The aftermarket may have a tough go with the mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette.
The mid-engine sports car has a "unique encrypted ECU system," according to a Tuesday report from Muscle Cars & Trucks. Per the report, any changes in the pursuit of more horsepower to the ECU will be a difficult task, if not impossible.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette (C8) spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
It's worth noting the 2020 Corvette will likely be one of the many new cars from General Motors to use the automaker's new electrical architecture, which has been floated as one of many reasons why the car was subject to delays. The "digital architecture" not only boosts output for future in-car technologies but also puts a major focus on cybersecurity. The latter is reportedly one of the major roadblocks to ECU tuning.
In the event re-programming fails, the mid-engine Corvette will enter a "recovery mode." Like a rolling computer, the car will need to be rebooted. Those who don't have the resources to restore the car's ECU will be left with a "bricked" sports car, sources said.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette
ECU tuning is often an essential means of squeezing more power from a car. It can be as simple as unlocking more power from the parts that are already there or retuning to match new parts, including new or larger turbochargers or superchargers. Yet, where there's a will, there's a way. That way may involve a few bricked mid-engine Corvettes along the way. The Corvette has always been a prized car for aftermarket companies to tinker with. This time, they may not be able to crack into the ECU and if they can they will have to be careful not to brick the C8.
The 2020 Corvette will—finally—debut on July 18 in California. The common thought has been that the car will come with an upgraded version of the Corvette's current pushrod 6.2-liter V-8 making about 500 horsepower. However, the Muscle Cars & Trucks story expects the engine at launch to be a dual-overhead cam V-8 called LT-2. It was previously speculated that a DOHC V-8 with a flat-plane crank would come later and make about 600 hp. Rumors also suggest a twin-turbocharged V-8 and even a hybrid powertrain are on the table. The latter could sport all-wheel drive with its electrified running gear.