Physics, physics, we can-
not get rid of physics. And
when we have 1200 hp
asserting itself on only
2,686 lbs., we move at
Do it again and we get
the same 267 mph re-
And what super car is
this? It is a British built
2011 Hennessey Venom
This Venom GT does not resemble the hulking mega horsepower big
muscle cars that have rolled out of the Hennessey Performance Engineering
Garage in the past. However, this car packs the big horsepower but the
company has also focused on reducing the car’s weight.
This supercar recently rolled out of the Silverstone England production
garage and is on to a new owner. It is equipped with a twin-turbo
LS-series Chevrolet V8 engine amidship that puts out 1200 hp and
1135 ft. lb. of torque A Ricardo 6-speed manual transmission
(as used in the Ford GT) puts the power to the ground through the
Weighing in at 2,686 lbs. with fluids, the Venom GT will rocket
from 0-60 in less than 2.7 seconds, and in 14.7 seconds it will hit 187 mph
on its way to 267 mph in sixth gear. And if you do some math, you will
get a power-to-weight ratio of 2.4 lbs. per horsepower. Good physics
indeed! Also, keep in mind that this is a street legal vehicle rather than
a stripped down race car.
Less is certainly something that you do not normally associate with
a man who normally specializes in over 1000 horsepower vehicles.
Hennessey catalogs an 1100 hp twin-turbo Dodge Viper that ran
top dog in a highly publicized supercar shootout doing 0-200 mph
in 20.3 seconds. It left a Bugatti Veyron gasping almost four
Actually, it was that record-breaking assault on the 200 mph mark
that was the turning point in which Hennessey shifted his thinking from
pure unadulterated horsepower to lowering a car’s weight. And when
you have tremendous horsepower combined with low weight, well,
as with the Venom GT, physics does the rest.
Hennessey has built race cars with engines making 1200 to 1500 hp,
but he admits that making such horsepower requires 100 and greater
octane racing gasoline. He wanted to build something that would run
on ‘pump gas’ with a 93 octane rating that is available at most gas
Utilizing turbo chargers to increase the engine’s horsepower enabled
Hennessey to lower the engine’s compression ratio and thus run on
lower octane fuel. The next step was to reduce the weight of the car
that the engine’s horsepower would need to move around.
The Venom GT uses Lotus Elise parts including the windshield,
doors, roof, floor, dash, and various trim pieces. Hennessey used
parts from the Lotus because it was cost effective. The Lotus dash
was already crash certified and did not require the cost of crash testing.
Rather, he put the money in the Venom GT’s new front and rear space
frame, suspension, and the car’s carbon-fiber body.
Although the Venom GT uses the Lotus parts mentioned above,
it is three feet longer and almost six inches wider than the Elise.
This makes the Venom GT more aggressive looking.
Aerodynamic enhancements include a front spitter and lower rear
diffuser panel to create road hugging downforce. The movable
rear wing, when entirely deployed generates 1500 lbs. of downforce
at 150 mph to keep the rear of the car planted.
In addition to the carbon-fiber body, the wheelbase has been increased
by 20 inches to provide better balance and to accommodate the Hennessey
twin-turbo V8 engine. The totally new suspension provides an increase
in track width of almost seven inches at the front and six inches at the rear.
The dampers are KW Variant 3 adjustable coil-over shock units.
The brakes are Brembo 15-inch carbon ceramic discs and 6-piston caliper
at each corner. And the rubber is Michelin PS2 performance radials
235/30/20 front and 330/30/20 rear.
The price of the Hennessey Venom GT starts at $725,000 and only ten
vehicles will be built each year.
The last time a Texan put an American V8 in a British sports
car, the result made high performance car history. History
could indeed be repeating again, and John Hennessey warns
that he has only begun to explore the capabilities of the
Venom GT. And I think that physics is indeed on his side!
Have an auto question or comment? You can email it to me at
Kbusch3@verizon.net.Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best
for the Price…” www.DriveTheBestBook.com.