02 May Hennessey Venom GT’s World Record Run Featured in “Breaking Barriers” Primetime Documentary
Sealy, Texas—Brian Smith, driver of the Hennessey Venom GT on that memorable February day at Kennedy Space Center, was concise and to the point as company founder John Hennessey and CEO Don Goldman sprinted over and knelt by the Venom GT’s open window. Moments before, the Venom GT had rocketed down the Shuttle Landing Facility’s runway, tearing a hole in the atmosphere at roughly four times the speed of typical traffic on the Interstate. Brian loosened his harness, popped his helmet’s visor and said what we wanted to hear: “Two seventy.”
Two simple words, words that were the culmination of years of unwavering vision, dogged dedication, development, testing, and burning midnight oil by the 55-gallon drum. We’d set the world speed record for production cars of 270.49 mph and joined a very special brotherhood, the likes of which include speed record icons such as SoCal Speed Shop’s Alex Xydias, Bonneville legend Craig Breedlove and driver of the supersonic Thrust SSC, Andy Green. Now, through a Pennzoil-sponsored documentary, our efforts and theirs are brought to life in vivid detail.
“Breaking Barriers” tells the story of the people behind the speed, provides insight into their personalities and will give viewers a new appreciation for what goes into record attempt, from the earliest days of motoring through 1950s’ hot rodding to the cutting-edge efforts of today. The documentary, co-produced by MediaCom and the Bandito Brothers (the group that brought filmgoers the recently released “Need For Speed,” and 2012’s No. 1 box office hit “Act of Valor”), premieres on the National Geographic Channel on May 7, at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST & PST (check your local listings). The Bandito Brothers, hailed as the action-adventure studio of the future, capture the personalities and machines in an immersive film-making style that draws the viewer into the experience.
Country music superstar Tim McGraw narrates the documentary, bringing the TV special to life through his unique patriotic perspective and love of cars. “Throughout history, there are lots of examples of those who dreamt big and risked it all to break down barriers,” said McGraw. “This documentary takes a look at some of those regular people turned icons who blazed trails as they evolved automotive machinery throughout history.”
Said John Hennessey: “Achieving the world record has been a collective dream of ours, and we’re thrilled to have it documented in ‘Breaking Barriers.’ Not only did we end up with a record, but also a better car and better team. Imagine what we are capable of next.”
“We all knew the Venom GT was capable of getting the number,” said Don Goldman. “The hard part was finding a runway long enough to get the job done. We can’t thank the Kennedy Space Center and Power Performance Racing enough.”
The documentary was inspired by the launch of Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus™ Technology, the new line of synthetic motor oils made from natural gas that can be found in every Hennessey vehicle built today. Pennzoil wants to recognize automotive icons that share the brand’s undying passion for knowledge, advancement and love of cars that led to this innovation in motor oil.
About Hennessey® Performance Established in 1991, Hennessey® Performance (HPE) now operates from a new facility comprised of a 36,000 square foot building that is located adjacent to Lonestar Motorsports Park, the company’s test track and IHRA sanctioned ¼ mile dragstrip. The 143-acre complex is located about 45 minutes west of Houston, Texas along Interstate 10. Hennessey® offer a wide variety of dyno-proven, track-tested parts for modern performance vehicles. In addition, Hennessey® operates Tuner School, the world’s first fully state-licensed school dedicated to teaching and training future performance vehicle tuners.