Hennessey Venom GT: The World's Fastest Tuned Car - TUNED

Uploaded by drive on 10.07.2012


MATT FARAH: In 1962, a man from Texas decided he wanted
to go fast.
Luxury was not on the list of priorities, nor was building a
car with totally unique styling.
No, he thought about only one thing--
power to weight.
By dropping the biggest engine available into a lightweight
British roadster, Carroll Shelby created one of the
fastest, most terrifying super cars the world had ever seen.
Now, 50 years later, another Texan has arrived, eager to
make his mark on the super car world.
And though the Hennessey Venom GT Spyder weighs just 15% more
than the Cobra that inspired it, it makes 150% more
John Hennessey turned everything up to 11.
I mean, really--
how many people drive a Viper and then decide it needs twice
the horsepower?
Such as the case with this car.
It's a foot wider than the Lotus Elise on which it's
based and 18 inches longer.
In fact, all that's left from the donor car is the
windshield, interior, air conditioning, and doors.

Everything in front of the windshield or behind the seats
is all new.
The engine is based on the GM LSX but stroke to seven liters
with two 67 millimeter precision turbos, compressing
anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds of boost, depending on how
crazy the driver feels.
At full tilt, it makes 1,244 horsepower, sending all that
power to the rear wheels through a Ricardo six speed
transmission from the Ford GT.
The whole body is handmade carbon fiber and features
adjustable aerodynamics.

Because there's never enough road, the ceramic brakes are
15 inches at all corners, with six piston calipers upfront
and four piston in the rear.
At 150 miles an hour, it makes 1,150 pounds of down force,
and theoretically will do 272 miles an hour.
Sure, it resembles a Lotus and shares a dashboard with a car
costing just $50,000, but to complain about such things is
to miss the point entirely.
Like Carroll Shelby before him, John Hennessey just wants
to go fast.

And you can too for just over $1 million.

JOHN HENNESSEY: About four or five years ago, I was thinking
what we could we do to improve the performance of our cars.
I thought, we need to go faster, but maybe adding more
horsepower isn't always the answer.
Maybe going lighter weight to improve performance would be
the answer.
And so we joked around about taking a Lotus Elise from
Exige and pulling the Toyota four banger out of the back
and putting our twin turbo V-10 Viper motor in the back.
And one day I had our artist do up a sketch and I looked at
the sketch, and I'm like, we can build that car.
And here we are four years later and the Venom GT
somewhat embodies my idea of maximum horsepower, minimal
weight in a usable package that's drivable, that's got
down force, carbon ceramic brakes, stops and turns and
looks cool in the process.
MATT FARAH: I haven't driven it at all yet, so you're going
to get my natural reactions to everything.
There's still a little bit of Lotus left in here, so to
start it you have to do the lock unlock thing.

MATT FARAH: Well, shall we, then?

The clutch travel is about two inches.
It is extremely stiff.
And let's see how it goes.
Oh, there's lots of torque, tons of torque.
This has electric power steering.
The shifter's right out of a Ford GT.
It feels great, nice and slick.
The ride quality is great, better than an actual Lotus,
I've got to say.
It's very smooth.
The long wheel base might have something to with that.
It also feels more rigid than a Lotus.
Lotuses are a little tinny.
This thing, because of the cage, because of the wheel
base, it feels really good.
Listen to the turbos, the spool up.
It's about power to weight, that's it.
Alright, let's do a little third gear roll on.

MATT FARAH: Oh, my God.
It takes your breath away.
There's pressure on your chest.
Your head is in the seat.
It's like every [LAUGHTER].
Oh, my God, let's do that again.
Here we go.


JOHN HENNESSEY: I drive a lot of fast cars, you drive a lot
of fast cars.
Every time I drive a Venom GT, it thrills me and it scares me
a little bit, and I think that's something that our
customers want in a car like this.
They want a car that's got a little bit of an edge to it.
You think about a Veyron or other super cars that come out
of Europe, they're very fast but they're very antiseptic,
and you just kind of feel like you're along for the ride,
almost like you've got somebody that's a chauffeur.
This car, you've got to drive it.
This car, you got to use your brain, this car, you got to
use your skills, and it will reward you or punish you
according to how well you use those skills.
And so it's a car that demands a lot of respect, but
thrilling is the one word that I would use.

MATT FARAH: I love how my right hand feels like I'm in a
Ford GT, my ears think I'm in a twin turbo Corvette, and my
body thinks I'm looking at a Lotus.

nuts, this car.
The point is to scare the crap out of me.
That's what this car's for.

This is the I want to scare myself every time I get in a
car, and guess what?

It works good for that.

Well, my drive is ending, and you know what I'm going to do?
I'm going to get out of this car, I'm going to have a
cigarette, and then I'm going to give John Hennessey a
really big hug, because damn.

Supermodel sex, that's the kind of fun this thing is--
it's supermodel sex fun.
Look, John, I didn't crash it.
Holy [BLEEP].
JOHN HENNESSEY: Thank you, bro.
JOHN HENNESSEY: Feel better?
MATT FARAH: That thing is bonkers.
Oh, it's so good.
Oh, I love you.
I want one so bad.
I'm not really sure what else there is to say right now that
I haven't already said, but let me just
leave you with this.
Yes, there is a Lotus interior inside this, yes, the doors
are from a Lotus, and yes, you register as a Lotus, so it is
a tuner car.
So it may not be a Zonda or Koenigsegg or a Veyron in
terms of the prestige, but I dare you to get in this car,
put it in third, and mat it to the floor, and not scream like
a little school girl because you were having the best time
of your entire life.
This is unquestionably the fastest car I've ever driven,
the coolest car I've ever driven, and with only six
built, the most unique car I've ever driven.
I would like to thank Mr. John Hennessey for finally allowing
me to come out and drive this car, and the secret celebrity
owner for not minding so much.
And we're just getting started-- season two of Tuned
is now officially on.
I don't know where we're going to go from here, but it's
going to be good, I promise you that.
I'm Matt Farah, and you've been watching Tuned right here
on the Drive network.
Now I need a beer.