What has the body of a Lotus Exige, a 7.0-liter twin turbo V8, and a world speed record? The Hennessy Venom GT.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen; a small Texas tuning company has just beat out the Bugatti Veyron – and all of VW’s money – with a record-setting 270.49 mph.
This stunning achievement took place, appropriately enough, at the Kennedy Space Center on a runway that was built for the Space Shuttle to land on. But even the 3.3 miles of Shuttle landing strip wasn’t enough to get the most out of the Venom GT. Astonishingly, the Venom GT was still accelerating when test driver Brian Smith ran out of track.
Meanwhile, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport managed 269.86 mph on the much larger Ehra-Lessien test track. Ehra-Lessien is an oval that boasts a 5.5-mile straight that ends in a nice safe banked turn. This stands in stark contrast to the Kennedy Space Center’s runway, which is lined by water-filled ditchs … and possibly gators. Brian Smith told The Daily Mail that he thinks that the Venom GT could actually manage another 5 to 10mph with a longer track.
Amazingly, the outright speed might not actually be the most impressive thing about the Venom GT. Consider for a moment the acceleration. The entire run from 0 to 270 mph took less than a minute and 120 to 220 took less than ten seconds. That’s faster than plenty of production cars can make it to 60. Just watching the video makes your eyes bleed. Or maybe it’s my pinkeye … either way.
All of this insane speed is possible because of the Venom GT’s unique design. To build it, Hennessey’s team took a Lotus Exige and heavily modified the chassis. They then completely replaced the suspension and installed an engine more than three times the size of the standard one. The Venom GT’s 7.0-liter V8 began its life at GM, before being turned into a Frankenstienien monster. Thanks to twin turbos, and what I can only image is cheetah blood coolant, the engine puts down 1,244 fire-breathing horsepower. When you consider that the car weighs just 2,800 pounds those acceleration figures start making a bit more sense.
Still, all this wasn’t good enough for the folks at Guinness. To qualify for the gold standard of world records you need to do a run in both directions, which Hennessey wasn’t allowed to do by NASA. Then you need to produce more than thirty cars. Hennessey has only made 11, and is only planning to build another 18. Still, when the Veyron SS set its records, neither direction was as fast as the speed set by the Venom GT.
What’s next for the Venom GT? Well apparently not more top speed tests, as Hennessey says it wants to focus on track times. I have no doubt that it will be a monster on the track, both in terms of times and because it will be trying its hardest to kill you.