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Hennessey Venom GT hits 270.49 mph, busts Bugatti Veyron's speed record

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February 24, 2014

The Hennessey Venom GT hit 270.49 mph on February 14, 2014

The Hennessey Venom GT hit 270.49 mph on February 14, 2014

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The Bugatti Veyron SuperSport caught the world’s attention in 2010 when it set the record for the world's fastest production car, but that crown may now have to be passed on. Hennessey Performance announced on Monday that its Venom GT hit 270.49 mph (435.31 km/h) at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, settting a new world speed record for a 2-seat sports car. Driven by former Michelin tire test engineer, race driver, and Director of Miller Motorsport Brian Smith, the time for the Venom GT was independently verified, but has yet to be officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The blistering run took place on February 14 at the 3.2-mile Space Shuttle landing runway at the Kennedy Space Center with special permission from NASA. Taking place on a straight run rather than on an oval or a varied test track like the Nurburgring, this was a demonstration of flat-out acceleration from a dead launch, while still leaving enough braking space at the end of the run to keep it from ending in a very expensive crash.

“It was still pulling,” says Smith. “If we could run on an 8-mile oval we could go faster than that. On the very top end there was a little wandering but, hey, we’re going 270 mph! The Venom GT didn't require any big corrections, and the Michelins held traction really well.”

The Hennessey Venom GT is powered by a 7 liter V8 engine

Verification of the Venom GT’s speed was by GPS data-acquisition systems manufacturer Racelogic. “The Venom GT attained a maximum speed of 270.49 mph as measured by our VBOX 3i GPS system,” said Racelogic engineer Joe Lachovsky.

The speed record is already steeped in controversy after challenges to the Veyron’s 2013 claim surrounding adjustments to the hypercar’s limiter. But after review Guinness allowed the record to stand.

The previous record of 267.8 mph (431.072 km/h) was set by Pierre Henri Raphanel in the 1,183-hp (870-kW) Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport in July 2010.

However, despite this month’s result, Hennessy cannot officially claim the fastest production car record because that requires making two runs in opposite directions on the same day. John Hennessey explained in an interview with Top Gear that this wasn't possible because NASA wouldn't allow it.

Based on the Lotus Elise/Exige, with which it shares a number of components, the 2,743 lb (1,244 kg), mid-engine, rear-wheel drive Venom GT is not what most people would call elegant, with its carbon fiber and composite/aluminum hybrid monocoque-space frame, massive brake-cooling vents, oversized, yet cramped two-seater cab followed by a rear that looks like someone gave it a swift kick in the pants. That being said, the Venom GT is built for the track, not garden parties, and all the flaring wings and road-gobbling grilles come together in a frighteningly attractive Koenigsegg sort of way.

Hennessey Venom GT driver Brian Smith

Inside the Venom GT is a 90-degree, seven-liter V8 engine with twin precision ball bearing turbochargers, an iron block with aluminum heads, electronic sequential multi-port fuel injection pumping a terrifying 1,244 bhp (914 kW) and 1155 lb-ft (1565 Nm) of torque feeding into a Ricardo six-speed manual gearbox.

On the track, this translates into 0 to 60 in 2.7 seconds, so you'd know what it feels like to leave your eyeballs behind. The Venom GT already holds the Guinness World Record of 0 to 300 km/h in 13.63 seconds and the Hypercar World Record for 0 to 200 mph in 14.51 seconds. Beyond its verified speed of 270.49 mph, Hennessy claims that the Venom GT can do 278 mph (447 km/h) flat out.

The Hennessey Venom GT's record speed readout

"“I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid," says company founder and president John Hennessey. "Neil Armstrong was my childhood hero. Even though the astronaut thing didn't work out for me, I am humbled to have had the opportunity to set our speed record on the hallowed grounds of the American space program. Building and validating our Venom GT as the world’s fastest has been a long journey and a lot of hard work. But as President Kennedy once so eloquently said, ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’ As a result we have built a better car and a better team at Hennessey Performance (HPE)."

If you’re interested in buying a Venom GT, be prepared for a little cry because the record-breaking version sells for US$1 million.

So how fast is 270.49 mph? Check it out in the video below.

Source: Hennessey Performance

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
21 Comments

Why, I wonder, do such things as this remind me of 'fiddling while Rome burns'? Perhaps it is the droughts, the floods, the massive hurricanes and such like that serve to remind us of the growing dangers posed by a changing climate. Was the driver's middle name Nero? If might just as well have been.

