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Special Venom celebrates 432km/h run

Sealy, Texas - It may be unofficial but it's worth celebrating: Hennessey is building a limited run of just three World's Fastest Edition Venom GTs to commemorate its recent top speed run of 432.64km/h, set at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Valentine's Day, 14 February.

It's unofficial because the FIM defines a world speed record as the average of two runs in opposite directions, both completed within an hour, and a production car as one of at least 30 units - the Venom GT only did one run, and Hennessey has restricted production of the Venom GT to 29 cars, only 11 of which have already been delivered.

Hennessey Venom GT Worlds Fastest Edition celebrates 423kmh run at Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Nevertheless, any street-legal car that can hit 460km/h in a straight line is pretty impressive, and the Venom GT does hold one Guinness World Record: it's the quickest street-legal car from 0-300km/h, with an official time of just 13.63 seconds.

HOW'D THEY DO THAT?

The old-fashioned way, with a massive V8, squeezed to within an inch of its life, in the lightest possible body.

Like all Hennessey creations the Venom GT starts life as something else - in this case a 3.5-litre Lotus Exige.

Into the back of this dinky little aluminium and carbon-fibre coupe - so small that you don't so much get in as put it on - Hennessey shoehorns a 427 cubic inch (6995cc - that's a teaspoon short of seven litres, Cyril) General Motors LSX V8 crate engine with a cast-iron block, aluminium heads and dual precision ball-bearing turbochargers, mated to a British Ricardo six-speed manual transmission.

The whole car weighs just 1244kg and, as set up by Hennessey Performance Engineering, delivers 928kW at 6600 revs, backed by 1566Nm at 4400rpm, for a power-to-weight ratio of 746kW per ton.

PATRIOTIC COLOURS

The engine is redlined at 7200rpm and John Hennessey reckons that, given a long enough straight, the Venom GT will hit a theoretical maximum speed of 447km/h.

He said: "The Venom GT broke 270mph on the same runway where the Space Shuttle landed at the Kennedy Space Centre.

"We wanted to offer a special paint scheme that would incorporate the colours of the American flag - the same flag we flew on the Space Shuttle runway. Thus, our special livery package includes a body in white with red and blue stripes."

He makes no mention of any other features, so we must assume the World's Fastest Edition is mechanically unchanged. Nevertheless, even at $1.25 million (R13.4 million) each, $250 000 (R2.7 million) more than the standard Venom GT, the three examples to be built have already been sold.

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