SCT’s New LS1 Pro Racer Software Reviewed

SCT is a high-performance EFI company based in Florida that has a long history as a major player in the tuning wars. Having primarily built their reputation as coders of the Ford EFI platform, and more recently in trucks and Hemi market places — the group at SCT thought it was about time to build a cutting edge GM tuning solution. With the growth of the LS1 market, and with the tremendous tuning and programming resources that SCT had internally, it seemed like a magic fit. The end result of this effort is the SCT GM Pro Racer software.

Based in Longwood, Florida, the first thing you’ll learn from the SCT team is that they have a boat load of hardcore automotive enthusiasts that prowl the halls. Whether you’ve got a Ford, a Corvette, or a dare we say, even a Dodge Magnum, SCT is looking to be a tuning solution of choice for you. The GM market is somewhat crowded, with EFI tuners like HP Tuners and EFI Live having a good portion of the market. However, SCT has some of the best technology in the tuning industry, and was very confident they could build a product which could offer their dealers, and the end racers, a very strong alternative to the existing tuners.

With the GM offerings, SCT is taking the same 2-tier product approach that they have offered enthusiasts in other platforms:

1) Entry/Mid Level: GM XCalibrator2 Handheld Tuner programmed by a dealer/tuner using SCT Advantage III software
2) Race/Hardcore Tuning: SCT GM Pro Racer Software (SCT Advantage III for 1 vehicle) flashed to your vehicle by GM/SCT XCal 2.

Apples & Oranges – the Differences

Let’s review how these work before we get into the hardcore Pro Racer software covered in this article. With today’s Flash-based tuners, they use the OBD-II port to re-flash the stock PCM computer. At the same time, they retain the stock PCM program so that you can return your vehicle to stock configuration if necessary. SCT accomplishes this in the GM market with their Xcalibrator2 GM flash device.

The XCalibrator2 functions as more than simply a flash device though, it becomes your “control center” essentially for doing several different things:

  • Flashes the PCM
  • Stores 3 Custom GM Flash Tunes
  • Reads/Clears Codes
  • Adjust Tunes at Track or Dyno

SCT’s XCal2, as we call it, will not be the way that your tuner programs your tune files and vehicle. He/she will do that using the SCT Advantage III software, or if you are tuning it yourself, with the GM Pro Racer software. The XCal2 works with most common GM OBD-II vehicles, including the LS1 Camaros, most Late Model GM trucks, ’98-’04 Corvettes, and even the 6.0L Escalades!

SCT Advantage III Software – for dealers

Before we get on to the rear meat (the GM Pro Racer package) we’re going to cover the basics of the SCT Advantage III software. Advantage III is not something you as a end user or tuner has access to. It’s what SCT’s dealers and tuners use to provide you with your custom GM tuning. The Advantage III software gives your tuner pretty full control of your vehicle’s PCM to control timing, fuel, and pretty much all tuning parameters necessary to get your GM LS vehicle at maximum performance. That’s great if you are going to have your dealer, shop, or tuner handle all of your on the dyno and track tuning duties, but what if you want full control of your own tuning

That’s where the SCT Pro Racer software comes in. It gives you, the racer or end consumer, the keys to the SCT tuning palace, so to speak. It’s a Tuner’s/Racers version of Advantage III.

SCT GM Pro Racer Software

SCT’s New GM Pro Racer software allows a GM Performance Enthusiast to manipulate all of the tuning controls and variables that a SCT custom tuner can. At the track, on the dyno, or on the street, a GM LS enthusiast can use this Pro Racer software to unlock the vehicle’s PCM and allows you to custom tune all of the parameters on your single PCM. Keep in mind, this software is designated and designed to be used for your vehicle, and it will not work to tune multiple other vehicles with your single license.

The package includes SCT Advantage 3 Custom Tuning Software and one XCalibrator 2 Flash Tuner; however Pro Racers can also add single database codes and additional flash tuners for use on multiple vehicles.

“Our new GM Pro Racer Packages are a hybrid of our popular racer packages for Ford vehicles,” explained SCT’s Brad Grissom. “It allows the consumer to have virtually unlimited control over the factory PCM. Unlike some other systems that only allow flashing to the PCM, SCT’s new Pro Racer Packages for GM allow the consumer to write their own files and save the factory PCM file. This is the first pre-engineered package to offer a complete solution for custom tuning on many 1998-2004 GM gas-powered cars and trucks.”

Here are some of the way you can use the SCT GM Pro Racer Package:

  1. Full Tune the PCM using the Pro Racer/Advantage III Software
  2. Flash your PCM with SCT GM XCal 2
  3. Program/Store 3 Custom Tunes at the Track or Dyno
  4. Tune Multiple Vehicles with Purchasing New XCal2’s

Currently SCT has the GM Pro Racer software available for the ’99-’06 GM Gas Trucks (pretty much all of the common ones – 4.8L/5.3L/6.0L/8.1L), 99-’02 LS1 Camaro & Firebird, ’04 GTO/SSR, and Chevrolet Corvette ’99-’04. Additional applications are being developed as we speak.

The retail price on this package is only $399.00, and you can add additional XCalibrator 2 device(s) for just $299 each and tune more than 1 vehicle without having to purchase the entire package!

Using the SCT Pro Racer software, you get full control over all PCM parameters including the timing curves seen here.

Setup is pretty powerful. You get access to the torque management areas and many of the other “locked” areas of the GM PCM. You can literally control almost any engine combination, including 1,000-plus hp power adder engines, all the way to a total street car.

The Bottom Line – How does SCT stack up

SCT’s newest entry into the GM Tuning market does have tuners talking in addition to their dealers. On LS1tech and several other web sites, they have attracted some attention to their new software, especially with the fact that end users can re-flash the PCM using their hand held XCal2 at the track or the dyno with one of the three programmed tuners that is loaded into the XCal2.

That is a feature that HP Tuners does not currently have but the rumor mill says they will be offering in the future. So that is a feather in SCT’s cap. On the same token, a few of the tuners seem to prefer HP’s scan tool to SCT’s current offering, making a direct comparison of the two systems somewhat difficult. With Diablo putting a emphasis on GM tuning solutions as well, one thing is for sure – the LS1 Late Model GM enthusiast has more and better choices than ever when it comes to a hardcore LS1 tuning solution.

We’ll look forward to do some more testing and even some tuning with SCT’s Pro Racer GM software on one of our in-house vehicles and we’ll keep you in the loop. Initial reviews look extremely promising and all indications look like SCT has made a major statement in the GM tuning world.

Article Sources

About the author

James Lawrence

James started working on a Nostalgia Top Fuel drag racing team in 1992, and the rest has been history. A life-long automotive enthusiast, James is in fierce competition to see whether he can collect more cars or cats. Right now, the cars are winning. James co-founded the NMRA and NMCA Drag Racing Series in 1998 and continues to be an avid and passionate fan on everything 1320. He also thinks he can drive. Thinks, is the key word.
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