Mel Tisdale
25th February, 2014 @ 04:20 am PST

Fantastic car.

I'd like to mention the UK's contribution on this car, including the chassis (Lotus), body (Delta), brake discs (Surface Transforms), gearbox (Ricardo) and final assembly (Delta, again).

Steve Jones
25th February, 2014 @ 04:57 am PST

There is still some controversy as to whether or not man much (if any at all) influence on global warming. IMO, it does not have much influence on it and it is just part of a 'global warming, global cooling' cycle.

Personally I prefer a more affordable slower vehicle. I think fuel cell vehicles are cool with a side affect of being good for the planet.

I think this car is really cool. It has a nice design. It would be great to see it driven really fast by Top Gear on the track they drove the Veyron.

BigGoofyGuy
25th February, 2014 @ 05:32 am PST

@ BigWarpGuy

"There is still some controversy as to whether or not man much (if any at all) influence on global warming."

True, there is still some controversy. 97% to the world's leading climate scientists believe we do (re. Cook et al) and 3%, many of whom rely on the fossil fuel industry funding, don't. That really is one heck of a controversy.

Mel Tisdale
25th February, 2014 @ 07:33 am PST

Fast for sure but I'd much prefer the Veyron. For starters the Veyron can be used out in the real world where I doubt the Venom is really suited for public roads or anything close to everyday use.

It's not the Venom isn't cool, but it seems much more like a prototype race car and that is just so much easier to make than what Bugatti did. I'm sure if Bugatti wanted just speed they could do it as it is much easier than speed, luxury and easy-to-use.

BZD
25th February, 2014 @ 09:49 am PST

@ Mel Tisdale

When you consider how few of these vehicles exist, and how many fewer will actually be driven, the impact on the environment is negligible at best. People need to be focused on the masses of SUVs clogging our roads, needlessly wasting fuel. The one or two record breaking automobiles built, testing the limits of speed, power and efficiency should be celebrated. I doubt the 4 or 5 of these that are built will have much of an impact.

Michael Wilson
25th February, 2014 @ 11:00 am PST

This claim by Hennesy is proof that many records are useless beyond providing bragging rights. By comparison with the Venom the Veyron has a relatively comfortable passenger compartment/ which would make the car wider thereby adding drag.

Furthermore the Veyron has air brakes which alone provides 0.68g of deceleration. Bugatti claims the Veyron will brake from 400 km/h (250 mph) to a standstill in less than 10 seconds, How does the Venom compare I wonder.

You can't blame Hennessy for trying to get publicity as it stimulates sales. If we need to have records though why not incorporate other essential features such as the time taken for the dash to 250 mph and back to 0. That statistic used by reputable motoring publications is much more revealing (and useful to the multitude of buyers of these cars) than simply recording top speeds. All round performance is much more significant. I wonder how other super cars such as the SSC Ultimate Aero compare with the all round ability of the Veyron. I need to know before I buy one

Trebor
25th February, 2014 @ 01:36 pm PST

I agree that a handful of these expensive toys won't contribute much to the global warming. But speed programmes like this one, and Bugatti's, and VAG's, and all the others, including Lotus, of course do tend to confuse. These folks are throwing a huge blanket of smoke & oil over the very real problems of fossil fuel waste and pollution.

Is this a "race"? If so, where is the finish line? And what's that big flag all about? Not only does it look a lot like those propaganda shots of Lance Armstrong's "victories", as Mr. Jones pointed out, this was an international effort, not a national(ist) triumph.

Watching this meaningless pursuit of needless speed reminds me of reading about the early years of jet aircraft, when a fighter pilot somewhere over the Pacific Ocean radioed in the message, "Lost. But making record time."

duh3000
25th February, 2014 @ 01:39 pm PST

My Prius is not quite that fast,,, I liked the music though,,,, it sounds to me that some of these commenters are a little jealous,,, Jeez,,, lighten up...

uncledave
25th February, 2014 @ 02:39 pm PST

@ duh3000, trebor

In one sentence I read about moveable airfoils and how it can slow a car down from tremendous speeds, yet in another I read about how the pursuit of speed is meaningless.

This is exactly *why* we need to continue forward pushing the envelope. When a car is built to go very fast, its other systems have to be upgraded as a result. Aerodynamics have to be upgraded to handle the velocities, as air resistance cubes above 200mph. Ever more powerful engines are still efficient, as they have to be built to exacting tolerances, yet still be light weight and powerful in order to not weigh the car down for it to be driveable. Christian Von Koenigsegg, maker of the Koenigsegg vehicles was quoted as saying, the technology used in their car (a previous record holder itself) could be scaled down to a 1.0 liter engine making 225bhp, yet still making less pollution than an engine double its size.

