The transcontinental battle of speed continues, relentlessly gathering pace. In this David versus Goliath battle the Volkswagen backed Bugatti Veyron is being challenged by a family run American performance car manufacturer Hennessey and his Venom GT. Both challengers fighting for the tittle ‘The World’s Fastest Production Car’.
Both competitors represent a new breed of car, the new pinnacle of humanities four wheeled obsessions are now being led by a new breed of sports car, the Hypercars. With over 1,000bhp and top speeds in approaching 450 kph hypercars are the new kings of high speed cars.
With the industrial might of Volkswagen behind it the Bugatti Veyron Super Sports was able to capture the crown at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany in 2010, setting a blistering 431kph (267 mph) record top speed. With an 8 liter W16 engine, four turbo chargers and enough computing power to keep an F22 in the air the Veyron is the high speed high tech champion.
Giant slayer Hennessey has been working for a number of years to mount an assault on the record. The weapon of choice for Mr. Hennessey’s endeavor is no mere pebble mind you, instead the Venom GT is liquid high speed in motion. A modern day Shelby Cobra the Venom is based on a Lotus Exige chassis with American muscle under the bonnet. This is Hennessey’s specialty, American big block muscle that produce extreme amounts of horsepower. 1244 horses (925 kw) in this case from the 7 liter twin turbo V8.
Hennessey’s high speed run in Feb 2013 came up 3 kph short of the world record, reaching 428 /265.7 mph. Limited only by the length of the runway (2.9 miles) at Lemoore Naval Air Station in California, Hennessey is now looking for a longer expanse of open road.
After this latest high speed run the record remained just out of Hennessey’s reach, instead quietly fading away till his next high speed run Hennessey played a surprise card. Cheerfully pointing out that the 2010 Bugatti high speed run was illegitimate as the electronic speed limiter of the production car had been disabled. Being the fastest production car record it is fairly essential that the record breaking car be exactly the same as the product people drive off the lot.
Guinness returned to the pub to scratch their heads for a week, consulting the rule book. For that short week Hennessey was the fastest game in town. The record was eventually reinstated, with Guinness stating that the disabling of the speed limiter wasn’t a change to the cars fundamental design or engine.
Bugatti is not going to idly sit by while Hennessey steals its crown, the Veyron may still have a few tricks left up its sleeve. At this week’s Shanghai Motor Sow the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Word Record Edition (WRC) was released. Back in the labs Bugatti continues to experimenting with larger turbo chargers, Bugatti may still have more power available in the big W16.
Can Hennessey find his stretch of road? How long will Bugatti let Hennessey wear the crown? Here at Highpants all we can be sure of is that the high speed wars are heating up.