The aftermarket has been burning the midnight oil, continually pushing the boundaries of the mid-engine Corvette. Horsepower numbers have shot into the stratosphere while 1/4-mile times have decimated the stopwatch.
One player who has consistently kept its C8 in the lead on both fronts is FuelTech. Their red C8 has held so many records over the past year it serves as a well-decorated veteran of the mid-engine Corvette battle that has been raging over the internet.
The FuelTech C8 is now officially the first of the generation to burn down the quarter-mile in the 8-second time zone. FuelTech’s founder and CEO, Anderson Dick piloted the car to a blazing 8.973 at 160.9 mph. For those “pics or it didn’t happen” folks, FuelTech has one better. They were sure to shoot some video both in-car and trackside.
The feat was a long-time coming, with various stepping stones along the way. FuelTech’s previous attempts netted them a 9.01-second run at 153 mph. This was right after they wheeled the FuelTech dyno to 1,350 horsepower with said C8 Corvette.
While the Corvette’s LT2 engine was re-engineered to handle the additional power thanks to those two Garrett G35-900 turbochargers, other various components of the drivetrain have been updated to carry the additional load. Forged Diamond pistons keep the compression top-side under boost while the Boostline connecting rods make sure the torque makes its way to the crank without fail.
The one main factor which has brought everyone to a level playing field is the complexity of the factory engine’s power control module (PCM) which controls various aspects of the vehicle, along with the air, fuel, and spark timing of the engine. FuelTech has successfully used its FT600 engine management system in conjunction with the factory PCM to allow re-curving the spark tables and allowing for more fuel when under boost.
The factory PCM runs most of the vehicle systems and Anderson and his crew developed a work-around to avoid the factory-programmed torque management. A second FuelTech ECU was also installed for drivetrain management. This allows for the vehicle to be used in dedicated drag strip or road course applications.
One of the issues many C8 greatness hopefuls have found is with the limitations of the factory clutches. A set of Dodson Clutches now resides between the FuelTech C8’s LT2 engine and the transmission. Anderson explains there’s more to making an 8-second pass than simply swapping clutch plates. Another necessary piece of the puzzle is being able to adjust the clutch pressure, allowing the transmission to make use of all the power.
There is also a larger rear tire, upsized from the previous 325/35-18-inch drag radials to a 305/45-18-inch Mickey Thompson ET Street R drag radial on those WELD Laguna wheels. The taller tire now allows for a longer first gear according to Anderson, although you’ll note in the video, “longer” is a relative term. If you’ve only got just over eight seconds to get from one end of the quarter-mile to the other, you don’t want to stay in first gear any longer than you have to!
With the additional controls available through the FuelTech FT600 installations, there are also numerous other data-logging capabilities at FuelTech’s fingertips. The primary FT600 logs data from the factory sensors, as well as various backpressure sensors for the EFI system and the turbos. There are also turbo speed sensors and exhaust gas temperature sensors in each exhaust to monitor temps leaving the engine. Here is another video posted by FuelTech which includes several views of this record-setting pass.
Treading into new territory not only requires careful handling and thoughtful control to optimize each of the engine’s systems but also the ability to quantify changes and the ability to watch out for potentially damaging situations before they occur. That said, we’re now asking ourselves, how much more can be had from this relatively new mid-engine platform? We’re sure the folks at FuelTech are asking the same question. With their drive and determination so far, we’d bet it isn’t long before the world has an opportunity to find out!