The journey of the Hennessey Venom GT took off back in 2007 when John Hennessey and his team were invited to take part in a shootout between some of the world’s fastest supercars. The goal was to determine the quickest-accelerating cars from 0 to 200 mph. Hennessey’s entrant into the contest was a Venom 1000 Twin Turbo Viper, a car that eventually emerged as the winner, beating the Veyron by almost 4 seconds. But that was not enough for Hennessey Performance and they began to explore ways to further improve the performance of the car with more power and less weight. The Viper was dropped in favor of the lighter lotus Elise and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Hennessey Venom GT was born weighing less than 3000 lbs and with well over 1,000 hp on tap. The car would eventually go on to set a few speed records before Hennessey Performance discontinued production to focus on a successor.
10 Humble Roots
The Venom GT is often classified as a hypercar, which is what makes this fact all the more intriguing. It is actually based on the Lotus Elise and not only shares a chassis but also other components such as the roof, side glass, doors, windscreen, and headlights.
It’s something that’s often made the Venom GT the subject of some ribbing within the car community by those who are of the opinion that the car is little more than a glorified Lotus sports car.
9 More On The Chassis
The Venom GT is not the only car that shared underpinnings with the Lotus Elise. The platform from the British sports car also found application in other Lotus cars like the Exige, 340R, and 2-Eleven.
Then there were the non-Lotus cars like the Vauxhall VX200 and even the original Tesla Roadster that made use of the Elise’s Platform. However, it’s clear that the Venom GT took this application beyond anything all the other cars could ever achieve.
8th Record Holder
Glorified Lotus or not, the Hennessey Venom GT was pretty quick, able to launch like a bullet and accelerate to astonishing speeds in record time. In February 2014, the hypercar set a speed record for 2-seat sports cars by reaching a top speed of 270.49 mph.
That run was performed on a 3.2-mile runway located at the Kennedy Space Center. At one time, it also held a Guinness World Record for the quickest 0 – 186 mph acceleration, achieving the feat in just 13.63 seconds.
7 The Spyder Run
As part of the activities to mark the carmaker’s 25th anniversary, the Venom GT Spyder was at the California’s Naval Air Station Lemoore where it achieved a Vmax run of 265.57 mph, a truly impressive feat for a car with no roof.
However, the most impressive thing about this run was the fact that the Venom GT Spyder was actually down in power by about 300 hp due to issues with one of the car’s three high-capacity fuel pumps.
6 A Raging Power Plant
The engine is the Venom GT’s superpower and forms the core of the hypercar. It is a 7.0-liter twin-turbo aluminum-block GM LS7 V-8 that, at its peak, could crank out a thumping 1,451 hp and up to 1, 287 lb-ft of torque.
The mid-mounted engine was paired to a Ford-derived 6-speed manual that fed all the horsepower to the rear wheels. That power combined well with a curb weight of only 2,743 pounds, creating a car that was almost unmatched when it came to its acceleration prowess.
Hennessey Performance is a boutique automobile outfit that lacks the capacity to produce cars in any significant number. When the Venom GT first launched, the plan was to produce 29 units but according to several sources, the final production number was less than half that amount.
Reports indicate that only 13 units were built between 2011 and 2017, a number that included seven coupes and six Spyders. It’s one of the reasons they are so rare today, with public appearances mostly confined to the occasional high-profile car event.
4 The Final Edition
January 2017 marked the end of the production run for the Venom GT and Hennessey signed off with a final example dubbed the ‘Final Edition.’ That particular Venom GT, a Spyder with a unique finish known as Glacier Blue, quickly sold at a price of $1.2 million.
At the time, the Hennessey Performance boss stated that the car’s production was being wound up so that the team could focus on the Venom GT’s successor, a car that’s now been revealed as the Hennessey Venom F5.
3 World’s Fastest Edition
As the name implies, the World’s Fastest Edition was produced to commemorate the car’s speed records. Only 3 units were produced and they were all finished with the same white paint finish, complemented by red and blue stripes from stem to stern.
The cars did not have any performance upgrades; not that it really needed one with the 1244-hp twin-turbo 7.0-liter V-8 powerplant providing more than enough grunt for the lightweight hypercar.
2 About Safety Features
The Venom GT was built with a primary purpose: to be as fast as possible in a straight line. For more mainstream cars, that would usually imply the addition of key safety features to protect the occupants if things were to go awry. However, the Venom GT is no ordinary car.
The Spyder variant, capable of top speeds in excess of 260 mph, came with traction control delete and zero airbags. It does have seatbelts though so apart from strapping yourself in securely, all you can do is hang on tight and hope to arrive at the other end of a Vmax run in one piece.
1 Inspiration For The Spyder
Steven Tyler is an American musician best known as the lead singer of the popular band, Aerosmith. He was reportedly so impressed by the Venom GT that he placed an order for one. However, he preferred one with a removable hardtop so Hennessey Performance decided to go ahead and produce the Venom GT Spyder.
The very first one was, as expected, delivered to the singer and it remained in his possession for a few years before it was auctioned off in 2017 for about $800,000. All of the proceeds were donated to charity.
Here Are The 10 Fastest American Cars Ever Made