Exotic materials that are both lighter and more efficient have to be used to slow the car down. What this translates to is a trickle down effect, not like the supposed effect we see in economics. Technology actually *does* trickle down. The turbocharger, anti-lock brakes, and kers technology were all used in racing and high ends cars like this, yet we see them used in daily cars that make them more fuel efficient.

So we need to continue our pursuit of speed. Continue trying to break the records. The minute technology stagnates is when we are all doomed. I rather like seeing these record breakers make the news, as it means they're using the rich people's money to R&D new concepts that would be too expensive to try in large production run.

There are going to be some nice engine swaps in another 10 years.

Michael Wilson
25th February, 2014 @ 02:47 pm PST

geez, the hippy's are out in force today...

As for thew car, Impressive. It looks great and hauls ass...what's not to love?

@BZD - It IS suited for public roads...that's the whole point of it, It's the worlds fastest production car that is legal to drive on public roads, other wise they would of put bigger tires on it & a bigger engine in it, and ditched the mirrors, and well...then you basically have a drag racer.

@duh3000 - You obviously have something against patriotism & pushing the limits.

Derek Howe
25th February, 2014 @ 03:45 pm PST

Almost impossible to find somewhere, anywhere, to let a car like this 'kick up its heels', but I applaud their efforts - AND - it is (until the killjoys try to ban it) street legal as well!

The Skud
25th February, 2014 @ 08:40 pm PST

@ Mel Tisdale

Actually, 97% of climate scientists don't agree that man made climate change is real. Do some research with sources that don't have an agenda. You may be surprised at your findings.

Even if it were real, this car would have zero effect on the climate. Let the people enjoy their triumph without having to throw the environmental BS at every opportunity.

Vanson
26th February, 2014 @ 11:20 am PST

@Derek

This vehicle is the result of international cooperation. Consequently, I don't see any "patriotic" element in its production. Hanging a single country's flag out of the window is misguided and misinforms.

Btw, the plural of "hippy" is hippies although I don't exactly know what that 20th century social experiment has to do with this 21st-century engineering experiment. Perhaps this is just your catch phrase for anyone who expresses disinterest in overpowered cars?

duh3000
26th February, 2014 @ 02:14 pm PST

@duh3000

If you have such a disinterest in powerful vehicles, why even post? This is a site praising technologies and talking about the latest advancements in areas of science. Last I checked, speed records and racing in general were fertile grounds for some of the fastest technological developments, outside of war. However, with an advancement like this, there are no lives lost, and the tech that made this car possible, through international cooperation, as you put it, will eventually be divied out amongst its partners and may find its way into future vehicles. Lighter, more fuel efficient cars through carbon fiber. Smaller, yet more powerful engines due to more efficient turbos. Better telemetry systems leading to better road design, or safer vehicles to save lives.

Michael Wilson
26th February, 2014 @ 05:57 pm PST

@ Michael Wilson

I post because I have an interest in vehicles, advancement and technology, just not "power" (as in never enough).

I am interested in all the things you, and some others, mention : fuel efficiency, safer designs, etc. I disagree that these goals should be ''secondary'' or ''trickle down'' by-products.

Furthermore, I'm unconvinced that articles touting speed and power are really about safety or fuel efficiency. I think, rather, that these articles are promoting something else: power for power's sake, which I find counter-productive to reaching the goals of safer, more fuel efficient vehicles.

This is my opinion and this is why I post. To express another point of view.

duh3000
27th February, 2014 @ 01:11 am PST

@duh3000

As someone who builds hi-po cars as a hobby, races auto cross and participates in a bit of drag racing, you grow an appreciation for all the other parts that must be upgraded in a vehicle in order to safely drive at speed. Brakes, aerodynamics, safety restraints, suspension etc all must be upgraded to handle the power and keep the driver alive. Things like variable valve timing, variable vane turbos, carbon fiber body panels and other bits all get tried in the laboratory of racing where power usually matters most, but will eventually funnel down to the rest of us. Anyway, I respect other viewpoints, but you are not providing much of one. Other viewpoints would be more suggestions and not merely someone detracting from the conversation. I'm a huge motorsport fan with 3 turbocars with 3 different configurations setup for different types of racing...(one with twins, and two single setups), and yet I find regular "ball" sports an utter waste of time and resources, but I do not go into the sports forums and kick sand on those peoples parade.

