RaceChip GTS Black - User Review

I have no affiliation with any vendor mentioned below, including RaceChip.

Since I could find very little about this F-Type tune on any other website or forum, here it goes, an unbiased user review of RaceChip GTS Black for Jaguar F-Type V8S. I will update as more information flows in…

Why RaceChip?

Coming from the BMW tuning world, with tens of thousands of active adopters posting loads of end-user information daily, I found it much more difficult to find, judge, and select a Jag tune for my F-Type. I could not find any genuinely useful information on any Jag forum, or the greater internet for that matter, about tuning the F-Type. That’s the reason for this review combined with a DIY guide to install this tune.

Because of the overall technical immaturity of the few F-Type tunes available, I quickly ruled out a flash tune because none have enough of a user base to justify the risk. Add to that, the reality that modern Jags permanently flip a bit when the firmware is flashed by unauthorized non-dealers, voiding your Jag warranty. There are too many accounts of dealers “bricking the car” when official updates try to meld with flash tunes. The results aren’t pretty, the ECU generally needs to be removed and sent back to Jaguar galactic headquarters for reprogramming at owner expense. Warranty gone.

One flash tuner, Hennessy, stands behind their work with a 3 year engine warranty of their own, but even John makes it clear in his Youtube video that it is still essentially a fully backed experimental tune that they have only done to a few F-Types. A company like Hennessy is big enough to absorb a loss from a warranty claim, but their price tag of $10,000 negates a big chunk of that coverage up front. With that hefty sum, comes pro-installation of a smaller/faster Supercharger pulley, making their claim of 616 peak bhp and 597 lb-ft a little harder to decipher when it comes to the effect of the software alone.

The other companies offering flash tunes seemed like one-man shows with turnkey websites, and none offer monetary assurances. In fact, none could offer a me credible before/after F-Type dyno result. Two of the small-shop flash tunes, VelocityAP and Vivid Racing, offer obviously invalid before and after dynos on their websites, where the TQ/HP lines criss-cross no where near 5252 RPM. To make matters worse, the Velocity AP before and after dyno runs crossed at vastly different RPMs, one way above and the other way below 5252. This shows a stunning lack of basic mechanical understanding, IMO.

Velocity AP website’s troubled “dyno” results:

VividRacing, has the same issue with the charts offered on their website, which cross at 6000 RPM and higher:

Both of these online “tuners” demonstrate zero understanding of the basic HP to TQ relationship:

HP = TQ * RPM / 5252

RaceChip was different in a few ways. First, they do offer a credible before and after dyno, though it seems too good to be true (more on that soon). They offer a 5 year warranty on their product, and a two year supplemental engine warranty, up to $12,000 with a long list of limits and conditions. Do I believe that would actually pay? No. But at least they advertise it which shows some willingness to risk-share. But the biggest difference is that RaceChip is a piggyback unit that can quickly be returned to stock, as it does not alter the car’s firmware. It works by intercepting two sensors, and altering their signal output to fool the stock ECU firmware into thinking there are different atmospheric and/or performance conditions.

Still, RaceChip’s hype was not without concern. First, digging up some web reviews, though none were Jag owners, revealed a lot of very frustrated buyers who noted near-zero or zero after-sale support. Most of the issues, though, were installation problems as RaceChip supplies only generic instructions about how to install the sensor-intercept harness. That turned out to be a legitimate beef, I got pictures of a VW install and it took days for me to find the correct sensor. As noted above, RaceChip did not provide any help (ammended: see reponse below). Worse, their US phone number turned out to be invalid, as it was apparently bought buy a similar but different tuner who was more than happy to help me buy their solution instead, but alas, they offer nothing for the F-Type.

The Advertised Performance Increase

RaceChip’s claims are hard to nail down. In the case of the 495hp base motor, they claim gains up to 72hp. But for the 575hp SVR motor, they claim the same. I find that hard to believe since the two motors are hardware-identical, but for the factory software tune. This raises the concern that they don’t know enough about the product line, and are simply claiming some +X number above any given factory HP.

