Does Being The Fastest Car In The World Meaning Anything Anymore?


Does anyone really care at this point?

Hennessey Performance is one of the craziest, most insane tuning companies on the planet. The term bigger is better reigns true with every one of Hennessey’s vehicles as the automaker constantly finds new ways to tune some of the most powerful cars to insane levels. Its craziest car, however, is the Hennessey Venom GT, which also happens to be the fastest production car in the world. The drop-top Venom GT is also the world's fastest convertible. While the Venom GT is an impressive supercar, does being the fastest car in the world matter any longer?

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In the old days, two or even three automakers were perpetually in a heated battle for the title of having the fastest car in the world. One automaker would come out with the fastest car in the world and another would one up the vehicle by making a car that was slightly quicker. This happened with two of the greatest supercars of all time—the Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40. When the 959 came out in 1986, it was the fastest car in the world. The supercar’s 2.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six put out 444 hp helped the 959 get to a top speed of 197 mph. Thanks to its incredible engine, the 959 edged out the Ferrari 288 GTO to become the fastest car in the world. However, the supercar’s reign at the top of the hill didn’t last very long.

After just one year of holding the title the 959 was bested by the F40. Powered by a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V8, the 478-hp supercar boasted a top speed of 201 mph. The Jaguar XJ220 would eventually beat the F40’s top speed and the cycle continued on for years...until the Bugatti Veyron showed up. There have been many variants of the Veyron, but none are as fast as the Super Sport. With its 1,200-hp 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16, the Super Sport became the fastest car in the world at 268 mph. No one thought that another automaker would beat that blistering speed as the Veyron pushed the envelope for what was possible. But then the Hennessey Venom GT reared its powerful head.

Unlike the ultra luxurious Veyron, the Venom GT is a red-blooded supercar whose sole purpose was to become the fastest car in the world, which it did. With a lightweight Lotus Elise chassis and a 1,244-hp 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8, the Venom GT sprinted to 270.4 mph and claimed the title. With the Bugatti Chiron expected to be the fastest car in the world, I’m sure Hennessey will be back to try and reassert itself as king, but times have changed. But enthusiasts no longer pledge loyalty to the fastest car in the world as supercars are about much more these days. It's not just brutal speed anymore. Lap times, exterior design and even technology-forward thinking are just as important.

In fact, some argue that being faster around a track commands more respect than being the quickest to drive down a straight line. Either way, Hennessey and Bugatti are in a match that’s reminiscent of times past and there can only be one victor. But unlike in the past you've got to wonder if the reward for being the world's fastest car is worth anything outside of temporary bragging rights.

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