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Lotus Built Its Own Hennessy Venom GT Back In The '90s

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The Hennessey Venom GT could be the most insane vehicle every to qualify as a "production" car. Twelve-hundred horsepower, 2,548 pounds and 100% batshit. But who knew that years before John H. deconstructed, then reconstructed his magnum Lotus, Lotus built something eerily similar. The Lotus Elise GT1.

On this week's Shakedown, Leo Parente looks back at the GT1 racecar Lotus built during the 1990s to compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 GT1 and Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR in the 1997 FIA GT Championship.


The factory Lotus Elise GT1 run by Lotus Racing was powered by Chevrolet's 5.7-liter LT5 V8 engine — that's the one from the C4 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 that Lotus helped develop — which it fitted with a flat-plane crank. Other versions of the GT1 ran a turbocharged 3.5-liter V8 engine out of the older Esprit racecar.

Sadly, the super Elise couldn't compete with the Germans, and was scrapped. Still, we'll bet if you parked the Venom GT next to a homologation Elise GT1, you could see the similarities even through the generational differences.