In an exciting development for automotive enthusiasts and C8 Corvette owners alike, Late Model Engines (LME) has unveiled its latest creation – a formidable 390 cubic-inch LT2 engine designed to take the C8’s performance to new heights. With a focus on power and precision, this custom-built engine promises to be a game-changer for the Corvette’s mid-engine platform.
The latest developments in C8 tuning capabilities from HP Tuners have LME and many others excited about the possibilities now available to Corvette C8 owners. It only made sense for the team at LME to showcase its expertise and build something fitting the LME name. Following its proven recipe for making four-digit horsepower, and doing so reliably, LME incorporated high-quality components from companies that it commonly uses in many of its other engine builds.
To start, the factory LT2 block is filled with a Compstar eight center-counterweighted stroker crankshaft from Callies that undergoes LME’s blueprinting process and is secured in place with ARP main studs and Clevite H Series bearings. Next, a set of custom LME-spec Diamond 2K HP pistons are attached to Callies Compstar Xtreme H-Beam connecting rods and placed in the cylinders where they are attached to the crankshaft with ARP Ultra bolts and Clevite H Series rod bearings. CID cylinder heads that are specced by LME are then bolted on to complete the long-block package. This formidable ensemble ensures that this LT2 engine can deliver both raw power and reliable performance.
The heart of this beastly engine is its aftermarket camshaft featuring 220 degrees of duration at .050 inches of lift to harness the full potential of this twin-turbo application. Notably, because this engine is built with forced induction in mind, the LT2’s variable valve timing (VVT) has been eliminated, utilizing a cam lockout to prevent cam timing adjustments while the engine is running. Furthermore, LME eliminated the Active Fuel Management (AFM) solenoids and replaced the Displacement On Demand (DOD) lifters with traditional LS7-style lifters. This not only simplifies dyno testing but also enhances the engine’s overall reliability.
The development of this unique LT2 engine required meticulous engineering to optimize its capabilities. LME made crucial modifications to the oiling circuit, including alterations to the block’s valley area to allow for proper crankcase ventilation through the valve cover. According to Bryan Neelen, owner of LME, the way the crankcase breaths on the LT2 is a bit different than the LT1/LT4 or even the LS. Although he didn’t share specifics on how LME overcame this obstacle, he ensures their specialized solution allows the crankcase to breathe efficiently, a critical factor for an engine like this that will live at four-digit horsepower levels.
While this engine utilizes the traditional LT1/LT4 intake manifold and valve covers for dyno purposes, it will ultimately be equipped with C8-specific components, including an intake manifold tailored for the C8 Corvette and LT2-specific valve covers designed to make the engine installation into the C8 easier. This combination resulted in a jaw-dropping 618 horsepower at 7100 RPM, making it a naturally aspirated powerhouse. However, once twin turbos are added to the mix the horsepower output will likely double.
As the automotive world continues to evolve, LME is committed to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the C8 Corvette platform. With the launch of this 390 cubic-inch LT2 engine, enthusiasts can expect even more exciting combinations and innovations to come. LME is poised to lead the way in unlocking the full potential of the C8 and LT2 engine, promising bigger and better things for this iconic sports car. For more information about this engine and other LME products, visit their website and stay tuned for future developments.