Venturi is a French brand recognized for its production of sports cars, particularly the Venturi 400 Trophy, a V6-powered sports car that dominated the racing scene in the ’90s. But regardless of its vast contributions to the racing community, Venturi is also among the least known car manufacturers today.
The Venturi 400 Trophy was, for some time, perceived as a serious contender in the supercar industry, with flashy exotic wedge-shaped cuts, starting with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and once dubbed the “Venturi Gentleman Drivers Trophy”. With more demand in the racing community, the Venturi became among the most preferred vehicles to compete on popular racetracks. The first round of the Venturi trophy was a success. The Venuti partook in various championships included, including Dijon, Le Mans, Poe, Paul Ricard, Magny-Cours, and Nürburgring.
In addition to the Trophy model, which made its first debut at the Paris Motor Show in 1986 and continued in the model line nearly until 1996 (without changing its style or revising its engine), the brand offered the Convertible Transcup version of the Trophy model . This was called the 300 Atlantique, renowned as one of the fastest production cars. Later, Venturi Automobiles introduced a road version of the Trophy: The Venturi 400 GT. Unlike the Gentleman Driver Trophy, the 400 GT was the first production car to feature carbon-ceramic brakes as a standard feature. Thanks to its amazing power output, the Venturi 400 GT went against the 911 Carrera GTS, the Pagani Zonda C12, and the BMW M2 Competition. The Venturi eventually adopted the Vector route in the United States, building just dozens of cars before going bankrupt in 2001.
The Venturi 400 GT was a road version of the famous Venturi 400 Trophy racing lineage. The GT adapted a lot of features from the racing sibling, including the sporty fascia and the 3.0-liter V6 turbo engine, among other things. Here’s a brief history of the Venturi 400 GT.
The Venturi 400 GT Boasted An Amazing Racing Character
A major highlight of the Venturi 400 GT was its exterior styling, which featured an overall athletic build. For a design that remained unchanged for a long time (the Trophy model), Venturi made a few changes to the then-new 400 GT. First, its new shape consisted of redesigned front and rear bumpers. Then the model got its rear spoiler from the French F40. The 400 GT inherited the same retractable headlights from the predecessor, but this time, they were wider and half visible.
The outside mirrors were substantially extended to provide a wider field of view to the rear with wide fenders and a rear spoiler. The 400 GT model also had new 18-inch wheels, which further boosted the sports car’s profile. The rear end received a large side air outlet ahead of the rear wheels.
Past the doors was a smart interior, with a sporty presentation. The 98.4-inch wheelbase gave the interior more leg and headroom, also similar to the racing model. For the driver and front passenger, the front received two leather-padded A8 Recaro seats.
For a more luxurious appeal, the leather material spread throughout the cabin, across the door panels, and the center console. The dashboard came concealed in carbon. Upon request, customers could have the optional woodgrain material on the dashboard. So, air conditioning was a standard feature on the Venturi 400 GT.
The Venturi 400 GT: Same Great Powertrain, Different Drivetrain
Under the sleek hood, the Venturi 400 GT packed the same engine as the dragstrip Trophy version, which was a 3.0-liter V6 Twin Turbo PRV ZPJ4 Original PSA engine. The PRV/EIA was a top-of-the-line powertrain, developed by three brands: Peugeot, Renault, and Volvo. It was capable of delivering a staggering 408 hp at 6,000 RPM and 384 lb.-ft of torque at 4,500 RPM. This power output placed the Venturi 400 GT at par with the 911 Carrera GTS, which had a similar power output, or the BMW M2 Competition, which made 410 horsepower. Also, the Venturi 400 GT’s pulling power beat the Ford Mustang Boss 302 and the Jaguar XK. To source as much power as possible, the brand threw in two V6 Turbos Garrett T2 / T25 blowing at 0.95 bar maximum. For the drivetrain, the 400 GT’s mid-engine configuration sent the power to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission system.
More changes made the Venturi 400 GT stand out. These changes came in the form of two catalytic pots, a modified electronic management system, and a silencer. These factors not only made differentiated the Venturi 400 GT and the Venturi Challenge model. The same factors also made sure the Venturi 400 GT had the best features a normal road version sports car could offer, if not more. With this power, the Venturi 400 GT could accelerate from a standstill to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds. The Venturi 400 GT had a top speed of 180 mph, making it the fastest production car from France during its time.
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