Somewhat mitigating that concern, are three things. One, they have a lot of good performance reviews, as well as the frustrated reviews related to installation and no support. Two, they tell a credibly detailed story of their F-Type tuning experience, with Dyno results embedded. Namely, that the 2012 V8S’s base HP was actually 538 HP, not 495 HP, and they were able to add 72 HP maximum delta above stock, with 599 HP at peak output. But this begs the obvious question, how are they measuring or estimating HP at the crank? The last thing that gave me hope is their willingness to sell on Amazon, which means easy hassle-free returns.

Installation frustration

My RaceChip GTS Black arrived in a nice box after about a week…


Stock Photos…
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The controller mounts to the F-Type via a supplied wiring harness that plugs into two engine sensors. The car’s stock sensor connectors then plug into the RaceChip harness. Simple right? Wrong! Why? VW photos. That’s right, RaceChip sends a customized manual, but the photos are all generic from a VW. With some cars this truly would be no issue. But not with our car.

The first sensor I needed to find was the Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor. It is easy to find and access, right on top of the engine where the back of the air intake meets the throttle body above the supercharger pulley. That one took 15 seconds to intercept.

Then, the fun started. I looked everywhere for the second sensor. It didn’t help that RaceChip calls this the “Boost Sensor,” which is not technically correct. It turned out to be the Manifold Absolute Pressure and Temperature (MAPT) sensor. Nothing I could find on or around the engine fit the supplied connector. I wondered, did they send the wrong harness? A quick web search for “Jaguar F-Type Boost Sensor” revealed a sensor with a matching plug for the second harness connector and it was for all model year F-Types, so I had to be the problem. I looked again, and again… nothing.

Then, after two days of digging, I found the Holy Grail, the diagram pictured below. The two RaceChip sensors are highlighted in yellow by yours truly…


Now, I finally knew what I was looking for in the engine bay, and I still couldn’t find the sensor! Unfortunately, the MAPT is located underneath the Noise feedback System sub-assembly, shown below in red as #1


I tried to feel for the MAPT, but could not get back there with my hands given about 2" of working room between the engine and the firewall. I couldn’t even find a wire to follow to the sensor. So I removed three easy screws on top of the back of the motor which attached the large plastic bracket for the Noise Feedback System tube and also a very thick wiring harness. I was able to push the bracket assembly back about an inch, just just enough to see between it and the back of the block, with a flashlight in my teeth. Bingo, there it was, about 6 inches below. There was no possible way to get my fingers in there. Yikes!

I took an hour to think this one over.

If I tried to disconnect the sensor using tools to reach it, there would be a chance I’d get it detached but not be able to get the new sensor installed, or even get the car back to stock. I decided that using two long, thin flat head screwdrivers would pretty easily lift the clip then push the sensor plug off with a screwdriver on each side of the plug. I have a set of two 13" accordion needle nose pliers that often I use to reach difficult areas on my cars, like rear fuel injectors and whatnot. I thought they’d probably work to maneuver the new plug in place. So after practicing a few times on the RaceChip intercept harness, plugging it into itself, I went for it.

It was trivially easy to pry the clip up and gently and slide the plug off using the two screwdriver method. Now, with the the sensor plug off, I was able to push that plug and wire out the back side toward the firewall, underneath the Noise feedback System assembly. Now the stock sensor plug was easy to feel and grab, so I pulled it up and clipped it into the RaceChip harness. Yay, one connection down in less than a minute!

After maneuvering the rest of the RaceChip harness down the firewall surface and under the Noise feedback System sub-assembly, it was actually pretty easy to push the new intercept plug into the general area of the engine sensor. I wiggled it around until I could see the RaceChip plug appear near the engine sensor. After confirming the plug’s orientation, I managed to get it almost aligned to the sensor without much effort. Using the two screwdrivers as my chopsticks, I was able to align the plug. Reaching around the firewall side, with my hand wedged down as it would go, I was able to push the plug all the way on to the sensor. After a few minutes of wiggling and coaxing with screwdrivers from the top and bottom, it clicked into place. All told, a lot easier than I thought it would be. Phew!