Michael Wilson
27th February, 2014 @ 05:49 pm PST

Hello Michael

You are a big motor sport fan. You like fast cars, building them and driving them. I get it. And you don't like someone criticising your favorite pastime. I get that too. Who does?

From this difference of perspective, it does not follow, however, that one person should practice self-censorship. This is a forum for opinions and ideas. An open forum, where diversity is welcomed and encouraged. I'm sure there are pro-racing only sites for anyone who only wants to read agreement, but Gizmag isn't one of them.

I disagree with you that discussing the environmental aspects of motor sports is "merely detracting from the converstion". In my opinion, this is a central element to any conversation concerning motor sports and/or engine/automobile/vehicle innovation. I would point out that I am not alone in this belief as you can see from reading the other comments: I am neither the first nor the only person to voice the concern. I'd also argue that in terms of innovation "one more horsepower" or "one more mile per hour" is not innovation; it's just more of the same. I read innovation in how this is achieved, not in the simple achievement.

Interesting to me is that you seem to be very knowledgeable about the innovative aspects of going fast. You also seem to be concerned about safety and fuel efficiency. The irony, perhaps, is that while you may think I'm adding nothing to the conversation, I think I'd quite enjoy reading an article you've written about how these features are becoming part of the daily driver automobile. The article in question here does none of this; here is a straight "Foreman vs. Ali" punchout. There is no attempt whatsoever to pretend that this fight is going to lead to greater health benefits for the fans.

Just so we're clear, I am not a racer nor interested in power. But I am a third-generation professional automobile mechanic. My grandfather was a Willys Jeep-Kaiser-Frazer dealer. I like cars. When younger I enjoyed driving my 1951 Kaiser Manhattan 2-door with its supercharged in-line 6 and overdrive. Lovely machine. When I moved to Europe I sold it to a Kaiser collector (one of the 2 on the planet perhaps :). That vehice is totally inappropriate to living in a country where petrol costs are so high and parking spaces so small !

My interest todayis on the other end of the power spectrum: small engines for daily commuters who are looking to get from A to B on a tight budget. These people see their cars as tools, not toys. Many, though far from all, are concerned by the environmental impact of their driving. Most of all, they are just trying to get to work. Any innovation that makes the lives and driving of this group better, safer, cheaper interests me. For a single example I'd cite the Fiat Twin Air as innovation of interest (to me obviously). So, for me, this is a voice that has its place in any discussion of automobile innovation.

Suggestions?

I'd suggest that articles which are meant to deal with innovation address the global concerns and discuss the innovation (not just the speed) with a more deliberate focus on how the new technology is helping people today or eventually tomorrow (trickling down as you say). I'd suggest that articles explain how carbon fibre is going to be used in daily drivers. How are the manufacturers going to reduce the costs of purchase and repairs? I don't see it. What I see is the increased use of plastic panals, not carbon. And what about recycling these products? Looking at the cycling industry we see that carbon is now used for only the top, exclusive racing machines. Everyday commuter bikes are going back to steel. How will cars deviate from this trend? Or will they? How important are aerodynamics to the urban commuter averaging 25 mph? Or is there another/better way to reduce fuel costs for these vehicles? You see, there is a lot to discuss beyond the Jeremy Clarkson caricature of "more power !".

Finally, sorry about the sand. Enjoy your hobby. Life is so short.

duh3000
3rd March, 2014 @ 01:54 am PST

Well said duh3000.

Rt1583
3rd March, 2014 @ 06:11 pm PST

I completely understand what you mean, but when I see the comments bemoaning, what to me is a great technological achievement, I just see the same naysayers who bemoan space program or scientific research, ignorant of the fact the dollars poured into said research benefits them every single day now and in

As for my "toys", I too have a daily driven car that is cheap, efficient and old. A non-turbo, bone stock 1992 volvo estate. Its duties include shuttling me to and from work, hauling servers (I am a network engineer by trade). The aforementioned 3 turbo cars exist for weekend fun, and the occasional drive to work when I get sick and tired of the boring daily driver. (2001 V70R with boltons, close to stock, 2003 Audi A6 2.7 Twin turbo with more boltons, 1995 Volvo 940 with 2jz swap)

Myself and my fellow car enthusiasts over the past 10 years began to grow a little disenchanted with the car industry, as it seems that the "soul" of cars was beginning to die off. Until very recently, automakers at least in the US were content to stamp off row after row, year after year of boring, dull inefficient, unsafe SUVs, and horrible fwd bean shaped sedans. Then came the hybrids. I respect the Prius, for its technological innovations, but its shape is a bit feminine and performance is boring. It looks terrible and drives even worse. The nissan Leaf is not much better, but at least Chevy makes a decent electric car in the Spark and Volt. I love the original insight because one could tell even though it was not a performance machine, it still had "soul", and you could actually enjoy driving it. Also, it was not too difficult to look at. Much like the Tesla S, which I would sell a kidney to have.

