Former Michelin test driver breaks 270mph in Hennesy Venom

On 14 February 2014 Brian Smith unofficially broke the production car land speed record with a 270.49mph run on Florida’s Space Shuttle landing runway, according to Top Gear magazine. Before now the fastest was the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which managed 269.86mph on the Ehra-Lessien test track in 2010.

According to the official VBox figures, the Venom – powered by a 1244bhp, 7.0-litre twin-turbo GM-sourced V8 engine – accelerated from 20mph to 120mph in just 7.71 seconds. And what’s more, the driving was done by someone with experience of the tyre industry:

“At the very top end, there was a little wandering, but hey, we’re going 270mph!” says the former Michelin tyre test engineer. It was still pulling. If we could run on an eight-mile oval, we could go faster than that…”

Which meant Smith had to get hard on the brakes after clocking 270mph. The Venom decelerated from its v-max to 70mph in just under 1000 metres, which might sound a long way but, when you consider it was covering over 120 metres every second at its quickest, is a mighty impressive feat.

The only problem is that the Veyron Super Sport is still the official record holder because for a Guinness speed record, a car must make two runs, one in either direction, with the two top speeds averaged out for the official time.

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