It’s really happening.
Fans of high-powered Corvettes won’t need to wait until Chevrolet rolls out the next Z06 to experience a C8 with 600+ hp. The aftermarket is already on the job of boosting the LT2 V-8’s 495-hp output—but the 2020 Corvette Stingray is offering up new challenges. We spoke with ProCharger’s marketing director, Rob Kinnan, to find out how the C8’s mid-engine packaging is making the aftermarket work harder than before and what we can expect from ProCharger in the following months.
Work started on ProCharger’s C8 supercharger kit before its technicians could even put hands on a test vehicle. First, they developed 3D models of parts and brackets by studying Chevrolet’s newest high-performance 6.2-liter V-8. Once ProCharger had a C8 in its possession, next came figuring out the engine’s new ECU, which Chevrolet built to discourage tuning. Of course, Chevrolet tried the same on the C7 Z06, and that didn’t stop tuners from cracking it. ProCharger has already found its way around that issue.
The mid-engine placement and new packaging mean ProCharger’s LT1 supercharger mounting brackets aren’t going to fly on the C8 and its LT2. ProCharger will have to squeeze its crank-driven, centrifugal supercharger somewhere near the front accessory drive, but it won’t be easy. “The crank pulley is almost touching the firewall, so that is a challenge to get around,” Kinnan explains. In addition, all of ProCharger’s supercharger kits use a charge cooler. Cooler air is denser and helps coax out as much power as possible while using low boost pressures. Finding the real estate to mount that cooler will also be difficult.
Now that the Corvette’s engine doesn’t have to stay low to keep out of the driver’s line of sight, there’s more room to available above the engine—which Chevrolet took advantage of, building a tall, efficient intake. That intake is partly responsible for the LT2’s improved airflow over its predecessor, the LT1. Despite using the same cylinder head casting as the LT1, the LT2 manages to churn out 35 more horsepower. An equal-length tubular exhaust also contributes to that figure. That high-flow exhaust will no doubt come in handy as power levels climb, as will the LT2’s new camshaft. With increased lift and duration, the new cam allows the LT2 to rev higher than its predecessor. It enables the V-8 to crank out power all the way to its 6450-rpm peak and beyond. So while the LT2 and its mid-engine placement are making ProCharger come up with new mounting and packaging solutions, the results should pay off.
“Every one of the ProCharger team members, even the office staff, are excited about the C8 supercharger development,” says Kinnan. “The car is really hot right now—as it was even years before it became official that GM was finally going to build a mid-engine Vette—and we’re working very hard to be the first supercharger manufacturer to come out with a supercharged C8. The C8 matches or exceeds the performance of “supercars” for a fraction of the price, and with a ProCharger on board it will truly be a world-beating supercar that can’t be touched for even three times the money.”
As for specific goals for the kit, Kinnan wasn’t ready to give us a hard number just yet. The system is still in development. However, “Our C7 kit added 180+ horsepower,” he says, “and we expect that to be in the neighborhood with this one.”
The release date is also another mystery. If we had to guess, we’d say you could expect something to be available by SEMA, currently scheduled for November, since that’s where the aftermarket usually shows off its latest and greatest products.
In the meantime, ProCharger will be testing its supercharger kit on the dyno and on the track. You may be able to spot the black C8 soon at Heartland Park, not far from its headquarters in Lexana, Kansas, or at Sonoma Raceway near its West Coast office in San Francisco.