105: Is Honda’s K-Series Really the Greatest 4-Cylinder Ever Made? [PODCAST]

Few people know more about ultra-high-performance engine building than this week’s guest, Terry Radbourne of Bourne HPP. In this episode, we’re going to be discussing topics like creating engines for LMP1 and Mercedes’s F1 team, truly getting the absolute most out of Honda’s K series motor, as well as the odd controversial opinion that’s sure to get the comment section fired up.


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Terry brings an intriguing mix of expertise and insider knowledge — straight out of school, he found himself working for Advanced Engine Research and quickly became involved in some seriously high-end race engine design and building work. After a few years spent honing his craft — including a stint creating engines for the Mercedes Formula 1 team, Terry went on to found his own company, Bourne High Performance Powertrains, or Bourne HPP for short.

zBourne HPP 3463

Bourne HPP specialises in designing and building seriously aggressive motors — most commonly of the Honda K-series variety in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms. This allows us to dive very deep into the intricacies of four-cylinder engine building, and time is spent discussing intake port design, cylinder sleeves, compression ratio, and a whole lot more.

zBourne HPP 3490

We also get stuck into the K-series motor itself, and Terry spends time talking us through exactly why he thinks this is one of the best engines ever produced and how to get the most out of it. As Bourne HPP is something of a one-stop-shop that does everything from engine rebuilds, to NA and turbocharged crate engine packages, to dyno tuning with the use of Syvecs and Lyfe Racing ECUs, Terry has an absolute oversupply of knowledge that he’s (mostly) willing to share. 

If you want to get smarter, this episode with Terry Radbourne of Bourne HPP is not to be missed.

As mentioned in the podcast, you can listen to our episode featuring Syvec’s Ryan Griffiths here: https://hpcdmy.co/Syvecs

Follow Bourne HPP here:
IG: @bourne_hpp
FB: Bourne HPP
WWW: bournehpp.com

Don’t forget, you can use “BOURNEHPP100” to get $100 OFF our HPA Engine Building package: https://hpcdmy.co/enginepackageb

4:13 How did Terry get into the industry?
7:23 Terry's experience at AER
9:27 Designing a blank-sheet engine
15:05 How important is modern virtual validation in engine design?
20:49 Proving an engine concept with a single cylinder/engine efficiency
28:42 Fuel air/ratio atomisation
34:08 Cylinder head porting
41:00 Le Mans lamba targets
46:20 Choosing different maps and strategies
48:00 How did Terry get a job at Mercedes F1?
50:48 Energy recovery in F1
56:38 Managing energy into the tyre over the length of a race
57:58 How did Terry start Bourne HPP?
1:01:06 Life Racing ECUs
1:15:00 Honda K20
1:18:35 Lightweight engine components
1:19:50 Why is gear drive not used in production engines?
1:21:32 Downfalls of the K20 for race applications
1:27:05 NA compression ratios
1:31:58 Why go away from V-TEC?
1:42:18 ITBs vs Intake plenum
1:46:51 How do we size ITBs?
1:51:10 K20 port profiling
1:53:11 Turbocharging the K20
2:02:45 Ductile iron sleeves
2:06:28 Head gasket sealing with the turbo K20

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  •  's profile image
    This is simply an excellent resource for those interested in learning about all types of engines, not just Honda K series. Thanks to Terry and Andre for providing this gem.
    - Ben D Australia
    4 days ago
  •  's profile image
    A very large and powerful engine. I am pleased with how the developers have worked out all the small nuances. It's just great!
    - John750 Russia
    6 months ago
  • Franz Faymann's profile image
    Incredible Podcast, I had to listen to it 3 times. So much insight info i had never considered.
    - Franz Austria
    7 months ago