The sleek and sexy Hennessey Venom GT became a successful model in a very short time and Hennessey is hoping to repeat that success with an open top version of the same sports car. The new Hennessey Venom GT Spyder will be offered with a removable top and will only be produced in a limited run of five units, two of which have already been spoken for. Deliveries will begin in Summer 2012 and prices will start from $1.1 million, about $150,000 more than the Coupe’s top version.
The Venom GT Spyder will be powered by the same Chevrolet sourced V8 engine found in the Coupe with an output of 1,200 HP at 6,500 rpm and 1,155 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. Because of the added weight from the removable roof, performance numbers should be a tad bit slower than the Coupe, which sprints from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds and to 200 mph in 15.9 seconds, on its way up to a top speed of 275 mph. The engine will more than likely send its power to the rear wheels via a Ricardo 6-speed gearbox and handling will be facilitated by a KW variant three-adjustable coilover suspension.
As far as its design goes, the Venom GT Spyder will start off with the Lotus Elise base and will follow along the same extreme design lines as its Coupe sibling. We imagine it will also feature the same active aero system with adjustable rear wing that will deploy under varying conditions on both the road and racetrack.
"With the hardtop in place, the Venom GT offers a very visceral, raw, driving experience," said Hennessey CEO, Don Goldman. "With the hardtop removed, the wind and the growl of the twin turbo V8 will offer our clients an even greater driving sensation."
The 1,200 HP will make the Venom GT Spyder the most powerful convertible in the world. Will it also be the fastest? We believe it will, but Hennessey will have to keep that 275 mph top speed intact.
UPDATE 06/01/2012: Following the delivery of the first Venom GT Spyder to Steven Tyler, Hennessey has dropped a pretty impressive picture gallery for their Venom GT Spyder. Enjoy!
Okay, let’s do the math on Dany Bahar, the suspended CEO for Lotus, and see where we stand so far. First, he is generally regarded as an overall jackass by a large number of automotive media members. Secondly, he decided to rant on Facebook whining about us media folk speculating on the sale of Lotus and the failing company’s overall health. Lastly, he was “temporarily suspended” while an investigation for undisclosed reasons goes on.
The latter of these issues we thought was mostly tied into his general character combined with his child-like Facebook post. New details have come to the front that show his suspension is for far worse reasons than just a flame-post on a social media board. It turns out that Lotus has been footing the bill for Bahar to rent two houses, which is not uncommon for a CEO, but what is uncommon is a £375,000 ($589,000) builder’s bill for renovations to said rental house that was paid by Lotus.
Obviously Lotus shut off that leaky water valve at one point, leaving £92,000 ($144,450) of a builder’s bill unpaid, resulting in Bahar being taken to High Court, according to reports. So now this suspended CEO may be in for a little more than just jabs from us media folk as he may be in for some criminal charges, if he is found to have defrauded Lotus.
Then again, Bahar collecting his minimal pay package of £1.2 million ($1.48 million) after sending Lotus further into ruins since he took over in 2009 is fraud enough for us. So it looks like we are not quite done talking about Bahar yet and he will likely not go away quietly, given his loudmouth reputation. We will let you know the second we know more about this ongoing story.
As always, the Grand Prix of Monaco provided a fairly spectacular showing, likely one of the few in this year’s F1 series. As most would expect, Circuit de Monaco lap-time record holder and five-time winner, Michael Schumacher took the pole position, but officials forced him back five grid positions after he caused a collision during qualifying. With the technical nature of Monaco, that pole position is very important and Schumacher’s penalty was an ominous sign that this would not be a good race, as he retired due to fuel issues 63 laps in.
Schumacher’s penalty propelled Red Bull’s Mark Webber into the pole position. Webber held onto that pole position, despite a lead change during a pit stop, and took home the checkered flag on a rain-coated Circuit de Monaco. As we said in our preview of the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco, this race had some serious overall points influence, as the leaders were only separated by a few points each.
