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Deadly Venom: Is Top Speed Really That Important?

The Hennessey Venom GT

The Hennessey Venom GT

For anyone who is a true petrol head, questioning the importance of top speed in the modern world will most likely come across as hideously blasphemous. Many may even liken it to asking a lover of decent curry if spice is really that important. You might even end up with a face full of curry, and no one wants that, do they? However, with the latest hypercar news hitting the news stand that the Bugatti Veyron may have finally been overthrown by the mighty Hennessey Venom GT I have decided to ask the big one.

The 1244bhp American god machine has set a physics bending top speed of 270.49mph on the runway of the Kennedy Space Centre. The previous record had been set by the Bugati Veyron Super Sport which clocked 269.86mph on the Ehra-Lessien test track back in 2010. While watching Top Gear back in the day when the Veyron was first released, they argued that in terms of the automotive world, we had found our ‘Concorde moment’, and with all the developments in green motoring, that we would never see anything as exciting in our lifetimes. Looks like they were wrong.

Let us compare the statistics here shall we:

Bugatti Veyron:

  • 8 litre, 16 cylinder engine
  • 1,183 BHP
  • 0-62mph: 2.5 seconds
  • 0-186mph: 15 seconds
  • Top Speed: 269.86 mph
Bugatti Veyron SS

Bugatti Veyron SS. Image Credit: Top Gear

Hennessey Venom GT:

  • 7 litre twin-turbo GM-Sourced V8 engine
  • 1,244 BHP
  • 20mph – 120mph: 7.71 seconds
  • 120mph – 220mph: 10 seconds
  • 260mph – 270mph: 10 seconds
  • Top Speed: 270.49mph

Looking at the pictures of the Venom GT, is it just me or does the car look like it has taken inspiration from the Lotus Elise? I guess it is in much the same way as Jaguar have started sculpting their cars in a similar way to that of Aston Martin. You could indeed criticize this decision and call the styling lazy. You could. But, when you are basing your design on a downright beautiful treat for the eyes, can we really complain that much? Really?

Its figures like those that really do blow your mind beyond all levels of rationality and logic. Let me put it this way, by the time you have read aloud the 0-60mph times of these cars, the cars would both already be doing way over 60mph. It is almost literally something that happens in the blink of an eye. The world record for the 100m sprint for a human is around 9 seconds, and imagine how quickly that goes when you watch it. Well imagine this, at full pelt, the Venom GT is covering 120 metres… every second. So in the time it would take Usain Bolt to run 100m, the car would have blasted past 1km. Honestly, that says a lot about both the car and Usain Bolt.

There is however one problem, the Venom will not be entering the record books. Sadly, according to the Guinness World Record powers that be, for a car to qualify for the fastest road car, it must have at least 30 units produced and set an average over two runs of a specified course. Sadly, only 11 units of the Venom have been produced and it only went one way up the space station runway. Why only one way I hear you ask? For the answer to that you will have to ask the space men themselves. It took them 2 years to secure access to the facility, and when it came to it, they were only given permission to go one way. And no, I do not know why either.

In the UK especially, the road laws are becoming ever stricter and that little bit more annoying with the passing of each day. Some motorway speed limits are apparently being reduced to 60mph in some city areas for one example. Add this to all the restrictions on emissions and what not, and we are finding a situation where the only cars that seem to do well are hybrids and electrics.

This does beg the question, are top speeds and high performance all that important here in the 21st century?

On one side of the story, realistically speaking the only place that you can test the high end performance of any car is on the track. Firstly, there are not that many people that can afford performance cars as it is, let alone have the money to get the car to a track and pay for the cornucopia of track day aspects, whether its tyres or general repairs. Furthermore, the speed limit on most roads in the UK anyway is 70mph, which can be achieved in your average road going vehicle. Given that we are trying to become greener and cause less pollution (etc etc etc) it does make sense that the cars of choice should be hyper-efficient hybrids and electric cars, that give the owners the deluded belief that they are somehow fixing mother earth. But that is another story.

But then we get to the reality behind the question I have raised. In theory yes top speed is completely irrelevant in the modern motoring world. Yes, you could drive down a motorway or a country road in any car at 70mph, BUT you cannot deny that you would enjoy it much more if you were doing it in a Venom. Deny it all you want, but nothing compares to the thrill of driving in a car that was designed to get from A to B in the fastest and most enjoyable way possible. You may not be able to hit the top speed, but there is that same adrenaline, that same buzz and the same hairs on your neck. Would you rather hear the silent whir of your Prius or the pure animalistic raw of your V12 engine?

It is about pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The competition to use the same basic resources to come out with the best end result. If we do not push boundaries, we do not progress. If we stayed inside the box all our lives the excitement that we all take for granted would be absent in our lives. As much as some of you green readers may not want to admit it, we need these cars.

So yes, I do believe that top speed is important. It may not be about the realistic chances of you reaching that speed, but its knowing that you could that is the important thing. There is not any real chance that I will ever fly to the moon, but knowing that I could is really exciting and makes me appreciate just how mind blowingly awesome modern technology has become. And in much the same way as me reaching the moon, most of us will probably never own, drive or even see one of these cars in the flesh, but knowing that they exist and what they are capable of, that is what’s important. We still get excited, we still get that same passion, we will always love these cars.

Petrol-heads will never die.

Keep Driving People!

Follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69

Peace and Love!