Breaking records is a very human condition and the reason the Guinness Book of Records exists but, down Texas way a new, unofficial record has been set for the fastest Christmas tree.
Hennessey, the Texas-based hypercar manufacturer and high-performance vehicle creator, has attained a new unofficial holiday record, having driven its Venom 1000 Mustang GT500 to a velocity of 307 km/h with an illuminated Christmas tree strapped to the roof.
Based on the most powerful factory-produced Mustang of all time, the stock Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 boasts a hand-built supercharged 5,2-litre V8 with a 2,65-litre Roots-type supercharger nestled on top.
Hennessey’s Texas team upgrades the iconic pony car with a high-flow induction system, new fuel rails and injectors, and an air/oil separation system. In addition, fittings, lines, belts, and tensioners are upgraded, and the dual-clutch transmission is recalibrated for its high-output role.
The result is the Venom 1000 Mustang GT500, which is rated at 745 kW and 1 156 Nm on 93 octane pump fuel.
Piloted by professional race car driver Spencer Geswein under clear blue Texas skies with temperatures in the mid-50s, the road-legal Venom 1000 Mustang GT500 achieved the record speed on the closed circuit without drama.
This is despite the significant additional drag (and holiday cheer) produced by a festal light-adorned evergreen. The vehicle was not altered explicitly for the run, except for removing the factory under hood ‘rain tray’ to improve airflow.
John Hennessey, company Founder and CEO, says: “Our annual ‘Christmas Tree Run’ serves two roles for our growing company. First, testing our performance at a proving grounds is a great opportunity to validate our engineering – the Venom 1000 delivers impressive numbers. Second, adding the seasonal twist allows our hard-working team to end the year with some high-speed fun before they slow down and enjoy their families for the holidays.”
The ‘Christmas Tree Run’ has become a Hennessey tradition, with the team carefully choosing the proper pairing between vehicle and evergreen – if nothing else than to ensure needle stripping speeds.
In 2017, the company used a 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody to take a tree to 280 km/h – establishing a benchmark. The number was broken in 2019 when its HPE1000 Jeep Trackhawk hit 291 km/h with a hapless Douglas Fir strapped on its roof rails and last year, Hennessey cracked 294 km/h with a tuned Audi RS 6 Avant (borrowed from John Hennessey’s wife!) with a fresh Christmas tree tied to its roof.