This victory for Webber places propels him up to a second place tie with Sebastian Vettel at 73 points and puts Fernando Alonso, who finished third, in the points lead at 76. An impressive run by Nico Rosberg placed him in second, just behind Webber, proving that his wide margin of victory in China was not just a one-time deal. This superb finish by Rosberg jumps him up two slots to fifth place overall.
From the looks of it, this season is shaping up to be a rather close points race with a few new faces near the top. Unfortunately, the leader board, for the most part, looks identical to the 2011 and 2010 seasons. The lack of parody in F1 has really been its Achilles heel in recent history. An overall points victory by Nico Rosberg would certainly be a push in the right direction for F1, so we’ll keep a close eye on his performance.
Click past the jump to see the complete placement board for the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco and the overall points standings. Full story
Typically the CEOs of big companies stay in the background and just keep the corporate wheels turning. Most CEOs also know that it is typically not a good thing when your name ends up in the papers just as often, if not more often, than the brand you are heading up. Well, Lotus CEO Dany Bahar must have a tough time comprehending the fact that no new is good news for a CEO.
It came to a head whenever DRB-HICOM purchased Proton, Lotus’s parent company, and inherited the Lotus money vacuum in the process. The media then took to speculating about the status of Lotus, given its new owner, and Bahar went on a teenage girl-like rampage via the worst possible medium, Facebook. That post still remains on the company’s page too.
At that point, we started speculating that Bahar’s time with Lotus may be limited, as DRB-HICOM really has no need for a moody CEO that can’t keep his company’s head above water. Apparently, we had our crystal ball working that day, as DRB-HICOM has announced that Bahar has been “temporarily suspended” following an operational review and a full investigation of Bahar’s actions will take place during his suspension. Several executives from DRB-HICOM will take Bahar’s place during his absence.
Well, I have been in the corporate world long enough to know that a “temporary suspension” during an “investigation” typically spell out “you’re fired once we find some dirt.” Rarely does a suspended employee ever return to their original position and few return at all, so we have a feeling that this will ultimately put an end to the drama of Dany Bahar. Looks like TopSpeed’s “Lotus” section is going to be dry for a while… At least until we get word that Dany is now managing a local McDonalds.
Rarely is something both the slowest and the hardest at the same time, but that all goes out the window when you’re talking about the Grand Prix at Monaco. For the majority of the F1 season, the drivers get to open up their cars a good bit. At Monaco, those chances to go wide open are limited to about three, as there are only a three extended straightaways on the track.
Besides those three straights, drivers get to deal with a plethora of intense twists and blind turns that require great care to negotiate correctly. These tight turns all amount to Monaco being the lowest average speed course on the F1 circuit, and arguably the hardest one on the circuit.
Well, the 70th running of this ultra-technical road course is due to start on May 27, 2012 and we’re going to provide a quick preview of what’s to come.
Click past the jump to read all about the Grand Prix at Monaco Full story
Sure, Lotus may be facing some incredibly tough times at the moment, but there’s no question that in the good times, the relatively small British marque produced some of the finest sports cars in the market. In fact, the Lotus Elise is often the benchmark for handling which others aim to replicate, and the Elise’s twin brother the Exige is no exception to that rule.
Not only has the Exige been transformed from its very first-generation, gaining power, weight, speed, and size, it still manages to maintain that unique Lotus flavor, and this is a point which is evident in the following review conducted by Chris Harris for the Drive network.
Before you check out the video, remember that while it’s an extreme version of the regular Exige, it’s nothing compared to the range-topping Evora GTE which is actually the most powerful production car ever produced by Lotus. That being said, the Exige S is still an extremely capable sports car with its supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine delivering no less than 350HP.
Combine that with extremely sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires and an overall weight of just over 2,200 pounds, and you have one of the finest sports cars on the market.
Here’s hoping that Lotus can sort itself out over the coming months as we can’t foresee a future without Lotus being an integral part of it.
Lotus Racing has announced the new Evora GTC that will compete in America’s Grand-Am road races: the Rolex Sports Car Series. The car will be driven by British drivers Richard Adams, David Green, and Martin Byford.
