Exactly two years ago today, John Hennessey and his Venom GT became the world’s fastest production car hitting a one-way top speed of 270.49 MPH.
Two years ago today, Hennessey Performance and their one-off Venom GT gave America a sort of Valentine’s day gift of its own. While the rest of America was waking up to a Valentine’s day on a Friday like any other year, Hennessey was preparing to bring a record held by the Germans onto American soil. According to their official press release less than two weeks after their record run, Hennessey Performance chalked up the whole foray into the record books as an aerodynamic test session where they ” …verified the CFD aerodynamic model throughout its designed performance range.” Along the way, they hit 270.49 MPH.
Although Guinness World Records never officially recognized the record run since it wasn’t run in the opposite direction with both times averaged, official recognition wasn’t the goal in the first place. Hennessey was simply a man verifying a bit of computational data.Relive that awesome run from the driver, Brian Smith’s POV, in their official video below.
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If you listen in on the beginning few seconds of the first video, you may recognize that speech as John F. Kennedy’s infamous moon speech that launched America into an organized rush to space that ultimately landed NASA on the moon. How apropos that the Aerodynamic Test Session they were undertaking was on the 3.2 mile long Space Shuttle Landing Runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
According to Hennesey Performance,
"The Hennessey Performance team was able to utilize the Shuttle Landing runway via the Performance Power LLC Space Act Agreement. Performance Power collaborates with manufacturers and race teams alike to utilize the shuttle runway for the purposes of engineering validation, safety, innovative product design, and aerodynamic testing."
Instead of an upward launch into space, the Venom GT Supercar would be test Driver Brian Smith’s vehicle of choice. Powering this space shuttle on the ground is an all-American GM LS7 engine with an iron block, aluminum head and twin turbos with peak boost coming in at 19psi. All in all, final power numbers that day hovered around 1,244 BHP and 1,155 lb-ft of torque. All that power is routed through a 6-speed manual transmission derived from the Ford GT.
But why no record run? Simply put, NASA said no. NASA was gracious enough to lend their facilities to Hennessey Performance for the purposes of testing and did allow them to make one run in one direction. If they did make another run, according to John, the car was still mechanically fine and the wind barely made any difference. Suffice to say, they could’ve broken the Guinness record that day if they wanted to (and if they sold 19 more units.) Not to mention the Hennessey Venom GT was still pulling at the rate of 1 MPH/second.
As far as the Venom GT goes, since then, Hennessey unveiled a more powerful Hennesey Venom GT last year at the 2015 SEMA show that had turbos with boost upgraded from 19 psi to 26 psi. Final power ratings on that particular model were rated at 1451 HP, 207 more than the record-setting Venom GT.
Ultimately, the vehicle that will surpass the Venom GT and compete with the likes of the Bugatti Chiron and Koenigsegg Regera is the Hennessey Venom F5. With bigger turbos, a faster transmission, and a lower drag coefficient, the F5 should carry on where the Venom GT left off. When Top Gear spoke to Hennessey’s crew at the 2015 SEMA show they did tell fans that the Venom F5 would be unveiled at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show.
The claim is that Hennessey’s Venom F5 can hit 290 MPH in its final production version which should be competitive to the Chiron with rumors of around 288 MPH for that glorified V.W. If so, we can expect a blow by blow run from both that’ll hopefully keep this particular record on American soil and make it Guinness Official. No official word from Hennessey if they do plan to eclipse their standing record.
As for today, we remember that record setting run and tip our hats to these pioneering Americans and their speed machines.