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400 GT
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  Venturi 400 GT      

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Country of origin:France
Produced from:1994 - 1996
Numbers built:13
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 05, 2020
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the early 1990s, a very savvy Stéphane Ratel convinced fledgling sports car manufacturer Venturi to produce a competition car for a one-make series. Modelled after the successful Porsche Cup, the Venturi Trophy catered to Ratel's wealthy friends and/or customers, who were looking to race but not at a professional level. Known as the 400 Trophy or simply Trophy, the competition car proved a huge success and over 70 were built and sold between 1992 and 1994.

The company stepped up to the international plate in 1993 with an entry at Le Mans with a staggering 7 cars. Appropriately dubbed the 500 LM, the Venturi used was a further development of the Trophy car. Running in the GT class, the 500 LM had to be homologated, so Venturi set about creating a road legal car that the Le Mans was retro-actively based on. Known as the 400 GT, the new Venturi road car was a direct derivative of the one-make Trophy racer, and was aimed at the very top of the market.

Carried over from the Trophy was the same twin-turbo, Peugeot-based V6 engine, good for 408hp. Mated to a SADEV five-speed manual gearbox, this was mounted mid, longitudinally in a steel monocoque chassis. Suspension was by double wishbones at the front and a five-link setup at the rear. As a first on a production road car, the Venturi 400 GT was fitted with carbon ceramic disc brakes as standard. These were experimental brakes that had been developed by specialists Carbone Industrie.

On the outside, the 400 GT followed the lines of the Trophy and the 500 LM. The compact design featured slim headlights while the wide rear-end featured large intakes for the engine and radiator. On the lead edge of the engine cover, a full-width rear was fitted, which quickly prompted many to refer to the car as the French F40. What really set the car apart from the competition cars was the luxuriously upholstered interior. This could be finished either with wood panels or bare carbon-fibre ones.

In June of 1994, French racing legend Henri Pescarolo debuted the new Venturi 400 GT. It was priced at well over 800,000 Francs, which meant a 100,000 Francs premium over the Trophy. It proved difficult to find buyers for the car and when production ceased in 1996, only 13 were built. With its racing car derived chassis and brakes that only worked when they were hot, the 400 GT looked better on paper than it actually was on the road. It does remain the fastest French production car ever built.

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  Article Image gallery (9) VK8TRY61195CE0008 Specifications User Comments (5)