Bugatti Schmugatti. Two-fifty plus in a Veyron? Big whoop. How can we say that? You just have to watch the video, that’s how. Just watch how hard the Hennessey Venom GT Spyder is still accelerating from 150 to 250 mph.
It’s what we did to get inspiration for introducing you to Hennessey Performance’s latest shenanigans that take place around the various government-aviation runways in the lower 48. This time, the venue was Lemoore Naval Air Station near Fresno, California on the facility’s 2.9-mile long airstrip. It’s astonishing how this car pushes the air aside as if it were operating in a vacuum rather than overcoming the relentless onslaught of wind way beyond the speed of a Cat-5 hurricane.
And our favorite part of the whole thing? It was done with essentially LS power. LS7-based mojo, of course, to the twin-turbo tune of more than 1,400 horsepower in a car that weighs considerably less than 3,000 pounds and uses a Lotus Exige with a longer wheelbase for its foundation. A six-speed manual transaxle built by Ricardo is the gearbox of choice, which is the same company that produced a version for the 2005-06 Ford GT.
This time around, the run was meant to commemorate 25 years of HP. “Twenty-Sixteen marks the 25th anniversary of Hennessey Performance,” said John Hennessey. “I thought that this would be a special way to celebrate 25 years of making fast cars faster. I had wanted to test the top speed of the Venom GT Spyder, without a roof, ever since the coupe version went 270 mph on the Space Shuttle landing-runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2014. This was a great way to validate the technical excellence of our car which includes high-speed stability with an open roof.”
It was March 25, 2016, when the Venom GT set a new world record for open-top sports cars and Racelogic, the independent speed testing firm, confirmed that a top speed of 265.6 mph was achieved. The run was certified by Racelogic technical director, Jim Lau, and witnessed by Commander Darren Fouts, who is Lemoore’s Air Operations Officer. The car was driven by Brian Smith, director of the Ford Performance Racing School.
Following that 270-mph pass at Kennedy—a speed that remains unparalleled for the Venom today—Hennessey has added this new milestone. The open-top GT Spyder, is officially the fastest convertible sports car in the world and beats the previous record held by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Vitesse by more than 11 mph. Though maybe not a true convertible (it’s more like a C4-C7 Corvette coupe with a one-piece removable Targa-style roof panel) we’ll still go with it, because they made the run with the roof off and the side windows all the way down. Close enough for us.
Summarizing the insane performance envelope of this land-locked space shuttle, it’s powered by the aforementioned GM LS7-based twin-turbo 7.0-liter motor producing 1,451 horsepower at 7,200 rpm and 1,287 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. The car can snap to 60 mph in less than 2.4 seconds and has also gone 0-200 mph in less than 13 seconds. Quarter-mile times are in the 9.90s at 163 mph.
On a final note, Hennessey plans to offer a limited run of three “World Record Edition” Venom GT Spyders to commemorate the record open-top run and as a tribute to the company’s 25th Anniversary. The cost will be $1.3 million each. Plus tax. Place your order today.