Because of the relative difficulty of the above, I decided to deviate a bit from the instructions. The RaceChip unit comes with a dummy plug that you can install in place of the brain unit, in case you ever want to remove the chip but not go through the trouble of removing the harness. By closing the harness circuitry, the dummy plug returns the car to physical stock. This is a great little feature. So before engine start, I thought the safest route would be to install the dummy plug first before hitting the engine start button, just to be sure the car would start and idle properly. It did. No issues. So, on to the next step.

I put the RaceChip brain back onto the harness, hit the start button without the brake pedal. The unit digita display came alive! So I ran the engine startup procedure per the RaceChip instructions. Again, no issues. No CELs. Idling great. Awesome sauce. Time to button things up enough for a test drive.

First Impressions

The first mild acceleration seemed no different, but I wasn’t expecting it to start the modification yet, as RaceChip GTS Black version claims to implement a modification timer to make sure the car is warm. I didn’t not splurge for the Bluetooth interface, which allows one to adjust the warm up time, and the manual is unclear with that time is, out of the box.

After stopping for gas, the engine had been warm for a few minutes, so I pushed the throttle a bit pulling onto the highway. What do you know, the car felt noticeably more powerful. My first impression during that moderate acceleration was that there is a perhaps +20% more agressive throttle remap on top of stock Dynamic Mode. I was surprised to feel that, since RaceChip sells a discrete pedal hardware-level throttle curve remapping device. I expected this mod to work at the boost/timing level, but its admittedly hard to tell the difference in low RPM bands. The existence of the RaceChip XLR shows that the company is no stranger to remapping throttle curves.

Throttle tuning is a quick and easy way almost all popular tunes currently available give the appearance of more engine power. In reality, this method can make car a lot more responsive and even faster to accelerate, as most manufacturers limit throttle body opening in accordance with some user-selectable throttle curve (think Ice/Snow/Normal/Dynamic), or by default to spline instant surges commanded by a certain foot. Regardless of the way it is being implemented, It feels to me like the pedal is commanding maybe 20% more throttle than stock in Dynamic mode.

“Power” is a tricky word. I have yet to see an auto manufacturer or enthusiast properly explain power, including all the Youtube videos I’ve watched that try to explain the difference between horsepower and torque. I know I’m not the only one who understands the difference between power and torque, but in the context of popular advertising/testing cars, there seems to be zero understanding. I expect Top Gear, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, etc. to be clueless about physics, but it’s shocking to me that manufacturers’ typical propaganda also demonstrates no understanding because Power is so simple: Work divided by Time.

Horsepower then, is Work/Time, where work is quantified by some mass displacement (not the “engine” kind of displacement, the “movement” kind). Work then, is done by a Force (in this context, torque) times some Distance traveled.

So if any device helps the car physically move from an A to a B in less time, it adds power. Tires, for example, may add or subtract power at the system level. AWD is another system level example of adding power, because the same engine physically moves the car in less time. So throttle remapping, to speed time-to-throttle does add horsepower. This is confusing to many, because adding system-level power to a car may not add any “shaft horsepower.”

Shaft, more commmonly referred to as flywheel horsepower in the auto industry, and its kissing cousin, wheel horsepower, take the car-specific variables out of the equation in an attempt to isolate engine power, using the engine’s shaft RPM as a proxy for distance traveled. This is of course not scientifically correct, but every manufacturer adopts this kludge to sell engines, and AFAICT, they do so unknowingly.

So now, the big question: Does RaceChip generate more shaft horsepower resulting from more torque (force to do work) across the power-band of the engine?

The short answer is, yes. But again, this question turned out to be more difficult to answer than I anticipated.

The difficulty is best illustrated by this actual scenario. The F-Type was running great for a while, so I decided to do a max acceleration test in a 0-60-style set-up. The first really hard pull was a disaster of sorts, resulting in abnormally slow acceleration; ridiculously so. Hmmm, strange, there was no sign of a problem, no faults, CELs, etc. So now I’m confused and disappointed. What could cause the engine to under-perform without fanfare, I wondered?

