The SRP and SRP Pro piston lines combines affordability with modern forging technology for the absolute best bang-for-the-buck performance.
When the SRP lineup was starting to take shape back in the 1990s, the original idea was to provide engine builders with the means to get the strength and durability they needed in their engine builds without breaking the bank.
“We wanted to give folks an option outside of going with full-on motorsport parts – something aimed more specifically at the street guy,” says Nickolaus DiBlasi, Director of Product Management for JE Pistons.
“SRP pistons were made with 4032 aluminum, which makes sense for most street-driven, high-performance project builds. The forgings were also fairly basic, which meant shorter turnaround in the shop, and that had a beneficial effect on the cost. And as a result, this line has continued to be very successful for us through the years.”
DiBlasi notes that SRP pistons have become a very popular option in crate motors as well as rotating assembly companies’ packages. “If you want to buy a forged rotating assembly for a 383 small-block, there’s a good chance that one of the options they’ll offer will have an SRP in it.”
As technology evolved, the SRP Pro became the next iteration of the original concept. “People were looking for a lighter, more modern part,” DiBlasi explains. “These forgings are more recently developed and the pistons feature a skirt coating that helps reduce skirt wear, piston noise, and friction, and they also cover modern applications like the GM LS-based engines and Ford’s modular V8s.”
Now with introduction of SRP Pro 2618 pistons, the team has taken all the features that made the SRP PRO 2618 line such a success and elevated them to an entirely new level. Let’s take a closer look at what makes SRP’s latest offering such a compelling option for hot rodders who are looking to add serious horsepower to their rides.
Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t
Developed over the course of a year, the SRP PRO 2618 piston designs were created using 3D computer modeling and tested for strength using finite element analysis (FEA), and a number of revisions were made along the way to optimize the strength and weight before the company deemed these new pistons ready for prime time. And unlike many competitors’ offerings, SRP manufactures billet pistons from solid pucks of aluminum for dyno testing in actual engines prior to approving the final forging designs. This gives SRP the opportunity to make small adjustments to the design to provide performance improvements and additional strength before the piston gets added to the roster.
DiBlasi says these modern designs tend to appeal to a slightly different kind of hot rodder than the original SRP line did. “A lot of old school guys like to go with the tried and true stuff – they want to stick with things like 1/16th rings because they know that works for them,” he says. “But there are also a lot of folks out there who are willing to adopt all the engineering advancements and technology we’ve added throughout the years and incorporate that into their build – thinner rings, different profiles, skirt coating, etc. These pistons have modern machine features that you’d find on a JE product.”
For guys who are adding boost or nitrous to their horsepower arsenal, the SRP PRO 2618 pistons offer distinct benefits over the OEM slugs. “Because they’re forged they’re massively stronger,” DiBlasi points out. “If you have, say, an LS3 that you’re adding a blower to and you want to run 15 pounds of boost to make 600 or 700 horsepower at the wheels, you would grab an SRP Pro and put those in there. And you’d be good to go all the way to 800 or 900 horsepower.”
But in recent years a trend in the market has seen an increased demand from builders who want the features and benefits of race-spec components in budget-friendly packages. That’s where the SRP Pro 2618 comes in. These utilize the same design features as the standard SRP Pro, but as the name implies, they’re made with 2618 aluminum rather than 4032.
“It really comes down to what you’re going to do with it,” says DiBlasi. “2618 is a different alloy with has less silicone in it, and that allows it to be extremely strong. When you have less than .25% silicone content like the 2618 material, you have a part that will expand and contract more – since silicon serves as a stabilizer – but it will also be able to take a more severe beating, because the silicon content is what makes the part brittle. So the 2618 is for the guys that want a little more – the guy who has a blown LS in his Camaro making 700 horsepower who now wants to add a 100 or 200 shot of nitrous.”
Ultimately it’s about getting the most bang for your buck. “These pistons are as close as you’re going to get before you start getting into stuff that’s more race than street,” he adds.
Applications All SRP Pro 2618 pistons are lightweight, forged side relief (FSR) forgings, which eliminates stress concentrations for superior strength versus traditional designs while shedding up to 20 percent of the weight. Accumulator grooves provide an improved ring seal while thick top ring lands are on hand to accommodate your forced induction/nitrous build’s requirements. Each package includes a set of JE Pro Seal premium piston rings, high quality wrist pins to further reduce reciprocating weight, and carbon steel wire locks.
While the SRP Pro 2618 pistons are extremely stout components, DiBlasi says that builders who want to push past a thousand horsepower – or simply plan for the future should – should consider stepping up to a JE race piston. “We don’t want to set people up for failure,” he says. “At that point you should be looking at a race part rather than trying to make a street part work in an application it wasn’t designed for.”
He also notes that once the power levels start to push well into four-digit territory, the cost-benefit factor starts to change. “When you’re making that kind of power, you’re probably not going to want to risk your engine’s reliability.”
The idea is to provide builders with the right tool for the job. “We want to have something for everybody. Not everyone has the budget for a JE piston, and not every build requires that level of capability – someone building a 600 horsepower Coyote could spend the extra money and see no direct benefit because an SRP Pro would work just as well in that particular application.”
On the other side of the coin, big horsepower is getting easier to come by every day. “We’re also seeing more and more street cars that are making insane power,” DiBlasi says. “Many street cars are making over a thousand horsepower at the wheels today, so there’s a place for the JE, too.”