In Formula One, in the so called "Turbo Era" of 1977 until 1989, engines with a capacity of 1500 cc could achieve anywhere from 1000 to 1500 hp (746 to 1119 kW) (Renault, Honda, BMW, Ferrari and Porsche). Renault was the first manufacturer to apply turbo technology in the F1 field, in 1977 with Renault R01 car and Renault-Gordini turbo engine RE20. The project's high cost was compensated for by its performance, and led to other engine manufacturers following suit.
The first turbocharged car to win a world championship Grand Prix was a Renault, in 1979, fittingly enough at the French GP at Dijon: and the driver was French too, Jean-Pierre Jabouille. Rene Arnoux, in the other Renault, was third after a thrilling battle with Gilles Villeneuve to complete a great day for the French team. Jabouille won one more race for Renault in 1980 before being replaced by Alain Prost, who had even more success, winning nine races: Arnoux won four. Renault left F1 after the 1985 season, returning in 2002.
The first successful application of turbocharging in car racing appears to have been in 1952 when Fred Agabashian in the diesel-powered Cummins Special (above) qualified for pole position at the Indianapolis 500 and led the race for 175 miles (282 km). Offenhauser's turbocharged engines returned to Indianapolis in 1966, with victories coming in 1968. The Offenhauser turbo peaked at over 1,000 hp (750 kW) in 1973, while Porsche dominated the Can-Am series with a 1,100 hp (820 kW) 917/30. Turbocharged cars dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1976 and 1988, and then from 2000-2010. Turbo-diesel era in 24 Hours of Le Mans racing begin with Audi R10 LMP prototype car. Since then, diesels are only winners in highest class of this race were turbo-diesels (down).
VTG has been used extensively in turbo diesel engines since the 1990s, but it has never been on a production petrol turbocharged car before until the new 997 Porsche 911 Turbo. This is because the exhaust gas of gasoline engines could reach up to 950°C, versus 700-800°C in diesel engines. Ordinary materials and constructions are difficult to withstand such temperature reliably. The 997 911 Turbo uses a VTG turbocharger which uses special materials derived from aerospace technology, hence solving the temperature problem.
The first turbocharged passenger car was the Oldsmobile Jetfire option on the , which used a turbocharger mounted to a 215 cu in (3.52 L) all aluminum V8. Also in 1962, Chevrolet introduced a special run of turbocharged , initially called the Monza Spyder (1962-1964) and later renamed the Corsa (1965-1966), which mounted a turbocharger to its air cooled flat six cylinder engine. This model popularized the turbocharger in North America—and set the stage for later turbocharged models from Porsche on the 1975-up , Saab on the 1978-1984 , and the very popular 1978-1987 . Today, turbocharging is common on both Diesel and gasoline-powered cars. Turbocharging can increase power output for a given capacity or increase fuel efficiency by allowing a smaller displacement engine. The 'Engine of the year 2011' is an engine used in a Fiat 500 equipped with an MHI turbocharger. This engine lost 10% weight, saving up to 30% in fuel consumption while delivering the same HP (105) as an 1.4 litre engine.
First production petrol turbocharged car, Porsche 997 911 Turbo, 2007