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520kW Hennessey ‘Vette ready to rock

By: IOL Motoring Staff

Sealy, Texas - Only three months after John Hennessey's nitrous-injected HPE600 twin-turbo Corvette ran 323km/h (200 miles per hour in the old language) on Texas State Highway 99, this is the promised HPE700 customer version.

And it delivers its 520kW (707 horsepower, hence the name) without benefit of laughing gas - or any other chemical enhancement.

The heart of the HPE700 is a pair of precision-engineered 62mm turbochargers delivering 0.5 bar of boost pressure through handcrafted, mandrel-bent tubular stainless-steel manifolds and a TIG-welded aluminium intercooler with two pop-off valves to help keep the turbos spooled up at small throttle openings.

The HPE700 Twin Turbo Stingray delivers 520kW at 6400 revs and 900Nm through either a seven-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. With optional 20" drag radial tires, it'll hit 100km/h from a standing start in just 2.9 seconds and blow through the quarter mile in 10.5 seconds at a terminal speed of 217km/h.

Top speed is estimated at more than 335km/h - significantly faster than even the nitrous-boosted HPE600.

POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT CONTROL

Hennessey's carbon-fibre front splitter, side sills and rear lip spoiler deliver the downforce and traction is provided by 10-spoked Hennessey H10 forged monobloc rims and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, reducing rotational mass and unsprung weight by 8.5kg over the Z51 Package wheels.

At a turn-key price tag of nearly $120 000 (R1.33 million) including the base Corvette Stingray with 3LT and Z51 factory options, the HPE700 Twin Turbo isn't cheap but, considering that it delivers straight-line performance on a par with the Lamborghini Aventador and McLaren MP4-12C, it's not outrageous either.

Only 24 HPE700 Twin Turbo Corvettes will be built for the 2014 model year, making it not only the quickest but also one of the most exclusive 'Vettes on the road.

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