Skip advert
Advertisement

A-Z Supercars: Hennessey Venom GT - Hennessey Venom GT - page 3

Veyron power and speed in a mutant Lotus bodyshell, that’s the venom GT

Consequently, when you drive the Venom GT not only do you feel confident and connected to the car, you’re left free to concentrate on enjoying it and exploring its performance. At first you just tickle it along, revelling in the torque and the mighty soundtrack of this extraordinary twin-turbo, 7-litre, bespoke-built V8. There’s also a certain amount of trepidation at what this kind of power will feel like on the road in a mid-engined car on regular street tyres, but human nature being what it is, it’s not too long before your right foot pushes a bit harder for a bit longer until those turbos wake up with a banshee wail.

Advertisement - Article continues below

With an intermediate gear selected – let’s say fourth at 60mph – the build-up of boost and resulting acceleration intensifies like the breath-squeezing embrace of a boa constrictor. Accelerative G-force squishes you into the seat as torque builds to that Himalayan peak of 1155lb ft at 4200rpm. It’s shocking; not for its all-out violence, but for the sustained intensity with which it pulls and pulls, ever harder, ever stronger. Peak power might win bar-room bragging rights, but this is exquisite proof that torque-to-weight will always be the thinking man’s indicator of true on-road performance.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Still, once you’ve tasted the Venom GT’s full-throttle through-the-gears acceleration, it expands your mind and opens a window to performance that no end of on-boost, in-gear roll-ons can replicate. When you scrunch up the courage to wind the Venom GT out through as many gears as you dare, the acceleration and sensation of speed is biblical. Samuel L Jackson spittle-flecked tirade in Pulp Fiction biblical. Trees, fences, road signs and even the vast Texan sky begin to form a blur as the traction control allows the 345-section rear tyres to rotate just faster than actual road speed in second and third gears. This is performance of an entirely different magnitude and intensity to any other hypercar. For the few seconds you can unleash it before running out of road (or nerve) it feels completely overwhelming.

As the speed subsides and sanity returns, adrenalin rushes through your system in a hot, roiling flush of fight-or-flight energy. And then you laugh: gusts of manic, helium-tinged hysteria that only come in the wake of experiencing something gloriously stupid. I’ve been lucky enough to feel that natural high in road cars, race cars and record-breaking cars, but nothing approaches the stimulant-like effects of the Venom GT’s all-out performance. If gasoline is your drug of choice, this car’s throttle is a syringe.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

So where does it fit into the grand hypercar hierarchy? At the top of the tree, at least in terms of authenticated outright acceleration and estimated 270mph+ top speed. Incredible as it sounds, building a car that hits 186mph in 13.6sec is the easy bit. It’s making a car go that fast yet possess the polish and finesse to work as a road car that takes time, commitment and a rare ability to sweat over the details.

No, the Venom GT doesn’t have the refinement and accessibility of a Veyron, but for many people – myself included – that painstakingly engineered aloofness and disdain for hypercar theatrics is the Bug’s biggest weakness. Styling is a subjective quality, and while I’ll admit to having doubts about Hennessey’s Marvel Comics makeover of the S2 Exige prior to our trip, there’s no doubting its star quality and jaw-dropping presence when you see it close-up. As for the lack of pedigree, it’s worth parking our in-built European snobbery and remembering Pagani uses an AMG Mercedes motor, while Koenigsegg’s V8 still has traces of Ford DNA.

To my mind the Venom GT is in the mould of the Porsche Carrera GT and, in some respects, the McLaren F1. Its defiantly analogue approach makes it unique amongst its contemporaries, while its no-prisoners attitude ensures it will never be less than a challenge to master. If anything, the Hennessey’s handling is a little more flattering and forgiving than either, though there’s no doubt it’ll bite if you take liberties. If you ask me, that’s exactly how a supercar should be.

Of course we won’t know for sure how well the Venom GT stacks up unless we drive it against cars like the Agera R, Huayra, Veyron Super Sport and One-77 on the same roads (and runway) on the same day. We’re doing all we can to make that test a reality, but until then we politely suggest the hypercar establishment takes heed of this age-old warning: don’t mess with Texas.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

The £315,000 Ford Mustang GTD is a GT3 car for the road
Ford Mustang GTD
News

The £315,000 Ford Mustang GTD is a GT3 car for the road

A collaboration between Ford Performance and Multimatic, the GTD is the most extreme road-going Mustang ever produced
18 Jun 2024
McLaren Artura Spider 2024 review – Ferrari 296 rival just got a whole lot better
McLaren Artura Spider
Reviews

McLaren Artura Spider 2024 review – Ferrari 296 rival just got a whole lot better

More power, comprehensive chassis updates and a new Spider model has resulted in McLaren’s Artura being impossible to ignore for those in the junior s…
16 Jun 2024
Ferrari F430 v Lamborghini Gallardo v McLaren 650S v Audi R8: The best used mid-engined supercars
Affordable mid engined exotics
Group tests

Ferrari F430 v Lamborghini Gallardo v McLaren 650S v Audi R8: The best used mid-engined supercars

For most of us, owning a mid-engined supercar is the ultimate. And because of the numbers built in the last 20 years, the dream is more attainable tha…
16 Jun 2024
The Lamborghini Huracán replacement will get a 10,000rpm flat-plane crank V8 
Lamborghini V8 to replace V10
News

The Lamborghini Huracán replacement will get a 10,000rpm flat-plane crank V8 

The iconic Lamborghini V10 is no more, but its upcoming eight-cylinder successor will pack hybrid drive and a 10,000rpm redline
20 May 2024
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Lotus Elise S2 v Toyota MR2 Mk3 v Porsche Boxster S 987: The best affordable mid-engined sports cars
Used mid-engined bargains
Group tests

Lotus Elise S2 v Toyota MR2 Mk3 v Porsche Boxster S 987: The best affordable mid-engined sports cars

Everyone should own a mid-engined car at least once in their life, and the S2 Elise, Mk3 MR2 and 987 Boxster S are brilliant places to start
15 Jun 2024
McLaren Artura Spider 2024 review – Ferrari 296 rival just got a whole lot better
McLaren Artura Spider
Reviews

McLaren Artura Spider 2024 review – Ferrari 296 rival just got a whole lot better

More power, comprehensive chassis updates and a new Spider model has resulted in McLaren’s Artura being impossible to ignore for those in the junior s…
16 Jun 2024
Ferrari F430 v Lamborghini Gallardo v McLaren 650S v Audi R8: The best used mid-engined supercars
Affordable mid engined exotics
Group tests

Ferrari F430 v Lamborghini Gallardo v McLaren 650S v Audi R8: The best used mid-engined supercars

For most of us, owning a mid-engined supercar is the ultimate. And because of the numbers built in the last 20 years, the dream is more attainable tha…
16 Jun 2024