Well, duh… what about Traction Control? So I cycled Traction Control through Track DSC to DCS Off and set up the pull again. This time, the fastest part of the run was the rear end migrating right-left as the tires lit up. Ok, now things are starting to make sense. I drove to a stickier location.

The stickier road, with fairly new black asphalt made the next 0-60 acceleration pretty brutal. It was always brutal, now, more like violent. So right away, the fact that Traction Control didn’t shut down previous runs in stock form seems to objectively confirm a power gain. Daily driving confirms more ultimate acceleration is present from a rolling start.

Exactly how much power is added, at this time, remains an unknown. My guess, is +50 hp, or 10%. But it is hard to say as I haven’t done comparative switching between stock and RaceChip, instead of relying on feel, I’m going to go get data. RaceChip’s claim is +72 hp for their top-end GTS Black version, or 15%. Either one would be acceptable to me, but the next step will reveal the truth which is all that matters.

Best 0-60 so far…

Seems quick for a V8S, but given a RaceChip claims of +72 HP, the run is in line with the RWD 2015 Jaguar F-Type R’s measured 0-60 time of 3.4 secs and the 2014 V8S stock 0-60 time of 3.6 secs.

Dyno Testing

All done! The tech was awesome and estimates another 30-40 hp is still trapped in software, but they don’t have tools for Jaguar. We’re going to add a pulley and do a race gas run in the near future, stay tuned. I used his estimate of 12.5% drive-train losses in the Jag’s big 8-Speed to calculate BHP, below.


I let the RaceChip Map 7 go first so it was fully adjusted after a few days of driving. All pulls are in 5th gear…


RunFile_001 = RaceChip Map 7
RunFile_002 = RaceChip Map 5 (default setting)
RunFIle_003 = Jaguar Baseline, Stock Harness

Incredibly, the V8S makes 495 at the wheels, not at the crank, much like RaceChip observed during their development. Jaguar’s conservative HP and TQ estimates definitely accounted for the majority of today’s awesome showing on the DynoJet.

Actual Peak HP at the Wheels

  • RaceChip Map 7 = 531 HP, 500 TQ
  • RaceChip Map 5 = 524 HP, 500 TQ
  • Jaguar Stock = 495 HP, 468 TQ

Estimated Actual Peak HP at the Shaft

  • RaceChip Map 7 = 598 HP, 563 TQ
  • RaceChip Map 5 = 590 HP, 563 TQ
  • Jaguar Stock = 557 HP, 526 TQ

RaceChip’s Claimed Improvement

  • Up to +72 HP

Actual Improvement (maximum HP delta between Map7 and Stock)

  • +61 HP

If you take the max HP delta generated between Map 7 and Jag stock, around 5800 RPM, Racechip’s claims are not that far off. I saw a 61 HP max gain, above. Not quite the 72 HP claimed, but as always, your mileage may vary.

Note that all Dyno numbers were adjusted by the DynoJet for STD Day, subtract 8 HP for SAE.


This is great! Very informative, an excellent writeup. Thank you!


Today I received a response from RaceChip to my sensor location question, sent about a week ago. At least they did get back to me with good information. Their attached photos nicely illustrate the MAPT sensor location as described above. There is also V6S info, quoted below.

Thank you for contacting the RaceChip Customer Service and please apologize for our late reply.

Please find in attached suitable installation pictures for the 5.0 supercharged engine. As you can see the provided harness must be plugged to the boost pressure sensor (Ladedrucksensor, A) and to the manifold pressure sensor (Saugrohrdrucksensor, B).

Should you require any more information or assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.
You may simply reply to this message and a member of our team will get back to you.

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There may be soon a response to this, from a guy who’s done extensive and non-partisan work on the project of increasing F-Type hp: I drove his, and it is lightning fast.

Hi Sandy, I am just wondering why your first post was taken down…I am intending to but an F Type 5.0. Do you have dyno video or similar ? Regards, Art.

A post was split to a new message: Various

Did you ever find out what configuration he used to ramp up his Jag? Curious… (:

So helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write such an extensive article for us novices. I’d love to give this a try.

I will follow up with him!

was this the guy who was kicked off the site awhile ago… I would like to contact him…