It took 30 hours for Hennessey Performance Engineering to tear apart a new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, install twin-turbo setup, and put it back together.
It’s no surprise, then, that the twin-turbo C8 Corvette isn’t ready to be sold to customers. The engine lacks intercoolers and Hennessey hasn’t cracked the code of GM’s new electrical architecture to reprogram the ECU.
“This is just the beginning, our own car, doing R&D,” company founder and CEO John Hennessey told Motor Authority.
On Monday, the engine made 643 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque at the wheels on a Dynojet dyno while running just 5 psi of boost. That compares to baseline testing HPE performed on the stock car which revealed 466 hp and 451 lb-ft of torque. HPE plans to offer a 1,200-hp version of the C8, which Hennessey said could make 18-20 psi of boost.
Hennessey took delivery of an orange C8 Corvette in Detroit on March 13. He and his daughter, Emma, drove back to the performance outfitter’s Texas headquarters and performed baseline testing before the Hennessey team tore apart the car.
The orange C8 fired back to life on Friday with twin 62-mm Precision Turbos and twin blow-off valves connected to the throttle body mounted behind the catalytic converters. Both turbos are oil-cooled with twin scavenge pumps that feed back into the motor.
The system is not intercooled. Instead, there’s a methanol injection setup to keep things from getting too hot. HPE is considering where to put intercoolers. The current packaging has limited space for intercoolers without cutting into trunk space, which Hennessey does not want to do. 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey
Hennessey told Motor Authority his team currently can’t tune the factory ECU, but it is looking at aftermarket solutions for the engine management system. He noted it took a year for solutions to come to market for the C7 and added, “hopefully, it won’t take a year.”
Hennessey said when the turbocharged C8 was first started it didn’t throw any codes, errors, or a check engine light. “The computer seems happy with the turbos,” Hennessey noted. A check engine light did appear when the front wheel speed sensors were disconnected to put the car on the dyno, Hennessey said.
The orange C8 will used for R&D of upcoming modifications. Hennessey said he doesn’t expect to deliver modified customer C8s for at least six months, and all will have intercoolers and full plumbing.
Joel Feder for Motor Authority
The 58th Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first round of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, saw the first race for the new Corvette C8.R, the participation of an all-female driver line-up, 2019 NASCAR champion Kyle Busch’s first start in a 24-hour race and Ben Keating at the wheel of two different cars.
A NOTEWORTHY DEBUT FOR THE NEW CORVETTE C8.R
The #3 Corvette C8.R finished the first 24-hour race of its career in fourth place in GTLM (the equivalent of LMGTE Pro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans). Drivers Antonio García, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg encountered zero problems with the car and completed 785 laps (nearly 5,000 kilometers). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the #4 Corvette C8.R of Gavin-Milner-Fässler. As the car was in the top 5 in its class going into the ninth hour, an oil leak caused the car to return to its garage. The leak was found to be in an area that forced the mechanics to remove the engine for repair and the work took almost nine hours. The #4 was then able to hit the track again and finished the race in 36th place.
Much like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona is an extremely challenging race. To make it to the checkered flag with an all-new car is already a major accomplishment for Corvette Racing. The American team’s next stop is the 6 Hours of the Circuit of The Americas on Sunday 23 February in Austin, the fifth round of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
AN ALL-FEMALE DRIVER LINE-UP
All-female driver line-up Christina Nielsen, Katherine Legge, Tati Calderon and Rahel Frey shared GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the GTD class, but the car was forced to retire after a fire.
KYLE BUSCH ENJOYS HIS FIRST ENDURANCE RACE
2019 NASCAR champion Kyle Busch took the start in his first Rolex 24 at Daytona at the wheel of the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team’s Lexus RC-F GT3. Along with teammates Parker Chase, Jack Hawksworth and Michael de Quesada, Busch finished 26th overall and ninth in the GTD class. The American driver pulled off a double and a triple stint without the slightest mistake and said after the race he really enjoyed the experience and hopes to return for the overall win.
