An important aspect of building a racing car is squeezing in as much speed and power possible to gain even the smallest advantage over your completion. One way to get more power is to boost your car engine using either a supercharger or a turbocharger. Think of it like this, your engine runs on the combustion of fuel and air so if you can squeeze more fuel and air into the engine then you get a bigger combustion. A bigger combustion pushes your pistons harder which then gives you more horse power. More horsepower is ultimately good for any racer.
Although they have the similar function superchargers and turbocharger are fundamentally different in how they achieve this. A supercharger is mounted on the engine and uses the engines own power to inject more fuel into the engine. A turbocharger is placed by your exhaust manifold and uses the flow of the exhaust coming out of the engine to inject more fuel.
Turbochargers are generally more efficient since they use what would be waste energy (exhaust) from the engine. A downside to turbochargers is that they take some time to gain useful boost because the engine has to produce enough exhaust for the turbocharger turbine to work. They also operate at a narrow RPM range since they need a certain level of gas exhaust to operate. Turbochargers can get hot and often need to use the engine’s oil. This means that additional plumbing has to be put in and more engine oil is used.
A supercharger is usually connected to the engines crankshaft by a belt. This means that it can give instantaneous boost, that there is no need to collect energy like a turbocharger. This also means that it can also operate at a wider RPM range than a turbocharger. The biggest downside to superchargers is that they use the power of the engine, which makes them inefficient.
Ultimately both turbochargers and superchargers can seriously age your engine. Due to the higher temperatures and pressures you are exposing your engine to, you will need to rebuild your engine to handle these additional stresses. The cooling system, ignition, and fuel system are some of the components that would need a rebuild.
Most engineers would recommend that you use turbochargers as they are more efficient and use waste energy rather than drain power from the engine. It is for this reason that turbochargers usually provide more power per boost. If you have the budget, it is possible to fit in both this is known as twincharging.