Hennessey, which claims it can tune the Porsche Taycan electric vehicle, says that it will offer a C8 Corvette with up to 1,200 horsepower.
And the internet went: “Ooh! Ahh!” before scrolling to the next meme.
This is marketing in 2019. Other companies like Tesla have embraced this far-reaching hype game with unstable, unfinished foundations to their claims, and it’s going to lead to nowhere good.
If you read our manifesto, you know that we exist to be something beyond low-rent clickbait and malnourishing word salad. We’re not here to tell you that a crossover might get a third vent in the second row, or fart out three hundred words about different colored brake calipers. As automotive media Jedi Knights, we have the skills to build you a better story.
So here it is: the Hennessey Corvette C8 is Texas snake oil. We’re not going to bother to write about what sort of rundown of specs it might have, or what sort of kit it will feature to produce its claimed 1,200 horsepower. Never mind that upcoming versions from the factory will likely produce somewhere around that figure, with full validation and a better warranty. See: E-Ray, Z06, ZR1 and Zora.
Never mind that for now. If you have followed us from the get-go, you know that we have said this again and again, the C8 Corvette will be next to impossible to crack without the help of General Motors itself. And they don’t have to play along if they don’t want to.
ECU hacking has so far been the only way to get around GM’s fortified defenses, with HP Tuners and other companies providing solutions for the aftermarket to get around this electronic barrier. They have so far gotten through GM’s Global A electronics architecture, which has coding that dates back to the 1990’s.
The upcoming Global B electronics architecture is a completely different monster.
While we have yet to make sense of the computer science behind Global B, it’s understood that the architecture is five times more powerful than Global A, can process 4.5 terabytes of data per hour, will allow for OTA updates, and can handle the many systems needed to keep autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles operational. Because of its capabilities, cybersecurity was priority number one. General Motors contracted hackers, defense companies, aerospace manufacturers, researchers, and even held a “bug bounty” program to uncover any possible flaws.
Hennessey Performance will have to overcome this if it plans on offering a C8 Corvette with anything more than an approved exhaust kit, as will the rest of the tuning industry. Anybody claiming they can do otherwise at this point is carrying reckless hope at best, and outright lying at worst.