Big Boost: Breaking Down Vortech’s Lineup Of V-30 Superchargers

High-performance parts have a lifecycle with many iterations — they just aren’t created and left alone, but are constantly evaluated so they can be improved. Vortech Superchargers has a wealth of experience in developing centrifugal superchargers after bringing numerous products to market over the years. The V-30 line of superchargers from Vortech is the most powerful to date, and we’re going to see what makes them tick and how the models vary.

Centrifugal-style superchargers have been around for decades and been a popular choice for those looking to make big horsepower. Vortech’s superchargers can be found in everything from street cars to three-second Top Dragsters, and the V30 is the king of the company’s lineup.

The Hard Parts Of The V-30 And How It Spins

Since Vortech released the V-30, it has continually pushed to improve the efficiency and reliability of the supercharger. The company looked at how it could advance its compressor technology, along with other areas to squeeze even more airflow out of the V-30. Vortech used a phased approach while testing things like impeller blade count and tip angle to determine what would work best in different applications.

The V-30 is able to support 1,400 horsepower, all the way to 3,000-plus, and this means it has to have a strong case. Vortech put a lot of effort into the V-30’s case to ensure it wouldn’t deform or fail under high-RPM loads. The gearcase that Vortech uses is versatile, so that means it’s shared between all the different V-30 trim levels.

Jimmy Martz from Vortech dives a bit deeper into the case structure of the V-30 supercharger.

“The V-30’s gearcase is made from A356 cast material. It is also a modular design that allows a racer the ability to change between compressor stages and run anywhere from a V-30 94 to a V-30 131 by simply changing the volute, backplate, and impeller. This is particularly useful for those racers that switch between race classes at various events and sanctioning bodies throughout the racing season.”

Inside the case, there are many parts that play a role in making sure the V-30 works flawlessly. The impeller shaft is one of the parts that lives inside the case and Vortech views it like a spindle riding on a set of bearings. Vortech secures the impeller shaft inside an outer housing that’s made of Durabar; this material is fairly dense, and this means it can deal with the shock and harmonics a centrifugal blower will produce.

Bearings play a critical role in how well a centrifugal supercharger functions, and ensuring there is no play in them will increase longevity across the board.

“Because the volute and impeller relationship have very tight tolerances, both laterally and horizontally, the bearings play a crucial role in keeping the whole assembly true at speed. The V-30 utilizes a proprietary ceramic bearing designed for the heavy-duty load application, and a unique method of air/oil misting for lubrication and temperature control,” Martz explains.

Centrifugal superchargers must be highly efficient if they want to generate the most horsepower possible. Vortech put plenty of thought into the physical design of the V-30 to make sure it was efficient, but it wasn’t afraid to use some other technology to assist with increasing efficiency, too. Nano Tolerance Technology (NTT) is something Vortech has been developing for a while, and the V-30 turned out to be a perfect place to use it.

Vortech used a variety of different technologies in the design process of the V-30.

“NTT is a patented material and coating process that allows for minimal internal impeller to volute clearances — it substantially raises the efficiency of the supercharger units, and maximizes output along with horsepower gains. This process is achieved without increasing the chances of component interference or impacting the durability of the supercharger, and it can increase boost by up to 2-3 psi, depending on the compressor stage or engine package.  This technology is currently being used in selective applications as we continue with its durability and long-term testing,” Martz states.

Every engine package is going to have different characteristics in how it generates peak horsepower — Vortech saw this as an opportunity and developed its Diverging Diffusion Technology (DDT), which enhances horsepower production.

The V-30 utilizes a proprietary ceramic bearing designed for the heavy-duty load application, and a unique method of air/oil misting for lubrication and temperature control. – Jimmy Martz, Vortech Superchargers

“DDT optimizes the compressor stage by precisely targeting the flow requirements and operating range of a select engine combination. Benefitting from this targeted airflow, the compressor stage would now be effectively tuned for specific operating conditions, gaining output and horsepower across the preferred powerband. This technology is extremely successful in marine racing and top speed applications,” Martz says.

The V-30 uses an internal step-up gear ratio of 4.21:1; Vortech opted to go with this to help the supercharger perform at its best. This specific gear ratio makes sure the V-30 can attain the proper impeller speed it needs to perform optimally at maximum RPM. Vortech’s research showed that higher gear ratios would cause intense vibration, and those vibrations are what causes catastrophic failures in centrifugal superchargers.

Phillip Oakley’s NHRA Top Dragster uses a Vortech V-30 to run deep into the 6-second range.

