There’s fast, and then there’s the Hennessey Venom GT. John Hennessey’s manic, 1,244 horsepower boutique hypercar clocked an incredible 270.49 mph on the runway at Kennedey Space Center, the highest speed ever recorded for a production car.
The Venom GT performed the record-breaking run on February 14 on the same 3.2 mile-long landing strip used by the space shuttle. The car needed just 2.4 miles to reach the GPS-verified top speed of 270.49 mph and, according to Hennessey’s data, was still pulling by 1 mph per second between 260 and 270 mph. The speed exceeds that of the current world record holder for fastest production car, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which clocked a speed of 269.86 mph at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in 2010.
Unfortunately for John and the Hennessey Performance Engineering crew, the Bugatti is still the world’s fastest production car in the eyes of the Guinness Book of World Records. To qualify for an official world record, the car must make two runs, one in each direction, with the two top speeds averaged out. According to Hennessey, NASA wouldn’t let them run in both directions.
“We wanted to run in both directions, but the NASA guys wouldn’t let us. Getting into NASA isn’t easy. It was a two-year process,” Hennessey told Top Gear. “The morning was relatively calm, about a 3 mph quarter-crosswind. If we’d run in both directions, the result would have been pretty much the same.”
Also putting the Venom out of contention for the record was a change to the rules for the world’s fastest production car from the record books.
“For whatever reason, Guinness made a decision that to qualify [for a production car world record], you have to build 30 units,” said Hennessey. “We’re only making 29 Venom GTs. To date we’ve built and delivered 11.”
Even though it isn’t a world record holder, we can still appreciate the Lotus-based Venom GT for what it is, a very, very fast car.