The Fascinating History of Dyno Tuning

Audi A5 3.0L TDI - Custom dyno tune in Perth

Laborde Motorsport: Insights into Dyno Tuning

Unlocking True Potential

Imagine yourself behind the wheel of a finely Dyno tuned machine, the engine purring with precision, each component working harmoniously.

The driving experience is transformed, making every journey not just about reaching a destination, but savouring every moment of the ride. This is the magic of dyno tuning.

The dynamometer, as we know it, has its origins in varied forms used for different purposes.

The concept of measuring force or power can be traced back to the early industrial era.

However, when it comes to the automobile and engine testing, the dynamometer’s history becomes more nuanced.

Under the hood of a Audi A5 3.0L TDI - Laborde motorsport
Under the hood of a Audi A5 3.0L TDI – Laborde motorsport

In the realm of automotive excellence where history, technology and innovation intertwine to create a captivating narrative, Laborde Motorsport stands as a beacon of distinction.

Nestled in Perth this establishment has carved out its place as the zenith of dyno tuning, aligning itself with the luminaries of the industry.

As automobiles evolved from the curiosities of the 19th century to today’s powerful marvels dyno tuning has consistently played a pivotal role.

Just as dyno tuning boasts its rich heritage and transformative journey, so too does Laborde Motorsport in Perth, embodying the dedication and finesse required in the art of dyno tuning. 

Need a crash course in Dyno tuning? Check out our article “What is Dyno Tuning?

Different Dyno Tuning Meters

The Water Brake Dynamometer:

One of the earliest forms of engine dynamometers was the water brake or hydraulic dynamometer. This device uses water as a medium to provide a load to the engine.

As water is added the resistance increases allowing the measurement of power. The Prony Brake invented by Gaspard de Prony in the early 19th century is an example of a rudimentary form of this concept although it was not specifically built for automotive engines.

Chassis Dynamometer:

The chassis dynamometer which measures the power output directly from a vehicle’s wheels evolved in the first half of the 20th century. Companies like Clayton Industries in the US were pioneers in this area.


Their early chassis dynamometers were instrumental in providing a more real world testing environment for vehicles simulating road conditions.

Modern Engine Dynamometers:

With the rise of electronic technology in the mid 20th century the dynamometer saw significant improvements. Companies like SuperFlow which was founded in the 1970s pushed the boundaries of what was possible.

They incorporated electronic and computer components into their designs allowing for a much more detailed analysis of engine performance.

While it’s challenging to point to a single individual or company as the inventor of the dynamometer for Dyno Tuning these key milestones and contributors have played significant roles in its evolution.

Incorporating Dyno Tuning into the earlier sections

 The Genesis of Dyno Tuning

As the 19th century drew to a close and automobiles began to mark their territory on the roads, the need for performance analysis tools became evident. The early solution came in the form of the water brake dynamometer, rooted in the principles laid down by Gaspard de Prony’s brake. However, as vehicles grew in complexity and number, the demand for more sophisticated testing methods surged.

By the 20th century, chassis dynamometers, exemplified by companies like Clayton Industries, provided a more realistic testing ground. These machines allowed vehicles to be tested under conditions simulating real-world driving. Yet, the world of dyno tuning was on the cusp of an even greater revolution.

Did you know? The term “dyno” is drawn from the ancient Greek word ‘dynamis’, symbolising ‘power’. In essence, the dynamometer was designed to tap into and measure this power, giving insights previously hidden from the automotive world.

The Evolution and Revolution of Dyno Tuning Machines

The mid 20th century witnessed a leap in technological capabilities. Enter companies like SuperFlow in the 1970s, which embedded the dynamometer with electronic and computing might. No longer was the dynamometer a mere measurement tool; it was now a sophisticated device capturing a wealth of data in real-time, allowing mechanics and engineers to refine engine performance down to the finest detail.

A tuned supercar

 Types of Dynos for Tuning

Within the vast world of dyno tuning, two primary types of dynos have emerged as the gold standard, each with its unique methodology and purpose.

Hyundai I30-N - Custom dyno tune in Perth
Hyundai I30-N – Custom dyno tune in Perth
Hyundai I30-N - Laborde motorsport in Perth
Hyundai I30-N – Laborde motorsport in Perth

Inertia Dynos: A reflection of their name, Inertia Dynos assess how swiftly an engine can accelerate a given mass. The primary focus here is on the engine’s raw acceleration capability. Think of it as a sprinter in a 100m dash—how fast can they reach their top speed?

