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Video: Jay Leno Gets His Hands On The 1,200-HP Hennessey Venom GT

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On: Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 3:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

Video: Jay Leno Gets His Hands On The 1,200-HP Hennessey Venom GT

I love days like today. Not only did I get to write about the incredible, if not entirely convincing, TranStar Dagger GT, I got to watch video of another incredible supercar: the Hennessey Venom GT. And I get paid all the while.

Jay Leno recently welcomed Hennessey's new power-monger to his garage. As Jay is accustomed to, he gives us a closer look at the car and hops inside to get a feel for that 1,200-hp grumble. If Jay Leno keeps giving us these great looks at exotic concepts and supercars (and I'm sure he will), I may grow to like that gravy-boat-chinned mug yet.

The Hennessey Venom GT is an unlikely force in the world of supercars: a Lotus Elise chassis stuffed full of Chevy's 6.2-liter LS9 V8 engine from the Corvette ZR1. And not just any LS9 engine, but a tuned twin-turbo version worth 1,200 horses. 1,200 horses and 2,700 lbs—designed from the ground up to maximize power to weight.

Not only does Leno give his own impressions of the car, he welcomes the mad scientist behind it—tuner-turned-supercar-maker John Hennessey—to his garage to explain how he came up with the project.

As Hennessey quips: "No apologies. We're not looking for comfort; we're looking for maximum performance...I kept looking at the Lotus Elise and Exige. We kind of joked about what if we put that engine in the back of that car. We laughed about it for a while. [Then] we did some sketches and I looked at the drawings and I thought: this looks like something we could do."

And so a fantasy turned to reality. Hennessey shoehorned the big V8 engine behind the Elise's two seats and developed a car with a claimed 2.5-second 0-to-60 mph time and 267 mph top speed. When it was first announced a couple years ago, a claimed 262 mph was enough to make it a world-record aspirant, but after Bugatti raised the bar to 268 mph, the Venom GT may be out of the running. It's clearly in the ballpark, but it will have to bring its biggest bat to the track to have a chance.

Hennessey brought the production Venom GT to the SEMA show in Las Vegas last month, marking its world auto show debut. Hennessey is still working on making the car U.S. street legal and will offer only 29 examples. It will cost $900,000.

You can watch Leno in his requisite denim shop shirt and jeans go through the details with Hennessey below:

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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