Boostin with The Wolf. Aaron Parker gives us the run down on the EFR at BorgWarner’s SEMA Booth

Words by Aaron Parker
SEMA Photos by Mike Porter of Danger Media
Vehicle Photos by Gus Rivera of Media Goons
Visiting the Borg Warner booth at SEMA


We take a stroll through the Borg Warner booth at SEMA with Aaron Parker to show us first hand some of the neat features of the Borg Warner EFR, and how this ground breaking turbo has helped in his quest to climb the ranks to professional drifting. 


From the Editor-in-Chief: When people think of the Mazda Rotary, they think of the flame spitting, high pitched loud and proud “Brapp” that has, in all its glory, come to grace the drift world. We take a stroll with one of our media partners; Aaron Parker AKA “AAPARKAH,” at the SEMA Show to find out how he’s been able to build a 1.3L Two Rotor to keep up with the torque monsters that dominate the current Formula Drift Pro-Am Circuit. Take it away Aaron.

Thanks Steffan. To me the Mazda Rotary was what truly inspired me as a mechanic. It represented the epitome of Japanese tuning. If you could get it right, then you really knew what you were doing. I wanted to achieve that, and wanted to show people that it was possible to have a competitive two rotor drift car,.. even against the LS revolution of late. Aside from that, it is really all of what I know, all of what I’ve been taught by my Mentor Abel Ibarra, and all I’m passionate about.


I needed to be able to have a power band that complimented Drifting. The reason V8’s are so competitive, is because they have an excellent Low to mid Tq curve. A lot of track guys refer to this as “Power under the curve.” V8’s produce low end Tq because they have a much larger displacement compared to say a 1.3 Liter Rotary. With that, they are able to put power down as low as 2300-3300 RPM. Where Peak Tq on a rotary is historically around 5000 RPM. My goal with the 2016 set up was to reproduce this same low end response and usable power-band that V8’s produce “Under the Curve,” but carry that same power all the way up to 9200 RPM. The only way to do that was to get as much air into the engine as possible, as quickly as possible. So, when it came to choosing a turbo there really wasn’t much of a consideration. I saw what the EFR’s were capable of, and had already experienced what a GTX3582R series turbo was able to do on the Wolfs very first set up.


(Fully Divided, Split Vein or Fully Divided Twin Scroll Turbine Housings, both on Externally (Above) and Internally (below) Waste Gated Version EFR Turbochargers)


So with the dedicated help of Abel Ibarra, we built a Semi-Peripheral Ported 13B Two Rotor Race Engine. The Semi-Peripheral port is known to the rotary world as being one of the most aggressive ways of porting, resulting in the largest power increase. But it has to be done correctly in order to produce torque.  Special things needs to be done to the engines port Configuration. Yes, it’s Semi-Peripheral, but I can’t share all my Mentors Porting Secrets HaHa!! …So let’s just say that a whole lot of R & D was done with the engines port configuration,…the whole thing was blue printed, and Abel has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to these things. It’s a tried and true combination, all of which Abel has personally developed and knew would produce what we were trying to accomplish. So, with the special porting and with the help of Borg Warners EFR9174D we were able to make use of all 10,000 RPM the Balanced 13B, 2-Rotor offered.


The low inertia turbine wheel (Above to the Right) not only means it delivers superior flow at the same size as other brand counterparts. But also, that larger sizes could be used to gain even more performance vs the same weight wheel of competing turbochargers. The EFR9174 is the equivalent of the GTX4088R. Where the 4088R used to shine the 9174 out flows it delivering more air at X given RPM, but with even greater response than say a GTX3582R.  The Borg Warner EFR9174 Killed it. Delivering 20 lbs of boost at 3500RPM.

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(Above: Taking it to the next level, and to utilize the larger 1.05 exhaust housing, Aaron has developed his own take on the externally gated turbine housing)

Not only did it deliver impressive response, but it held 20 lbs of Boost all the way to 10,000RPM.  Delivering 437 Ft. lbs of Tq and 512 WHP at 4800RPM. Talk about a Broad Power-band!!  Some may argue that any V8 is still easier to drive. But the way I see it,…if I want to make it to Formula Drift, and be good enough to compete with the best, I’d sure as hell be able to do it with this set up!! So to the nay-sayers..I say; “Bring it on!!!”


