Texan Exige promises 420km/h
Controversial Texan tuner John Hennessey has started revealing details (and a shadowy image) of his Exige based Venom GT supercar.
6.2l twin-turbo V8
533-, 735-, 882kW
Despite missing a promised Geneva motor show deadline for the Venom GT unveiling, Hennessey says the project is now on track for a public debut at the New York car show during the first week of April.
The Hennessey Venom GT is based on a Lotus Exige’s chemically bonded tub chassis – which has been lengthened by 300mm and widened by half that. Why stretch the fundamentally perfect Exige chassis dimensions?
Well, Hennessy is Texan and in true Lone Star State style he’s optioned for a Corvette LS9 6.2l twin-turbo V8 to power the Venom GT. The generously dimensioned V8 was hardly going to fit into the stock RunX RSI sized Exige engine bay, so the increase in chassis size was inevitable...
Space shuttle power to weight ratio
Why one would need an engine three times the size of the stock Exige’s is unfathomable to most, yet Hennessey’s reputation has been built on outragous power upgrade conversions for American muscle cars.
Featuring suitable engine upgrades the Venom GT’s 6.2l twin-turbo V8 will be offered in three states of tune – 533-, 735- and 882kW. After factoring in the V8’s added mass burden and larger chassis the Venom GT should still only tip the scales at slightly more than 1t. Performance (unsurprisingly) promises to be epic.
Hennessey says the performance goals for Venom GT are a 2.2 second benchmark 0-100km/h sprint and 420km/h top speed.
To facilitate the rather swift latter statistic Hennessey’s employed some of the best (British) F1 aerodynamicists to refine the Venom GT’s surfacing in an attempt to guarantee expert high-speed airflow management and stability.
Hennessey's workshop just outside Houston, Texas. Many customers get their cars back (finally) with rather substandard power increases...
Pure marketing or pure performance?
With no details concerning the Venom GT’s transmission or differential we’re quite sceptical as to how close it will actually get to the projected 2.2 second 0-100km/h time. Undoubtedly it possesses the power to statistically get past 400km/h, yet many aftermarket tuners try to broach this hallowed number and fail.
Factor in John Hennessey’s litigious history (he’s been sued numerous times for breaking up customers cars and selling the parts, especially Dodge Vipers) in the aftermarket tuning industry and we’ll reserve judgement until the Venom GT actually runs some big numbers.
Industry insiders believe Hennessey’s decision to add his brand of suicidal V8 forced-induction tuning to a decidedly European performance car platform, such as the Exige, is evidence of a growing discontent with his business dealings (and shrinking demand for Hennessey tuning services) Stateside.
Whether a ludicrously overpowered long-wheel base Exige will actually find traction in the market amongst European enthusiasts remains to be seen…
Hennessey promises high resolution images of the Venom GT will flood the on-line environment shortly before the start of the New York car show.