BEN KEATING DOUBLES DOWN
Ben Keating participated in his 10th Rolex 24 at Daytona at the wheel of not one but two cars: the #52 ORECA 07 fielded by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports in the LMP2 class and the #74 Mercedes AMG-GT3 fielded by Riley Motorsports in GTD. Both cars crossed the finish line, the #52 ORECA 07 in 10th place overall and second in its class two laps from the winners, and the #74 Mercedes AMG-GT3 in 29th place overall and 11th in its class. This was the fifth time Keating participated in the race with two different cars.
Source: 24H LE MANS
GM is sponsoring the permanent exhibit, which is packed with such classics as Lotus-Ford, Ford GT, and Camaro racers and land speed record cars.
The Henry Ford
- From the 1906 Locomobile Old 16 to a 2018 Chevy Camaro to the 2016 Ford GT that won its class at Le Mans (above), you can get your fix of classic race cars with this exhibit.
- Movies, interactive displays and, thankfully, racing simulators will all be part of the Driven to Win exhibit.
- The is the latest in the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation’s exploration of what makes American auto racing special and different, and it’s sponsored by General Motors.
Racers, there’s no need to start your engines.
A new permanent exhibit called Driven to Win will bring a century’s worth of American racing vehicles to the Henry Ford museum complex in Dearborn, Michigan, this summer. But they won’t be speeding around the track. Instead, visitors will try to satisfy their need for speed using screens and sound to supplement an up-close look at the static vehicles on display.
1965 Lotus-Ford | The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford says there will be a number of experience zones that offer up different facets of what it’s like to be on the track. A 15-minute virtual ride called In the Driver’s Seat is the most realistic (and, we assume, the most fun) thanks to six connected, full-motion racing simulators that will let you drive the “world’s fastest cars” on the “most challenging tracks on the planet.” Details on which cars and which tracks were not provided, but there will be a five-minute qualifying session followed by “genuine wheel-to-wheel competition.”
For a less white-knuckle experience, a 4D movie called Fueled by Passionbrings viewers trackside and into the vehicles in five different forms of racing. The Winner’s Circle is a place to celebrate some of people and vehicles involved in American auto racing’s biggest moments. Motorsports Performance Training allows visitors to learn what it takes to prep for a race, and, finally, the Sports Car Race Shop is where some of the engineering behind winning race cars will be explained.
Driven to Win, previously announced as Racing in America, is sponsored by General Motors, but cars from its rivals will be presented as well. The Henry Ford highlighted these vehicles from the upcoming 24,000-square-foot exhibit:
Goldenrod Land Speed Record car. | The Henry Ford
- The 1906 Locomobile Old 16, the first American car to win a major international road race in the United States.
- The 1965 Lotus-Ford (pictured above) that was the first rear-engine car to win the Indianapolis 500.
- The 1965 Goldenrod (above), which held a land speed record of 409.277 mph for wheel-driven cars until 1991.
- The 1967 Ford Mark IV, which earned an all-American victory at Le Mans with Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt at the wheel.
- The 1988 Chevrolet-powered Penske PC-17, driven by Rick Mears for the third of his four Indy 500 wins.
- A 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, a track-ready performance car used in engineering tests at Germany’s celebrated Nürburgring racing circuit.
Moore/Unser Pikes Peak Hill Climb race car. | The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford has its own idea about what specifically defines American racing. In 2011, the museum’s curators issued an article on this subject in which they decided that American auto racing has four distinct characteristics: a love of pure speed (instead of the strategy behind turns and overtaking), a desire to see the entire track at once (ovals and drag strips), a preference for short races (with some outliers, like the Indianapolis 500), and insularity, both from racers from outside the U.S. as well as between different racing styles.
Driven to Win opens in June 2020 inside the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan.
Sebastian Blanco for Car and Driver