Watch The Hennessey Venom GT Hit A World Record 270.49 MPH At NASA

Illustration for article titled Watch The Hennessey Venom GT Hit A World Record 270.49 MPH At NASA

How much track do you need to become the 'fastest production car' in the world? If you're behind the wheel of the Hennessey Venom GT going 270+ mph you have to go where NASA landed freaking space shuttles.

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The current record, if you're curious, is held by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. The Bugatti is built by Volkswagen who owns one of the few high-speed ovals in the world — Ehra-Lessien — where you can actually test something as otherwise abstract as a car's ability to go faster than a human being can process speed.

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Since they're not giving access to some crazy Texan to best their multi-million dollar supercar they had to get creative, and what does a Texan associate with speed? NASA, of course. Specifically the runway at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida (a popular place to test these records).

Illustration for article titled Watch The Hennessey Venom GT Hit A World Record 270.49 MPH At NASA
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While under command of driver Brian Smith on February 14th, the Venom GT sent a love note to Bugatti by way of a a 270.49 mph pass on the 3.2-mile shuttle landing way. It's one of the few places where there's that much uninterrupted pavement not surrounded by cops, other cars, or stray animals.

Because NASA requires there to be some scientific purpose for runs on their property, they were "testing" Pennzoil's new synthetic motor oil, which is made from natural gas. NASA, however, wouldn't let them run in both directions they claim, so Guinness won't certify it. The technicalities of 'fastest' get a bit ridiculous.

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So how does a car get to 270 mph? The Venom GT starts life as a relatively lowly Lotus Elise — a car known for being light and quick. They do their best to maintain 'light' by keeping the weight down to a spritely 2,743 pounds. That's lighter than a Honda Civic. Where it differs from a stock Elise is in the power.

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Illustration for article titled Watch The Hennessey Venom GT Hit A World Record 270.49 MPH At NASA

Try 1,244 from a specially modified GM V8 engine that's been twin-turbocharged and modified to eek the last bit of power out of it. The cost of all this? About $1.0-million, which is sort of a deal. So far they've only built 11 of these, with 30 planned (the minimum to be considered "production" by most standards).

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If you must have the fastest car, this is perversely your value play.

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DISCUSSION

hooniversejeff
Jeff Glucker

Sometimes I hate the Internet... a guy just drove a car 270 miles per hour down a runway, and the majority of comments are bitching about how it's either a "tuned Elise" or not official.

In the end, none of that matters. A team of folks came together and did something awesome.

Given the appropriate amount of room, this seems to be quite capable of hitting even 280 miles per hour, which is astonishing... even MORE so if you subscribe to the "tuned Elise" camp.