The new Evora GTC is based on the Evora GT4 from which it borrows most of the components. However, the GTC is a much lighter model thanks to its new carbon-fiber doors, roof, and engine cover in fiber glass, as well as Plexiglass windows. The car has also been equipped with traction control, BOSCH Anti-Lock Brakes, and a new set of 18" wheels mated to 27/65-18 tires at the front and 30/65-18s at the rear.
Under the hood, the Evora GTC gets the usual 4-liter V6 engine with an output of 450 HP and 324 lbs-ft of torque, linked to an XTRAC six-speed sequential paddle-shift.
"The GTC is quicker than the GT4 Enduro even though the Powertrain remains the same. We’ve managed to reduce the weight, and added ABS and traction control. Wider wheels mean customers now have a much greater selection of tyres they can use, the flared wheel arches accommodate this, which gives the car its visual definition and makes it look more muscular without hampering the aero," said Louis Kerr, senior motorsport engineer, Group Lotus.
Our favorite Youtube user, Marchettino, has managed to delight us one more time by attending the 2012 edition of the Top Marques Monaco to film all of the amazing vehicles in attendance. We have to admit the list of supercars is quite impressive.
For those who don’t know, the Top Marques is an important supercar show that brings together some of the most expensive and exclusive supercars, hypercars, and tuning projects every year. It’s kind of like Christmas for us auto journalists, but without the big, jolly guy giving one of these supercars to us as a present. This kind of Christmas comes with huge prices and tremendous power backing it up.
Our favorite from the entire list of vehicles in attendance this year is the Koenigsegg Agera R, but the list is much, much longer.
Hit the jump for a full list of the cars featured in the video and pick out your favorite! Full story
It’s going to take a while before Lotus finally drops the new generation Esprit on the market, but until then, the previous generation Esprit is still getting tons of attention. The V8 version produced between 1996 and 2004 delivered a total of 354 HP and was capable of hitting a top speed of 175 mph. It was limited to only 1237 units, and one of those units caught the attention of Cam Shaft.
The tuner started with tweaking the V8 engine, adding adjustable cases by Forge inside the turbo compressor pumps, a self designed compressor cooling system, and two 100-cell structure catalysts. As a result, the V8 engine now delivers a total of 492 HP and can hit an impressive top speed of 189 mph. The 0 to 60 mph sprint time has been improved, from the standard 4.9 seconds to 4.3 seconds.
The transmission is also new: the old 5-speed gearbox by Renault has been replaced by a new 6-speed Dog-Engagement gearbox equipped with a longer total ratio. The car was also equipped with a new breaking system for 350 sport models (from 2000 series) with AP racing 4-bucket device and perforated brake discs with a 330 mm diameter to match the speed-up.
With Lotus having to cease production completely for the past 60 days as a result of its sale from Proton and acquisition by DRB-Hicom, production has finally resumed. Fingers crossed; this could be the start of a much needed recovery for the ailing brand.
Even though we knew production would resume eventually, we are very surprised that it’s happened so soon, especially after reports surfaced just days ago that DRB-Hicom was already looking for a Chinese buyer to take Lotus off their hands.
Up to this point, Lotus has more than $316 million in debts and in order for these debts to be overcome, Lotus has to decrease production costs significantly and increase output. If these two strategies cannot be met, then we can’t see how Lotus can be a viable business in the future.
Autocar is reporting that production will restart at the beginning of May, when Lotus hopes to pump out no less than 44 cars weekly with the Elise, Exige, and Evora all being produced yet again. The most exciting news to come out of this revelation however, is that development of the upcoming Esprit supercar should resume including development of the brand new V-8 engine it’ll feature. This new V8 is being developed completely in-house and will deliver between 550 - 570 HP.
Finally, Dany Bahar confirmed that DRB-Hicon is not actually looking to sell the flailing brand off to the Chinese stating, “It’s just not true,” he says. “There is no fire sale, no selling process and no bidding. If there were, lots of strange people would be here doing inspections and due diligence, but there is nobody. Besides, I have no authority to sell the company. That’s a job for the shareholders. I am just an employee.”