Like winter holiday swag seemingly hitting store shelves earlier each year, the pre-SEMA show hype is now arriving weeks before the show. The latest revelation is the existence of the world’s first turbocharged 2018 Mustang GT put together by Tucci Hot Rods in conjunction with Hellion Power Systems and HP Tuners.

We will have this Hellion Eliminator kit available when cars start hitting the streets! — Hellion Power Systems

“This sick ride built by Tucci Hot Rods will be in the Ford Motor Company booth at the SEMA show in just a few weeks!” Hellion announced on social media. “We will have this Hellion Eliminator kit available when cars start hitting the streets!”

While you might assume that Hellion was able to turbocharge a 2018 Mustang GT so quickly because its previous Mustang GT kit was a direct swap, that’s not quite the case. There are certainly similarities in the configuration, but latest Mustang GT seems to borrow a bit from its upmarket cousin as well.

Joining Forces

“This car has a combination of our tried and true 2015-2017 GT parts and the amazing GT350 system,” John Urist, owner of Hellion Power Systems and multi-time NMRA champion, told us. “Having been on the cutting edge of both cars, we were able to mold those two systems into an easy bolt-on for the 2018 Mustang.”

Bolting the system on is obviously important, but in today’s world the hardware is only part of the equation. Tuning the factory PCM to maximize the performance and tame the drivability of a turbocharged setup required tuning provided by Eddie Rios of Addiction Motorsports, who took on the new wrinkles of the Gen 3 Coyote, including its new dual-fuel system with the bigger port injectors needed to feed twin-turbo boost.

Hellion Power Systems fired the first shot in the 2018 Mustang power adder wars by revealing that its Eliminator twin-turbo systems are locked and ready to go when the cars hit the streets. The first such kid will get a public reveal at the SEMA show on a project constructed by Tucci Hot Rods. (Photo Credit: Hellion Power Systems)

“We use a combination of both injectors to add extra fuel,” John said. “With the HP Tuners access to the entire fuel system programming tables, we are able to make a blend of both for fueling.”

As we recently learned the door was opened to modding 2018 Mustangs when HP Tuners cracked the code inside the new Mustang’s PCM.

“Generally speaking, tuning the 2018 is not all that different than the previous S550. It was a no-brainer figuring out that we would have to rely mainly on port fuel injection to keep the fuel mixture on target,” Eric Brooks, Ford Calibration and Development engineer at HP Tuners, said. The bigger challenge will be getting the most out of the new 10R80 (automatic transmission).”

Turbo Tuning

The trick, as we mentioned, is getting the new fuel system to adapt to the presence of boost. That means relying more heavily on the port injectors than the factory does.

We adjusted the calibration to move the blend toward the port-fuel injection at high loads. — Eric Brooks, HP Tuners

“The factory ECU is able to blend fueling between the port and direct fuel injection. Several factors are used by the PCM to decide the blend,” Eric explained. “RPM, engine coolant temperature, and load are all used to decide what the final blend percentage will be. Since load is really just volumetric efficiency, we adjusted the calibration to move the blend toward the port-fuel injection at high loads. (The factory tune does the opposite).”

Don’t think this is just some start and idle patch just for the SEMA show, however. The development is pretty far along on the 2018 platform, which is good news for all potential modders.

If you are looking to make big power with turbos, Hellion Power Systems has a kit and HP Tuners has the wherewithal to dial in the boosted combo on the dual-fuel Gen 3 Coyote. (Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company)

“It is not a finalized tune, but it’s close. It’s not the typical, ‘It will start and idle, let’s go to SEMA’ tune,” Eric Brooks explained. “Eddie Rios and I will be working together to find and get around any new ECU logic that may get in the way of making the most power possible, so that when the 2018s are on the lots, we will have updated the HP Tuners software to give tuners access to everything they need to dial this new horse.”

This allowed Hellion to develop its new turbo system before the car’s even hit the showroom floor, which means big-power 2018 Mustangs are just weeks away.

While Hellion isn’t ready to tell us just how big that turbo-tuned power might be, it seems like a safe bet that the final numbers will exceed those of 2015-2017 Mustang GTs with Eliminator turbo systems.

We are still in the testing stages to finalize max-power output, but the future looks very bright! — John Urist, Hellion Power Systems

“Assuming the bottom end is as strong (if not stronger) than the previous Mustang, I’d expect we will be seeing higher power numbers on max-effort setups with adequate octane,” Eric said. “On pump gas, since there was a bump in compression, I’d expect to see similar numbers but with slightly less boost than before.”

“At this time the output is similar,” John added. “We are still in the testing stages to finalize max-power output, but the future looks very bright!”

Look for more on the Tucci Hot Rods car in our SEMA coverage and stay tuned for those official power numbers. We are pretty excited to hear the results…

The Hellion Eliminator system for the 2018 Mustang GT will be available with a wide range of turbo sizes — from 55 to 67mm — to suit your horsepower needs.