It’s been more than 15 years since Noonan Race Engineering was first founded in Australia. Every year since opening in 2006, the machine shop and engine shop, located today in Spartanburg, SC, continues to enhance its reputation as a high-end provider of billet aluminum, high performance, hardcore engine componentry for professional motorsport teams and enthusiasts who want the ultimate in performance.
The 22,000 sq.-ft. shop, owned by Jamie and Renee Noonan, specializes in manufacturing its own billet cylinder heads, billet manifolds, billet valve covers, and billet engine block designs for both supercharged and turbocharged alcohol Hemi and LS engines. Noonan Race Engineering relies on its experience and the interactions of its customers to continuously design, test, develop and build better performance solutions to stay ahead of the demanding curve associated with racing.
As such, they can usually be found at the annual PRI show in Indianapolis, which is exactly where we caught up with them – during the 2021 show – to get the run down on one of their best-selling engine combinations – a 4.8˝ billet Hemi engine – which can be used in applications such as NHRA Pro Mod, Top Alcohol, Outlaw Pro Mod, and Tractor Pulling.
“This is our 4.800˝ bore space configuration, tall deck 426R platform,” says Barry Pettit of Noonan Race Engineering. “This particular engine package is meant for tractor pulling on mini rods or for Outlaw Pro Mod configurations. This manifold is meant to have a setback since it is tractor specific, so it is around 572 cid to meet the rules.”
This Hemi engine was front and center in Noonan’s booth as it’s an engine combo that the shop has been pushing the boundaries of in order to get a whole new level of horsepower. This combo includes the 4.8˝ billet Hemi block, all-new billet X2 cylinder heads, X2 billet manifold and X2 billet rocker covers, and is available for screw/roots supercharger or turbo/ProCharger combinations.
“It’s a solid platform and we’ve had great luck with it,” Pettit told us. “We’ll machine the block, cylinder heads, valve covers and manifold all in-house. We try to do as much of it as we can. Even something such as the valve covers come in as a solid block of aluminum. Once we machine it, 98% of that aluminum ends up in the scrap bin.”
Internally on the 4.8˝ Hemi, Noonan runs nothing but quality components such as a forged crank, aluminum rods, CP pistons, Total Seal rings, Trend wristpins, a custom Bullet camshaft, Cleveite coated bearings, Jesel lifters, PSI springs, Manley valves, and Reid or Manton rockers.
Additional components on the Hemi combo include an MSD Pro Mag 44, MSD leads, a Dan Olson oil pan, a Barnes dry sump oil pump, an RCD mag drive and RCD fuel pump extension, and a Noonan front cover and gear drive assembly.
“Everything in these engines is similar to what you would see in a normal endurance racing engine, but everything is bigger,” Pettit says. “We’ll run a 4.500˝ bore and a 4.000-4.250 stroke. As for the valvetrain, we’re comfortable with 9,000-10,000 rpm out of the 4.8˝ Hemi. Our 4.9˝ package can go a little bit higher due to the raised cam.
“There’s a lot of components that go into an engine, so we focus on taking what’s out there and making the best solution for the racer. However, if we can’t get in front of a vendor, we’re a machine shop, so we’ll make something ourselves. Normally, we’ll see around 3,000-3,200 horsepower out of something like this.”
Making around 3,200 horsepower without breaking much of a sweat is thanks to the Noonan brand’s reliability.
“We’re known for our reliability, and for customers like our tractor guys, when they show up to a pull, they only have one chance,” he says. “They don’t get any kind of practice or qualifying or anything. It’s an area that we feel we shine in. Our stuff shows up and performs well.”
This 4.8˝ billet Hemi engine is just another example of that reputation ringing true.
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – Das Original, Scat Crankshafts and Engine & Performance Warehouse Inc./NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].