How fitting that on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, automotive top speed history was rewritten. Using the 3.22-mile space shuttle landing strip, the Hennessey Venom hyper-car set a brand new high water mark for street legal automobiles at 270.49 mph, as GPS certified by Racelogic. Officially, the Guinness Book of World Records does not recognize the Venom as the world’s fastest production car because it is technically a modified Lotus and only 11-units have been manufactured to date.
Let’s take a closer look at the Hennessey Venom.
Hennessey Performance Engineering, an American corporation based in Texas, is certainly no stranger to the world of speed and horsepower. Since 1991 they have produced some of the most sought after and powerful high-performance machines of the last quarter-century. Despite the fact that they specialize in the radical enhancement of American sports cars and super cars, when the idea of a modified Lotus supercar arose and consumer interest was sparked John Hennessey decided to undertake the project. As you can see the results have been extraordinary.
The Venom is typically registered as a Lotus Exige (modified) for street usage. In fact only select Exige body panels are actually reused in the production of the Venom. Production takes place in England, where the Lotus is completely disassembled. Specially designed front and rear racing modules are integrated upon reassembly, along with a full racing roll cage for increased stability and rigidity. Only the floor pan, roof, doors, side glasses, windshield, dashboard, cockpit, HVAC system, windshield wiper system, and head lamps are reused from the original Lotus. The Venom utilizes carbon-fiber body panels and wheels to gain liberal weight reduction throughout the car. The suspension is a fully adjustable racing customization; the brakes are Brembo with six-piston calipers in the front and four piston calipers in the rear. The 15-inch brake rotors are of a carbon ceramic composition, all around.
Initially, the Venom was slated to receive the 8.0-liter V10 Viper engine, which Hennessey has developed extensively through the use of twin-turbochargers. In the end they chose to use the 7.0-liter LS7 Chevrolet engine that powers such cars as the 2014 Chevrolet Z28, 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, and the 2014 Equus Bass 770. This engine is significantly lighter and more powerful then the Chrysler V10. The already potent LS7 is outfitted in three performance settings; 800-hp, 1000-hp, or the version that propelled the Venom to 270 mph, the 1244-hp and 1155 lb.-ft. of torque version. The Venom is a twin-turbocharged, mid-engine powered, rear-wheel drive car that flat out flies — Guinness record holder or not.