In the never ending quest to maximimize performance, one of the most overlooked parts are the final drive gears. Also referred to as the ring and pinion, this simple 2 gear system converts the mechanical torque output of the engine, and emits it to the wheels. The higher that ratio, the more the torque is multiplied – at the expense of top speed per gear. Picking the right ring and pinion is a function of many things, such as the torque curve of the engine, the rpm range of the engine, the wheel and tire combination, and the vehicle weight, and how those all operate within the confines of your intended useage. A car that has a very high specific torque may opt for a lower overall final drive ratio, to help put it’s power to the ground without uselessly spinning the wheels. Vehicles that have exceptionally high rev limits and make comparitively less torque than they do horsepower may opt for a higher overall final drive ratio, which helps overall acceleration and general engine responsiveness. It’s the never-ending balancing act.
In looking at what final drive is right for you, it’s often beneficial to examine what ratios other cars use. Will start this off by looking at the various final drive ratios of notoriously “quick/fast/powerful/desirable” Rear Wheel Drive Sports cars. If interested, we can expand this in future series to examine front wheel drive and AWD vehicles as well.
If any of the figures below are incorrect, please let me know!
996 series Porsche 911 GT3: 3.44:1 final drive, car weighs 2970 lbs, 8200 rpm redline, 355 crank hp, 284 ft/lbs
997 series Porsche 911 GT3RS 4.0: 3.89:1 final drive, car weighs 2998 lbs, 500 hp, 339 ft/lbs
Ferrari 360: 4.44:1 final drive, car weighs 3197 lbs, 8500 rpm redline, 400 hp, 275 ft/lbs
Ferrari 430 Scuderia: 4.30 final drive, car weighs 2976 lbs, 8640 rpm redline, 510 hp, 347 ft/lbs
Corvette C6 Z06 (2013 2LZ): 3.42 final drive, car weighs 3175 lbs, 7000 rpm redline, 505 hp, 470 ft/lbs
Laborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Balboni: 4.06 final drive, car weighs 3153 lbs, 8500 rpm redline, 550 hp, 397 ft/lbs
Viper GTS SRT Track Pack (2013): 3.55 final drive, car weighs 3374 lbs, 6250 rpm redline, 640 hp, 600 ft/lbs
Tp help you calculate how various options will affect your car, use the online gear calculator we posted. Click here for final drive calculator