|In 2007, Road & Track Magazine invited Hennessey Performance to participate in a shootout between some of the world’s fastest supercars. The contest? Find out which car could accelerate from 0 to 200 mph in the shortest amount of time. Some of the heavyweights competing where the Mercedes McLaren SLR, Lamborghini Murciellago, Ruf Porsche 911 Twin Turbo and the 1001 bhp all-wheel drive Bugatti Veyron 16.4.For our entry, the Hennessey team brought the company’s latest Venom 1000 Twin Turbo Viper. Several runs were made by each car on the 2.9 mile long runway at Lemoore Naval Air Station in central California. At the end of the day, the Hennessey Venom 1000 Viper was crowned king of the ROAD & TRACK “Speed Kings” shootout by posting the quickest time of the day by running 0 to 200 mph in an astonishing 20.3 seconds. By comparison, the 2nd place Bugatti Veyron 16.4 was nearly 4 seconds behind the Venom with a time of 24.2 seconds.
“At the end of the Road & Track test, we were very pleased with the results and the Venom taking first place over the Veyron”, says John Hennessey. “As far as I am aware, we have the only car that has ever beaten a Veyron in an independent, head to head test of vehicle performance. While we were quite happy with that accomplishment, it did not take long for me to begin thinking about what could we do to improve the performance of our car.”
He continues, “I thought that we could possibly add a bit more power but had concerns about being able to put that power to the ground via the Viper front-engine rear-wheel drive platform. My next thought was to reduce weight… try to lighten the Viper from 3500 lbs to under 3000 lbs. But that would not be reality as the car could only shed about 200 lbs while still being a true street car with a full interior, AC, etc. So I started thinking about lighter alternative vehicles that could be modified to 1000+ hp and that could put the power to the ground. All-wheel drive went against the grain of light weight due to the added driveline components.”
“One day I joked about putting the Venom 1000 Twin Turbo engine in the back of a Lotus Exige. Then I thought, let’s do a sketch and see what that might look like. When I saw the sketch I stopped laughing and really started to seriously think about this idea. We then had a few more detailed renderings made. And when I saw these drawings, I thought to myself, we can build this car with 1000+ hp and a weight well under 3000 lbs. A mid-engine design like the Ford GT will put the weight of the motor and transmission over the rear tires giving better traction. Design as much downforce as we will need to have a car that handles like a kart on the road or race track. At the same time also have a car with the best power to weight ratio possible giving unmatched acceleration. This is how the Venom GT concept was born.”