Video: What it's like hitting 220 mph on the new Texas highway
Supercar tuner John Hennessey gets the ticket of a lifetime on the nation's fastest highway.
John Hennessey did just that, on a stretch of Texas highway with the nation's fastest-ever speed limit. The new 41-mile extension of Texas SH 130, which opened to the public on Wednesday, allows speeds of up to 85 mph.
Hennessey, a tuner who regularly injects Vipers, Camaros and other sports cars with Armstrong levels of steroids, was way over 85. With the highway closed and an approving nod from the lieutenant governor, Texas State Police clocked his 1,226-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V Coupe at 220.5 mph.
The point, Hennessey says, was to help the Texas Department of Transportation test its license-plate toll readers (they picked up his tag at 180 mph). Of course, it was also a wild excuse to completely own an empty highway for a few hours and hurtle toward the horizon at nearly a football field per second. Check out the video below with test driver Brian Smith at the wheel (the first pass, with the camera standing on the shoulder, is terrifying).
"This was a win-win for our company as well as the state and TxDOT. I was amazed at how much our state officials wanted to help us," Hennessey told Jalopnik. "And in turn, we helped them, too. I am truly proud to be a Texan and from a state that has the best highway system in America."
Hennessey Performance, based in Houston, has a simple formula: bolt the biggest turbochargers onto the fastest production cars for sale. The company started modifying Vipers in the early 1990s and now sells tweaked AMG Mercedes, Ferraris, Mustangs and 805-horsepower Jeeps. Hennessey has bragged for years about beating the Bugatti Veyron, although his outrageous top speeds have never been verified, and he now sells the custom-built Venom GT, a stretched Lotus Exige with 1,244 horsepower and rear-wheel drive. So he's both certifiably insane and incredibly admired among power-hungry enthusiasts.
While Texas police laughed off Hennessey's stunt with a fake speeding ticket, something tells us they won't be smiling should anyone else try a repeat.
Hate to be the bump on the log here, but I should point out that there is always a chance of getting killed and that is especially true at 220mph. The only difference on a closed highway is that you are less likely to take out other people with you.
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