Hennessey Venom GT claims fastest production car run of 265.7 mph


April 3, 2013

Hennessey Venom GT broke Guinness World Record for a production car with a run of 265.7 mph (407 km/h)

Hennessey Venom GT broke Guinness World Record for a production car with a run of 265.7 mph (407 km/h)

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After the pomp and civility of the New York Auto Show, it’s nice for automotive manufacturers to take a break, get some air, visit the family, break 265 mph, hit the spa, etc. And so it would be that thousands of miles away on a bleak Californian airstrip, that some brave individual in a very much modified piece of machinery would hurtle himself down an airforce grade runway to a speed of 265.7 mph (426.7 km/h). This non-stock, please don’t-try-this-at-home event has now put the Hennessey Venom GT in the books as the fastest production car on the planet.

Even though there is some debate as to whether the Hennessey Venom GT is in fact a true production car, anything with wheels and a human onboard that exceeds 400 km/h gets our official nod of approval. Officially tagged as the “Venom GT” this car that you can buy is in essence a very much modified Lotus – like seriously, a lot modified. Yes that is in fact a Lotus chassis holding all the power; which begs the argument: “Is this then nothing more than a highly modified Lotus Exige stuffed full of big American V8 power and twin-turbochargers?”

According to Hennessey “The Venom GT is created from a base Lotus Elise /Exige, utilizing components including but not limited to the roof, doors, side glass, windscreen, dash, cockpit, floorpan, HVAC system, wiper and head lamps.” So there's no pretending by Hennessey that this is anything but a Lotus in highly modified form

Run out over a 2 mile (3.2 km) course at the United States Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore in Central California, the speed was validated by two VBOX 3i GPS tracking systems, and assured as true and honest by official VBOX personnel. According to John Hennessey, president and founder, “Even though a Bugatti Veyron has run 267.8 mph (430.9 km/h) the company limits the top speed to 258 mph (415 km/h),” thus leaving the ambiguous award of fastest production car to Hennessey. NAS Lemoore was chosen as the testing grounds as it’s one of the longest paved runways in North America.

To ensure the Venom GT met production requirements, this seventh-generation Hennessey is in fact street-legal that rolls on Michelin Pilot Super Sport DOT-approved tires, and uses Brembo 6-piston carbon ceramic disc brakes to stop when it has to. Inside the former Exige interior is still a cramped Exige interior, but now complete with hi-fi stereo, air conditioning, and leather seats. Mind you, at 265 mph you need neither A/C, nor the hi-fi for your Justin Bieber or leather seats.

But more importantly, what have they done beneath the exterior to make this wee beasty of a thing so all hot and bothered? Well for one thing, it weighs near nothing thanks to a carbon fiber composite workup that covers pretty much everything except the doors and the roof. Combine an athletic curb weight of only 2,743 lbs (1,244 kg) with twin Precision turbochargers that develop 19 psi (1.3 bar) of boost, and a 7.0 liter (427 CID) generating station developing an earth gobbling 1,155 lb.ft. of torque and 1,244 horsepower to the rear wheels, and you get a Venom GT with a power-to-weight ratio of 1 horsepower per 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of weight. For those of you keeping track, a ratio of one-to-one is indeed a most glorious performance specification.

In other news, 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) is done in 2.7 seconds, while to 0-180 mph (300 km/h) in 13.63 seconds helps Hennessey secure a Guinness World Record. Hennessey also reports a top speed of 278 mph (447.5 km/h) for the Venom GT. The manufacturer blames the lack of runway/stopping distance, for being unable to reach the vehicle’s true top speed on the day. So what we really need to see to stop this “he had a longer track!” trash talking is put both the Venom GT and the Bugatti on a stretch of blacktop, at the same time, with enough room to run to settle the million dollar squabbling once and for all. Hennessey plans to build only 29 of the Venom GTs, and claims one-third of the production run is already sold. Despite its claims to being a home-grown USA Veyron alternative, the Bugatti-esque price tag of US$1.2 million not including shipping or options, makes the Hennessey a less than realistic acquisition for the masses. The manufacturer says each carbon-fibered vehicle is made to order, requiring six months to complete.

Words and performance statistics are nice but the YouTube video below helps put the world in proper perspective.

Source: Hennessey

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

Until they take there car to the Bonneville salt flats and set the top speed there I will take all of this with a large grain of salt.

Doug Doyle

Was that a missed gear-shift from 4th to 5th at 1:38 and around 180 mph? Sorry, this is not acceptable even for a much cheaper car, let aside a car as expensive as the mighty Veyron. Where is the flappy-paddle gearbox?


Automatics are for people that cant drive. keep that flappy paddle BS for mass produced Ferrari garbage and leave the Venom and its real gearbox for those that can drive.

Jason Pope

Yawn, another overpriced testosterone junkpile. Just what is innovative about it?

Max Kennedy

While I like the fit and finish of the Bugatti I prefer the relative simplicity of the Hennessey. However, they should be able to put this car on the road for 50% of their street price (or less). I get that they have to recover design and labour costs but, at some point, those are red herrings.

I'd like to see a line-item cost sheet because unless they are lengthening the monocoque tub (which I don't see), everything else appears to be be "bolt on" and therefore a cost-plus basis would be a better way to market the car.


It may be faster than the Veyron, but as a complete solution $4$, I bet it's still rubbish.

Terry Penrose

I Think this is a ridiculous concept, just to say "I own the Fastest Car in the world"! When we are hardly EVER going to be able to drive anywhere near that fast. Also who the heck makes these prices up? As that is all they have done, is think of a number treble it and say that's the Retail cost. A Lotus Elise/Exige with some Carbon fibre panels and a big US Engine with twin turbo-chargers shouldn't cost more than $250k I am positive I could make a car that achieved these power figures for a lot less than Venom seem to try and Con people out of. 7 Litre engine and 1,200 Horse Power is EASILY reachable these days.

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