Performance filtration specialists – inside RamAir
With a motorsport heritage stretching back to 1981, RamAir is one of the world’s leading air filtration specialists
When it comes to tuning a car, one of the first things on the list is a performance air filter. It’s a relatively simple way to improve airflow, which can increase power and also produce a much improved induction sound. As one of the world’s leading filtration specialists, UK company RamAir offer a huge range – with everything from old-school carb kits, to panel filters and universal set-ups, through to full heat-shield induction kits. One of their largest ranges is for VW Group cars.
Run by a bunch of dedicated car enthusiasts, RamAir’s products have been extremely well received by the VW Group community. From stunning show-car engine bays, to hard-worked track weapons, you’ll find the RamAir brand everywhere.
Although the company’s heritage stretches back to 1981, it’s the last eight years where big things have happened for the Wiltshire-based outfit. “When we took over the company, there were a lot of great products, but we wanted to grow the range to cater for the cars we were into,” says Operations Director Dan Mullan. “We began with a small building with one ramp and a little area to make the filters.” But they soon progressed, and the real growth began when they focussed on the e-commerce side of the business in 2010, which is also when they began to diversify.
The Jetstream induction kit
“I had a Mk5 Golf GTI at the time, so we decided to develop an induction kit for it,” reveals Dan. VW’s ubiquitous GTI was one of the cars-of-the-moment and with the same 2.0-litre turbo engine used in many other VW Group cars, including the Audi A3, SEAT Leon Cupra and Skoda Octavia vRS, it made sense to design a kit that would fit all applications.
“We came up with the Jetstream induction kit, with a 70mm induction pipe. This was then updated to the oversize 90mm 2.0 TFSI kit – that went on to become our best-seller,” explains Dan. With so many VW Group cars running this engine, many of which were tuned to Stage 2+, the oversize kit became one of the must-have upgrades for the 2.0 TSI/TFSI guys. Each kit is carefully designed to fit to factory mounting points and to be as OEM as possible, which is why they’re finished in a smart textured black, with black silicone hoses.
It’s fair to say, then, that RamAir has made a big impact on the VW Group market, both in the UK and abroad.
Research and development
Operations Manager Mike Fox explains: “We begin by getting a development car in for a couple of days for an initial overview – it’s usually a customer’s car or someone we know.” From drawing the kit using CAD, to the product going on sale can take anything from two weeks to two months, depending on the complexity of it. As part of this process, each air filter is tested against the stock part on RamAir’s SuperFlow flow bench.
The key criteria are that it flows air more efficiently and increases throttle response, as well as making a much more purposeful induction sound, of course. It’s interesting to note that RamAir don’t make big power claims, which is refreshing. “We say that each filter is capable of flowing more air, but the rest is up to you,” says Dan. It is clear though that being able to flow more air is key to more power when combined with supporting upgrades.
One of the great things about RamAir having their entire operation together in the UK is that products can be developed fast. Not only that, but it’s easy to make changes to add extra applications. This speeds up the development process and means they can react quickly to new model releases and be first to market. RamAir’s development team have a long list of new induction kit applications that are being worked on, with the VW Group cars taking up a healthy slice of it.
But it isn’t only specific off-the-shelf kits that RamAir has available. With filters and silicone hoses available in pretty much every size you could need, customers can choose their own universal set-up. “If we don’t do a specific kit, when a customer calls, we ask them to take measurements and take some pics, then send them to us. We can then advise them on which universal silicone induction hose and air filter will best suit their needs,” says Mike. So even if you drive something a little left field, perhaps a car with an engine swap, RamAir should be able to offer a solution.
With a state-of-the-art distribution facility on site, all RamAir products are available for next working-day delivery. There are no middlemen to deal with and a support team is on hand to deal with any questions or fitment issues. However, with comprehensive instructions, including photographs, included with each kit, you’re unlikely to need them.
Dan says, “All of our products are available via our website, our eBay store or direct from Amazon. We want to make it as easy as possible to get hold of them, so the customer can choose their preferred service. Some like eBay, others go for Amazon, while many head to the website.” Whichever method you select, you can be sure that your RamAir product will be despatched and delivered as fast as possible, which with Amazon Prime, means genuine next-day delivery, including weekends. For those of us needing parts quickly to prepare for a track day, a show or simply to get back on the road, it’s an invaluable service.
Not only air filters
Although RamAir may be best known for their range of high-quality air filters and induction kits, they also produce a range of other performance parts, including silicone hoses – from model-specific intake pipes, to universal intakes and vacuum pipes. They also produce a select range of intercoolers and a turbo inlet elbow for the Golf Mk7 GTI and R, plus a host of supporting parts such as aluminium ducting, stainless steel W2 bolt clamps and even gold thermal heat barrier sheet and
RamAir’s commitment to the VW Group is evident by the Golf Mk7 GTI parked outside. They still have the original Golf Mk5 GTI on the fleet, plus a new Polo GTI as well as access to every significant model for development purposes. But it’s the MQB-platform Golf 7 that is the most important, as RamAir seeks to develop a package of upgrades for this rapid and highly tunable VW.
Engineering and fabrication
RamAir has a wide range of engineering and fabrication skills available in-house. In fact, there’s not much they can’t do. At the heart of the operation is 3D computer aided design, modelling and simulation. This allows new products to be developed quickly and efficiently. A highly skilled team of TIG welders are able to work on all materials including titanium and Inconel, while complex tube and pipework can be cut and bent according to requirements.
RamAir are also able to produce silicone hose and have the capability for polymer injection moulding. This enviable skillset, combined with everything being in-house, means that RamAir is the only air filtration specialist in the UK able to offer such a wide ranging and efficient service. It also means that their Special Projects Division can offer bespoke solutions to a host of engineering needs.
Since 1981 RamAir has been heavily involved in motorsport, supplying filtration systems for a wide range of championships including Formula 1, Formula 3, DTM, WRC, Formula Ford, Le Mans Series, BTCC and WTCC. Testing in the heat of competition, means that RamAir gains valuable data and insights with their products tested at the very limits. And 2018 is the third year that RamAir will be proudly sponsoring the Time Attack Championship.
This exciting, against-the-clock competition attracts a diverse rage of cars and drivers, from novices in relatively stock cars, through the Pro Extreme class in heavily tuned aero-clad monsters. Around half the cars run RamAir filters, so it’s another great opportunity to test products in the heat of competition.
Air filter performance
All RamAir filter elements are manufactured using Aeriform. Comprised of two different layers of foam, it’s specially designed to offer variable stage filtration to maintain a high airflow, but also keep potentially damaging particles out of your engine. They have been proven to work more effectively than paper filters, which may work fine to begin with, but over time can soon lose efficiency, especially if they become exposed to water or humidity. RamAir also offer a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser.
There are some exciting plans in store for 2018 and further ahead, as RamAir continues to drive forward and expand their business. “Through our Global Dealer Programme, we’re seeking new international partners,” says Dan.
So there we have it. Having grown into one of the premier filtration specialists and moved into other areas including silicone and intercoolers, where next for RamAir. “We see the MQB platform as a huge potential market, so we’ll continue developing products for cars such as the Golf 7. We’d like to offer packages, so for example with the Golf 7R, you can order an intercooler, silicone intake, silicone elbow and Jetstream induction kit.”