(Above: Each Borg Warner EFR comes equipped with a compressor Speed Sensor port & Below:  Electronic Boost Control Solenoid(black) as well as Re circulation valve(tan))


In Drifting, having low end torque and response helps me in almost every aspect. In Competition when leading, I know a lot of guys under estimate how fast the wolf is, so they’ll give me space on lead up to initiation. By the time they realize how quick the car is, it’s too late. The better drivers don’t give me any space at all. But I have noticed that a lot of V8 drivers tend to try and leave space on transition, thinking that they’ll be able to scoot in while I’m still waiting for the turbo to come online. But with the EFR, I never even think about spool or turbo lag for that matter. It’s just THAT responsive. I’ve also been taught to drive differently by utilizing quite a bit of throttle control. In a turbo car..it’s a massive advantage because it’ll allow revs to stay up in areas where most turbo cars suffer. Using the clutch with this technique, and the spool easy EFR…I’ve also noticed that I can usually gap them in transition and lower speed tighter sections.


In the chase position…This is historically where turbo cars show their biggest weakness. As if following wasn’t already hard enough… in a turbo car you are reacting to, and driving, according to the lead drivers every move. So each and every throttle correction is going to be determined by how responsive your turbo is. Every throttle correction historically, is going to be delayed due to lag and response of the turbo.  This is only accentuated if you are driving against someone you have no previous experience following, because you don’t know what to expect. With a slow spooling turbo you’ll be left playing catch up the second you leave the line….never fully being able to capitalize on mistakes because those mistakes happen in split seconds. So add a second for lag and another half second for delayed reactions and now you’ve got no chance of keeping up with even some of the slowest, smoothest N/A set ups out there.


(Shown Above, An EFR with optional twin scroll, Internally Gated Turbine Housing, for the customer who wants a smaller package and doesn’t want to deal with external Waste Gates)

If your reactions are even moderately quick and have a properly sized turbo…like an EFR that is responsive enough to give you the power immediately, then you can gain proximity in these situations. The best following drivers, ….I’ll use Fredric Aasbo as an example, make moves before the lead driver. Anticipating their opponents next move. The fast response of the EFR makes all of this possible. It Just so happens that Fredric Aasbo also uses a Borg Warner EFR.


The EFR is superior over other well known flagship turbochargers because of it’s low weight Gamma-Ti turbine wheel. This allows the Turbo to spool to the desired boost level much quicker, which produces unmatched response and power delivery.  It also takes the load off an engine in regards to keeping the turbine wheel spinning at the desired level of boost…which improves transient throttle response and input. This is due to the low inertia rotating mass which equates to less work for the engine. Or put plain and simple the easier exhaust gases can spin the turbine wheel the more efficient the turbocharger becomes. The higher the boost pressure the more its efficiency shines through.


Borg Warner also understands how important reliability is. They are one of the leading manufacturers of industrial products for diesel/gasoline combustion engines on the planet. This combined with leading performance characteristics makes the EFR the perfect fit for the sport compact, and domestic, turbocharged street & track machines.


(Constant R & D is being done to maximize application usability and performance from the already highly successful EFR, and SX Series Turbo Chargers. Key trademarks of industry leaders)


Here are a few questions I get asked frequently:

Why was the Borg Warner EFR developed? And what does EFR stand for? I’ll answer those here and give you some specs.

Well, “EFR” stands for “Engineered For Racing.” It was developed by Borg Warners own engineers in the Advanced Aftermarket Product group to rule supreme.  They created a wish list of every notable design characteristic they could think of. Then they used materials that had never been combined into an aftermarket turbocharger. So from that, came the EFR.  Which delivers the quickest boost response, powerful performance and reliable durability. The difference is leaps and bounds from the competition and with the unprecedented combination of advanced technologies..it’s easy to see why.

Here are some EFR Specs:

  • Low-weight Gamma-Ti turbine wheels and shaft assemblies for quick boost response
  • Patent-pending dual ceramic ball bearing cartridges for more thrust capacity, durability and turbine efficiency at low expansion ratios
  • Stainless steel turbine housing for increased efficiency, improved durability and corrosion resistance
  • Range of units supporting 225 to 1,000 horsepower per turbocharger


(Pictured Above from Left to Right Shamone Johnson, Aaron Parker, Patrick Harcourt)

Huge thanks goes out to Borg Warner for their continued support in drifting, and my drift program. Hope you enjoyed the post. Hit me up on Instagram and Facebook.


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