A centrifugal supercharger is about as useful as a screen door on the hull of a submarine if you don’t have a way to spin it. There are two ways you can spin a centrifugal supercharger like the V-30: either with a cog belt drive or with a gear drive unit. Which one you use depends on the application and the class you’re racing in.

The belt drive is the most common way one of these superchargers is spun in street cars and applications where a gear drive can’t be used. A cog belt drive uses a large belt that is attached to a series of pullies that use the crankshaft of the engine to rotate the supercharger and create boost. You’ll see the cog belt drive setup often used in the Top Dragster class since many racers have recently switched to centrifugal superchargers. This drive type is also used in certain power-adder limited classes to help keep the cost down, since gear drives can be quite expensive.

“Vortech currently has three cog belt drive system applications to utilize the V-30s; one for the big-block Chevy, one for the small-block Ford, and one about to be released for the GM LS engine series. The advantage would be the elimination of any potential belt slippage that could occur with a typical ribbed belt in these higher horsepower applications,” Martz explains.

Vortech's V-30 can be used with either a cog belt drive or gear drive system.

Now, if you’re not limited by class rules, real estate, or budget, a gear drive is the best way to get the most power out of a centrifugal supercharger.

“There are several advantages of using a gear drive that makes it a great option for racers. The gear drive reduces parasitic drive losses and it eliminates the side load on the engine crankshaft and supercharger input shaft. The use of gear drives also places the supercharger with the inlet facing forward where the supercharger can draw the cleanest and potentially coldest airflow. There are several gear drive manufacturers, but the most popular are Chris Alston’s Component Drive Systems, and the Supercharger Store’s Gear Drive,” Martz says.

The V-30s Target Market

The V-30 line of superchargers has more than six different trim levels available. Each of these units has a set of specifications that allow it to produce a certain horsepower level. For example, the V-30 94A is designed to produce 1,400-plus horsepower, 30-plus pounds of boost, and is legal for Ultra Street, Extreme Street, or the Renegade classes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find the V-30 131B supercharger that Vortech offers; this is a supercharger you would see in Pro Mod or Pro 275, because it can support over 3,500 horsepower and crank out nearly 60-pounds of boost.

Vortech’s V-30 superchargers fit into a variety of different classes and have done very well. Earl Stanley, a successful X275 class racer, has used the V-30 102A to qualify at the biggest radial tire events in the country. The NHRA Top Dragster class has seen huge growth since its inception, and the V-30 has become popular among its participants. Danny Nelson won the 2019 NHRA Top Dragster World Championship with a V-30 123A supercharger.

Danny Nelson's NHRA Top Dragster used a Vortech supercharger to make consistent horsepower during his 2019 championship run.

With so many different classes and types of racing out there, Vortech had to do its homework to make sure the V-30 would be a viable option.

“Vortech is even more successful in drag racing when matching the supercharger to the engine. Modeling software developed in-house by Vortech engineers is used to estimate and then closely determine the mass flow needs of the racer’s engine. This software tuning, along with extensive testing has led to the V-30 line of superchargers to produce power reliably and repeatedly in different classes at tracks all over the United States,” Martz explains.

Versions Of The V-30 Supercharger

The V-30 supercharger has multiple versions available based on what class you plan on racing. Each version is slightly different in size and how much air it can move. Here is a general breakdown by class which model supercharger is recommended for by Vortech and is legal per the rules.

  • V-30 94A – Renegade and Ultra
  • V-30 94B – Renegade and Ultra
  • V-30 102A – X275 and Street Outlaw
  • V-30 105A- X275 and Street Outlaw
  • V-30 112B- NHRA Top Sportsman and Top Dragster
  • V-30 123A- NHRA- Top Sportsman and Top Dragster
  • V-30 131B – Pro Mod

So, what makes each of the V-30 units different? It’s all about what’s inside the gearcase and your plans for the supercharger.

“The V-30 Gear case is universal and is the same across all compressor stages. The secondary number in the blower designation after V-30 is the inducer ‘tip diameter’ in millimeters, while the letter behind it designates the version of the compressor. So a V-30 94A supercharger has an inducer with a tip diameter of 94mm. The targeted uses are dependent on the horsepower range required on any of the compressor stages,” Martz says. Centrifugal superchargers are the most flexible power-adder available to racers and the V-30 fits that mold perfectly. Vortech has engineered the V-30 in a way that allows it to be used in many applications where big boosted horsepower is required.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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