Load-bearing (or brake) Dynos: These are the marathon runners of the dyno world. They don’t just assess an engine’s power; they simulate real-world driving scenarios. By adjusting resistance, they can mimic a range of conditions, from steep uphill climbs to the drag caused by headwinds. They provide a holistic view of how a vehicle would perform in various real-life situations.

While both types of dynos offer invaluable insights, the choice between them isn’t a matter of better or worse. Instead, it’s about the specific goals of the dyno tuning session.

Are you looking to unleash raw power, or are you aiming for a balanced performance across varied terrains? Your answer will guide the type of dyno best suited to the Tuning  task.

The Process of Dyno Tuning

Delving into dyno tuning reveals an intricate dance of mechanics, electronics, and computer science. The first step involves setting up the vehicle, ensuring its accurate positioning to capture all essential data. This meticulous setup guarantees consistent results, reducing any variables that could distort findings.

Watch Josh from Laborde Motorsport commence the Dyno Tuning process. An Audi is on the dyno and Josh connects to the ECU.

Once poised perfectly, the vehicle undergoes calibration—a process ensuring all sensors and measurement tools are synchronised. Calibration is paramount, setting the baseline against which all performance data will be compared.

As the tests commence, real-time data streams in, detailing aspects like torque, horsepower, fuel air mixture, and engine efficiency. This data isn’t just numbers on a screen; it’s a reflection of the vehicle’s heart, the engine.

Upon completion, experts delve into this information, analysing patterns, identifying strengths, and pinpointing areas of improvement. Armed with this insight, changes are made to the engine’s management system, optimising performance, and ensuring the vehicle operates at its peak potential.

The Role of Technology in Modern Dyno Tuning

In dyno tuning’s evolving narrative, software has emerged as the linchpin, tying together diverse processes. Early dyno tuning was reliant on analogue methods, where measurements were less precise and adjustments based largely on experience and intuition. The integration of software transformed this landscape.

Modern software solutions provide pinpoint accuracy, allowing for nuanced adjustments that were once unthinkable. Additionally, the advent of virtual tuning—a method where vehicles are tuned based on simulations—has added a new dimension to the field.

Furthermore, telemetry, a method of collecting data remotely and sending it to a receiving equipment for analysis, has revolutionised dyno tuning. No longer constrained by geographical barriers, experts can now oversee dyno sessions from afar, making the process more accessible and versatile.

Dyno Tuning Beyond Performance

It’s easy to associate dyno tuning solely with ramped-up performance and adrenaline-pumping speeds.

However, its scope extends far beyond that. One of dyno tuning’s most significant contributions lies in promoting sustainability.By refining engine parameters, dyno tuning ensures optimal combustion, which in turn enhances fuel efficiency.

Audi A5 3.0L TDI - Custom dyno tune in Perth
Audi A5 3.0L TDI – Custom dyno tune in Perth

A well-tuned engine doesn’t just perform better—it’s also more economical and environmentally friendly. Lesser fuel consumption means reduced carbon emissions, positioning dyno tuning as a potent tool in combating climate change and promoting greener mobility.

Controversies and Myths Surrounding Dyno Tuning

Like any discipline at the intersection of art and science, dyno tuning isn’t immune to misconceptions and controversies. Detractors often pit real-world performance against dyno-derived metrics, suggesting a disparity between the two.

One prevalent critique revolves around the environmental variables. Factors like altitude, temperature, and humidity can influence dyno results. This has led to some dismissing dyno figures as mere ‘theoretical’ values with little real-world applicability.

However, seasoned experts and enthusiasts know that a well-conducted dyno session, accounting for these variables, can yield results that are both accurate and applicable on the road. The key lies in understanding dyno figures as part of a broader performance narrative, rather than the sole determinant.


Dyno tuning tracing its roots back to the pioneering days of automotive ingenuity has consistently held its ground as an emblem of vehicular mastery. Beyond the mere metrics of speed or power it encapsulates the soul of the automotive world.

This intricate craft is about harmonising the machine with the ever evolving dance of the road. It’s about understanding that every nuance in tuning can transform a drive from a mundane task to a symphonic experience.

As technology continues its relentless march forward dyno tuning stands as a testament to mankind’s pursuit of perfection striving to elevate every journey, ensuring it’s not merely about reaching a destination but cherishing the ride itself.

Through the lens of dyno tuning, we witness the beautiful intersection of science, art, and passion and it compels us to look forward to the next chapter in this captivating automotive saga.

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