Hennessey Venom GT Spyder tears its way to world's fastest convertible title

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The Hennessey Venom GT Spyder bolts toward a world record

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The Hennessey Venom GT is due to be replaced by the Venom F5 anytime now, but Hennessey's original hyper-Lotus isn't retiring quietly. Even as a lame duck, the Venom GT remains one of the most electrifying cars in the world. Two years after Hennessey set an unofficial 270.49-mph (435.31-km/h) production car speed record in the coupe version, it's raised the bar for convertible supercars by over 11 mph. The Hennessey Venom GT Spyder is now the fastest convertible in the world.

Hennessey teased the new world record last week before making an official announcement on Monday, April 11, which happens to be exactly three years from the day that Bugatti announced the convertible world speed record that Hennessey just broke. Perhaps that's why Hennessey waited over two weeks to share the results of the late-March record run.

Ford Performance Racing School director Brian Smith piloted the recently upgraded 1,451-hp Venom GT Spyder to 265.6 mph (427.4 km/h) at the Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. That speed bests the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse's 254.04-mph (408.84 km/h) convertible speed record by more than 11.5 mph (18.5 km/h). That's an impressive leap, and it's also worth noting that the Venom GT Spyder's speed comes within just a few mph's of the Veyron Super Sport coupe's 267.8 mph (431 km/h) production car speed record and just a hair short of the hard-top Venom GT's controversial 265.7-mph run from 2013.

"I thought that this would be a special way to celebrate 25 years of making fast cars faster," said founder John Hennessey, referencing the company's 25th anniversary taking place this year. "I've wanted to test the top speed of our Venom GT Spyder, without the roof, ever since our coupe ran 270.4 mph on the Space Shuttle landing runway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 2014. This was a great way to validate the technical excellence of our car which includes high-speed stability with an open roof."

Data acquisition was performed by Racelogic hardware, and Racelogic technical director Jim Lau certified the record. Commander Darren Fouts, Air Operations Officer, served as witness.

While the Venom GT coupe's 270.49-mph record comes with a big asterisk, it appears the Spyder's record won't need that same qualification. The Venom GT coupe only made a single run during its 2014 world record performance, missing the chance for an official Guinness record, which requires two runs in opposite directions. Also, it fell short of the 30-car production minimum. So Bugatti still owns the official Guinness paper for world's fastest production car.

Hennessey didn't have to worry about Guinness or its rules this time around. Bugatti didn't get its 254-mph Vitesse record certified by Guinness. Instead, it turned to TÜV, and an inspection of a photo of the TÜV certificate issued to Bugatti in 2013 clarifies that it was a one-way run. So Hennessey grabs the title from
the previous fastest roadster on fair, equal footing, no asterisk or "unofficial" necessary.

What good would a world production car record be without a world record special edition? Hennessey will build three Venom GT Spyder "World Record Editions" and ask US$1.3 million apiece before taxes. Beyond a world record pedigree, each car will boast a 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 1,451 bhp and 1,287 lb-ft of torque, with 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) coming in under 2.4 seconds.

The 4-minute video below provides some great footage of the world record run and ends with a quick Venom F5 teaser. Don't be surprised if the new Venom GT sets a couple more world speed or acceleration records before stepping out of the way to let the Venom F5 take the stage, it shows no signs of slowing down.

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