hitting the sides with a hammer causing damage to the exterior.
One of the racers and teams who was selected to do extensive testing for the new EV2 was the Ultra Street juggernaut of Kentucky’s own Joel Greathouse, housed in the KBX Performance stables. Greathouse stormed into Ultra Street in 2015 with a turbocharged combination. In 2016, Greathouse’s braintrust, comprised of crew chiefs Justin McChesney and John Kolivas, pairing their knowledge with engine builder Jon Bennett at Bennett Racing Engines to construct a ProCharger-fed small-block powerplant to go back after the category. Rivera was interested in this new outlet for ProTorque, as well, to enter the centrifugal supercharged market, which is steadily and quickly growing to become one of the power adder combinations of choice in numerous classes.
Beginning the program with the previous GenX converter, Greathouse continued his dominance winning the first event out and also reset his own national elapsed time record.
McChesney lauded the EV2 and its role in their performance: “We have been running variations of the new EV2 in the car since the summer of 2016. We went from a great product with the GenX to an awesome product with the EV2. Our front split and back split numbers have picked up, in direct correlation to the converter. Alongside John Kolivas, we have had the pleasure to work with Joe on stator technology in this new platform to optimize the efficiency of a supercharged combination. We were able to get the RPM in the exact area to make peak boost, all while making the converter lock-up to accelerate as quickly as possible.”
While Rivera was experiencing continued success in the Ultra Street category with the help of KBX Performance, his focus was to continue branching the ProTorque brand into more applications than ever before. After much consideration, a phone call was made to long-time customer and every radial racer’s favorite chef, Kenny Hubbard, from Montgomery, Texas, in regards to his nitrous-assisted Chevrolet Nova running in X275.
We have been running variations of the new EV2 in the car since the summer of 2016. We went from a great product with the GenX to an awesome product with the EV2. – Justin McChesney
“Joe is one of the best people that I’ve had the pleasure to work with and always makes sure our program is being optimized to its full potential,” Hubbard says. He, like Greathouse, has seen gains in both the front and back splits, including a blistering 1.06 60-foot time and a new personal best elapsed time of 4.43-seconds at 160 mph — just a few hundredths of a second off the X275 big-block nitrous record.
“Bringing ProTorque on board has been one of the best moves for our program yet. We’re proud to fly the colors along with all of my customers. Over the last few months, we’ve put right at nine converters in proven cars and seen gains in late season races and test sessions.”
Rivera has yet again changed the game when it comes to converter technology and customer satisfaction, bringing the technology learned from testing hundreds of cars and power levels with the EV1.
“The last year has been incredible. We’ve seen many of our customers find the maximum potential of their given combination, just by tuning and harnessing their torque converters. With the new EV2, we’re excited to specialize a converter in the mid-range horsepower levels, just as we did the EV1 for the Pro Modified and Radial vs. The World markets.”
The new year always rings in new goals for most companies and race teams, but ProTorque is bringing a cannon to the gunfight and it will be exciting to see all of the new cars and teams that come out in 2017, sporting the latest and greatest in torque converter technology coming from the professionals in Medford, New York in between the freshly painted walls and epoxied floors at ProTorque.