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In the snakepit: XCAR visits Hennessey and the Venom GT (pictures)

XCAR happened to drop by Hennessey's shop in Southern California when two Venom GTs were in, one of which is the car that smashed the Veyron's top-speed record.

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Drew Stearne
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XCAR visited Hennessey's Southern California workshop on our three-week tour of the US.

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There were many special cars there...

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...including the Venom GT.

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And not just one Venom GT.

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Which was pretty exciting.

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The Venom GT is one of the most powerful cars in the world.

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It's based on a Lotus Exige, but it's heavily modified.

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Its wheelbase has been extended...

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...body widened...

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...and pretty much everything else has been changed too.

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It's powered by a 7.0-litre twin turbo V8.

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In all, it kicks out 1,244 horsepower.

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Handy -- because it weighs 1,244kg.

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Meaning it's 1:1 bhp:kg. In comparison, Koenigsegg is late to the party.

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0-60 mph takes 2.7 seconds.

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Hennessey doesn't only make the Venom GT. That's a 1,000bhp Ford GT.

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The guys at Hennessey added turbos to the already crazy engine.

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They didn't change the outside, though.

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Big power is kinda Hennessey's thing...

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John Hennessey, the company's founder, is a sucker for big numbers.

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He wants to be the fastest around.

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Hence the Venom.

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The Venom GT holds two world records: 0-186mph and 0-200mph.

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This GT is a company favourite.

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The Venom's top speed is 270.49mph.

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Though they reckon it'll go faster.

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In fact, it's not fast enough for Hennessey.

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No, they're making a more powerful car -- the F5.

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Hennessey tunes a number of cars -- there's a Ferrari 599 under that cover.

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The Venom's interior is still very much Lotus.

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No bad thing.

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Though it can be rather cramped. Perhaps the Venom isn't for long distance cruises?

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The acceleration is said to be "vicious".

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Manual 'box. Sweet.

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Just in case you forget what it is.

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Red is a... powerful colour choice.

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The small Hennessey badge will let the unenlightened know just what this thing is.

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Big engine is big.

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It's rare to see two of these together.

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This is quite a bonnet...

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