Hennessey Venom GT broke the fastest car record at Kennedy Space Center. The record has long been held by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which set the bar at 269 miles per hour, but the Venom managed to edge it out by reaching a ridiculous 270 miles per hour. Even more ridiculous, the Venom set the record from a standing start and then stopped in just over 3 miles, and seemed to have pull to spare. According to driver Brian Smith, if they had had access to an 8 mile oval instead of a single straight stretch, the top speed could have been pushed even higher. Although he was happy with the 270 mile per hour clock, the Venom GT will sadly not be replacing the Bugatti Veyron in the record books due to a technicality. Although the Venom GT did indeed achieve a higher top speed than the Veryon Super Sport, because it was unable to make a second run back up the runway to check for possible advantages bestowed by gradients and winds, the Bugatti Veyron remains the fastest production car in the books. Whether this was an oversight or the Hennessey team was just out to push the Venom GT is unknown.
The Hennessey Venom GT is a stretched Lotus Exige chassis with a twin turbo, 427 cubic inch 90-degree V8 engine between the rear wheels. Although this engine is roughly half the size of the Bugatti Veryon’s W-16 monster, it puts out a maximum 1,244 bhp, 241 more horses than the top speed demon. In the interest of keeping the Venom at a respectable 2,741 pounds, the six-speed manual drive train puts all that power to the rear wheels, with the weight of the engine and transmission helping to aid traction and reduce wheel spin. Aluminium and carbon fiber are major components throughout the construction to maximize frame rigidity and allow the car to remain stable at the blistering speeds it is capable of. But even as the Hennessey Venom GT broke the fastest car record, don’t forget that it is a road car with all the comforts one would expect of a high-end hypercar, including air conditioning and MP3 compatibility.
Hennessey CEO Don Goldman said he knew the car had the ability to break the record, but was still pleased to have had the chance to validate it to the world. In the process of breaking the top speed record, the Venom GT also set a new record for the fastest climb to 300 kph (186 mph), reaching it in just 13.63 seconds. With the limits of automotive design and manufacture being pushed farther every day, it was of course only a matter of time before someone took the Veryon’s crown, and leave it to upstart Americans to start a new rivalry. Bugatti has not been resting on its laurels after all, releasing a long line of refined limited edition Veryons in the years since originally setting the speed record. After the Hennessey Venom GT breaks the fastest car record, will Bugatti be goaded into issuing a response to salvage their lost title?
By Daniel O’Brien