Anyway, I round all this off we (the automotive community) like seeing these headlines because it offers a glimmer of hope. It means that somewhere out there, people are designing cars as more than just tools; more than just a conveyance to get them from A to B. It means that auto enthusiasts still work in the auto industry, pouring their heart and soul into designing a vehicle that will not only get you from point A to B, but also entertain you on the way there, in addition to being safe, reliable and economical. Those are the "good cars" the cars you tend to remember, the cars that are coveted long after their production ends and tend to just generally last longer and be better built.

For the vehicles that have performance in the stratosphere, you forget that many of these companies (with the exception of lamborghini) have roots in auto racing, which is very expensive: ie they have to finance all these advances somehow. If you follow 24 hrs at Le Mans, you would know that the past 3 victors have all used diesel or hybrid power trains. They've won with...you've guessed it, superior efficiency and fuel economy. That same efficiency will eventually find its way into cars, the same way the dual clutch, PDK gearbox was tested in the 80s and now finds its way into cars which lowers friction and power loss to the wheels, giving better gas mileage and a more entertaining drive.

However, its also very, very expensive and you simply won't find a company willing to gamble millions of dollars to mass manufacture untested technology, and place it in the hands of fickle consumers where it may give them a black eye in sales, or worse, result in a lawsuit.

But I get it. you're frustrated with the articles, and I will also admit that the writing is more suited for a site like jalopnik or bangshift. I still see this as no reason to detract from the technology or achievement. It just makes you sound like those same people who yap online about how the space program wastes millions of dollars not realizing that bed they sleep on, the computer they're ranting with and the cell phone they're checking replies to their rant on all would not be possible, in their current forms without said space program.

Much like your boring, efficient tools of daily drivers would not be possible without the tech first being tried on the race track, or financed by the 1% buying these grossly expensive cars. Just remember...ABS, Airbags, head restraints, high pressure diesel, variable vane turbos, and hybrid assist (read: kers) all came from the race track

Thank you! and please. no more sand.

Michael Wilson
5th March, 2014 @ 03:51 pm PST

Hi Michael

I knew I'd enjoy your writing. Thanks.

I agree that cars... well, bikes and motorbikes and probably horses for that matter... can always use some soul. It's a shame that this seems to be something you have to give up with the (too) ordinary daily driver vehicles. Most are grotesquely boring. Ligier, for those who might like the "sans permis" genre, do try to give their plastic bodies some style but even I can't get excited by a 49cc diesel-powered shopping buggy. If these "super car" articles are too much, Ligier is too little.

I'm hoping that the auto industry will be able to succeed in ways such as low wattage LED light bulbs and other devices which are becoming even more environmentally respectful while shedding the "compromise" element that characterised their earliest efforts (remember those bulbs that used less electricity but didn't put out any light either!). Your voice reassures me that there are others -- passionate others -- who continue to work towards bringing both style and sense to the market.

Thanks for the reminder of the Le Mans victories. Audi wasn't it? Yes, I agree. They are doing some extremely interesting out of the box engineering. A friend drives one of their 10-cylinder aluminum bodied production cars. He loves it and I can understand why -- soul to spare, I suppose -- even if I find it overpowered and overpriced. Again, it's worlds away from me, but I realise I'm not the reference point for anybody else's driving. I think he's more like you. He needs to drive something that gives him pleasure, not just A to B service. And he can afford it. He tells me the mileage is quite reasonable as well. So there's an on-the-road example of trickle down.

Admission: I plead guilty to criticising that carnavalesque Pagani peplum supercar. It wasn't an "eco diatribe" though (no sand). Just some huge fun and laughs. Take a look. I don't think it's "soul" they're selling. :)

Final happy note : the Ferrari California T looks superbe (to my eye)! Not a daily driver, but beautiful. It's rare to see a fold-down hard top that doesn't spoil the lines.

duh3000
7th March, 2014 @ 02:51 am PST
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