I’d like to express my opinion on something: I don’t believe that Hennessey make bona fide supercars. They are a tuning company so I wouldn’t say that they are a manufacturer. The Venom GT is, however, a moot point.
The Venom GT is a truly awesome supercar, but is it a bona fide supercar? By bona fide, I mean is it a true supercar? It has all the characteristics of a supercar: it has a classic supercar setup i.e. RWD, manual gearbox and mid-engined. One may say it’s a purist’s supercar. But what makes a true supercar? I believe that a true supercar has to be built by a manufacturer who has the intentions of building something completely new and original. Some may argue that Pagani and Koenigsegg’s early cars are no different to Hennessey’s Venom GT for example, they sourced their engines from other manufacturers (Pagani still do), but the truth is, Horacio Pagani and Christian von Koenigsegg did not start off with a vision to tune cars - they wanted to create and build the best supercar in the world. They started from scratch and designed and crafted and built the car from their minds. Koenigsegg makes pretty much every part of the car itself now including the engine and Pagani creates the most exquisite handcrafted parts of any supercar known to man. It may still source its engine from AMG, but it is especially made for them. They build their cars with precision and for them to be usable everyday, but to also give the driver a unique and exceptional experience every time they drive the car. The Venom GT does give you a special experience, but one that makes you feel like you’re in mortal danger every time you drive it. It is a unique experience, but I like to think of it as a road legal go-kart.
Now cast your mind back to Hennessey, John Hennessey clearly said that the Venom GT started off as an idea which was putting a 1000+hp engine in the back of a Lotus Exige. To me, this is exactly what the Venom GT is. It is not a bona fide supercar. Hennessey clearly went purely for extreme power-to-weight ratio and straight-line performance. Koenigsegg and Pagani, on the other hand, designed and engineered their cars to be driven around bends well, very well indeed. Pagani’s Zonda R still holds the fastest lap time around Nordschleife (6:47) for a road-based car. It may be a quasi-racing car but it is actually road legal in one province in China – fact. Going slightly off-topic here, so back to the question. So, Hennessey basically stick turbos on their cars and make them go fast. Sure the Venom GT may be their most original car yet, but I still don’t think it’s a bona fide supercar. They extended the Exige chassis to accommodate a Chevy engine and to make it more weight-distributed and it underwent thorough testing to make sure the car is reliable. Sure it may smoke a Bugatti Veyron in a straight line, but how reliable do you think it is at prolonged speeds of 250mph+? The Bugatti Veyron can easily maintain those speeds until its petrol and tyres wear out, but it also doesn’t shake about violently at those speeds either. The Venom GT looked quite unstable in its world record run (which Bugatti’s Veyron Super Sport was wrongly stripped of).
Can one argue that the Venom GT is not even a supercar? Maybe not, but I can perhaps make the submission seem a little more persuasive. What if I had an Audi TTRS and tuned the engine so that it went over 200+mph? I’m pretty sure that it would be just as quick as a supercar. Maybe if I extended the chassis and strapped two turbos, then it would definitely be in supercar territory. Who says it’s not a supercar? It might be front-engined, but so is the Ferrari F12berlinetta. It has AWD and a double-clutch as well which most supercars have nowadays. Get my point? This is really a moot point. Some of you may say it is a supercar and some of you may disagree. To me, it’s a tuned car. One thing’s for certain though – it’s not a bona fide supercar.
One last thing, Hennessey’s motto is: “making cars faster since 1991”. I think that sums it up nicely.
What’s your opinion?