Automotive

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

Hennessey Venom GT hits 270.49...
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 Hennessey Venom GT hit 270.49 mph on February 14, 2014
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The Hennessey Venom GT hit 270.49 mph on February 14, 2014
The Hennessey Venom GT hit 270.49 mph (435.31 km/h) at the Kennedy Space Center
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The Hennessey Venom GT hit 270.49 mph (435.31 km/h) at the Kennedy Space Center
The Hennessey Venom GT team with verification certificate
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The Hennessey Venom GT team with verification certificate
The Hennessey Venom GT speed verification certificate
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The Hennessey Venom GT speed verification certificate
The Hennessey Venom GT cranks1,244 bhp (914 kW)
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The Hennessey Venom GT cranks1,244 bhp (914 kW)
The Hennessey Venom GT at the Kennedy Space Center
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The Hennessey Venom GT at the Kennedy Space Center
The Hennessey Venom GT
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The Hennessey Venom GT
The Venom GT already holds world acceleration records
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The Venom GT already holds world acceleration records
The Hennessey Venom GT is powered by a 7 liter V8 engine
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The Hennessey Venom GT is powered by a 7 liter V8 engine
The Hennessey Venom GT preparing for its run
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The Hennessey Venom GT preparing for its run
The Hennessey Venom GT's new record has yet to be verified
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The Hennessey Venom GT's new record has yet to be verified
The Hennessey Venom GT only made one run at the record
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The Hennessey Venom GT only made one run at the record
Hennessey Venom GT - the $US1 million hypercar
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Hennessey Venom GT - the $US1 million hypercar
Hennessey Venom GT driver Brian Smith
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Hennessey Venom GT driver Brian Smith
The Hennessey Venom GT preparing for its run
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The Hennessey Venom GT preparing for its run
Hennessey Venom GT driver Brian Smith
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Hennessey Venom GT driver Brian Smith
The Hennessey Venom GT performance readout
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The Hennessey Venom GT performance readout
The Hennessey Venom GT's record speed readout
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The Hennessey Venom GT's record speed readout
The Hennessey Venom GT driver Brian Smith after his run
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The Hennessey Venom GT driver Brian Smith after his run
The Hennessey Venom GT team
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The Hennessey Venom GT team
The Hennessey Venom GT and team
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The Hennessey Venom GT and team
The Hennessey Venom GT run was verified by Racelogic
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The Hennessey Venom GT run was verified by Racelogic
The Hennessey Venom GT made its run with the permission of NASA
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The Hennessey Venom GT made its run with the permission of NASA

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
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
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
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

World's Fastest: 270.49 mph Hennessey Venom GT

23 comments
Mel Tisdale
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.
Steve Jones
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).
BigGoofyGuy
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.
Mel Tisdale
@ 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.
BZD
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.
Michael Wilson
@ 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.
Trebor
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
duh3000
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."
uncledave
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...
Michael Wilson
@ 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.