The Chevrolet C8 Corvette hit the ground running with the performance aftermarket hot on its heels. And while the new mid-engine platform already offered stellar performance on and off the track, most performance enthusiasts wanted to see what it could do with a host of new high-performance parts. The problem is, no one has cracked the code on the encrypted ECU, which has caused a roadblock for the power-hungry. Some owners have sold their cars out of frustration since tuning on the C8 is out of the question for now. Others are going all in and removing the factory electronics for an ECU that’s more power-friendly. However, there is another option out there that has proven effective for added power on the C8.
Nathan Cicio, Owner of Cicio Performance, has always had a love for cars. He recalls going to car shows as a kid with his father and has been fascinated with them ever since. Cicio worked on a few restoration projects in his teenage years and assembled a few turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Now he’s in the business of going fast, and his company builds everything from Porsches, Lamborghinis, GT-Rs, and Corvettes. So when the new C8 hit the market, Cicio knew that he wanted one and had no plans on keeping it stock. He said, “I wanted a less expensive car than my Porsche to modify and make more power, and a big V8 engine and massive turbos are awesome!”
In April of 2020, Cicio’s Corvette finally showed up at Tasca Chevrolet. As Cicio prepped the new car for some modifications, there was just one glaring problem. The ECU in the Corvette had yet to be hacked and still hasn’t. However, there is a workaround that involves adding an additional ECU, in this case, a MoTeC, to piggyback on the factory computer for added fueling for more power. While this is not a new concept for some performance enthusiasts, it has proven to be somewhat finicky in the past. However, armed with new technology, this process is a viable option for the power-hungry that feel the need for speed.
Cicio and his crew’s first order of business was to develop a turbo system for the C8. The team went to work with the help of Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) to create the Cicio Performance turbo kit. Twin Xona Rotor 67mm turbos were used in conjunction with a set of TIAL blowoff valves and wastegates. Since Cicio couldn’t run massive amounts of boost with the piggyback combination, the wastegates were set with 12-pound springs, which would prove to be just the right amount for the stock LT2.
The factory LT2 intake manifold was removed and replaced with an ETS intake, adding eight additional 1,700cc injectors to the top side of the engine. The MoTec ECU, tuned by Taylor Leier of Cico Performance, controls the secondary units while the factory ECU handles the direct injection. Other additions include a fuel cell in the “frunk” for additional fueling with E85, Aeromotive regulators, and an ETS air-to-water intercooler.
The C8 uses 2.75-inch hot and cold side piping and an ETS downpipe. The only other modifications to this surprisingly stock-ish C8 drivetrain are the addition of a Dodson Motorsports clutch set and The Driveshaft Shop Pro axles. This combination on just 12-lbs of boost is good for 900 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. Speaking of wheels, Cicio opted for a set of BC Forged EF182 wheels with 19x9s on the front and massive 20×11.5s on the rears. Toyo R888Rs tires are called on to get the power to the ground and around the corners with 265/35/19s fronts and 315/30/20s rears.
You might think that adding a turbo system and an additional ECU for fueling would have its drawbacks, but that’s not the case here. Even with twice the horsepower of a stock C8 Cicio said, ” The C8 drives like an OEM but with double the power and for the money, it’s faster than cars that cost at least double the price.” He even drove the C8 from Georgia to Texas a few months ago for TX2K, and the car didn’t miss a beat.
At a 1/2-mile event in Kansas, Cicio managed to trap 167 mph while putting multiple car lengths on a Lamborghini Huracan Performante. Unfortunately, Cicio hasn’t had the chance to make any passes on the 1/4-mile since the turbo installation, but hopefully, he will soon.