VENTURI or Venturi Automobiles is a French manufacturer of sports cars born under the name of MVS (Manufacture de Voitures de Sport / sport car manufacture). From the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s they built mid-engined coupés and roadsters with turbocharged PRV engines and Renault gearboxes. Engine power ranged from 210 to 260 PS (190 kW) for the Atlantique series. A limited edition 400 GTR was built for racing homologation requirements, and later used in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Venturi was also briefly involved with the Larrousse Formula 1 team. The team's 1992 car, which bore the Venturi name, was designed and built by Venturi Larousse UK, a British company formerly known as Fomet 1, which had previously designed the 1991 Fondmetal Formula One cars.
Venturi Automobiles was created as France's answer to Italy's Ferrari. The first Venturi came out in 1984, created by Claude Poiraud and Gérard Godfroy, two former engineers at Heuliez. The goal was to present the only “Grand Tourisme” French car capable of competing with the French Bugatti, the Italian Ferrari, and the German Porsche. The headquarters of the company were located in the Pays de Loire in Coueron (44) where almost 700 cars were produced in 20 years.
The 400 GT remains one of the best performing French cars ever produced, and it is in fact the very first car in the world to have standard carbon brakes. True to that claim the Atlantique 400GT with a 400 PS (290 kW) V6 delivered excellent performance to put it on par with Ferraris of the early 90s. The 400GT could hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and 300 km/h (190 mph) top speed, while the 300GT with a 310 PS (230 kW) V6 did 4.9 seconds to 100 km/h (62 mph) and went all the way to 180 mph (290 km/h).
High level competition has also brought fame to the brand. Venturi was at the origin of the memorable “Venturi Gentlemen Drivers Trophy”, which gathered an impressive array of 75 drivers. Venturi has also won fame through its brilliant performances in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, particularly in 1993 with Christophe Dechavanne and Jacques Laffite on Venturi Jaccadi team, and in 1995 with Paul Belmondo racing on the 600 SLM.
However it is in the BPR Global GT Series races that Venturi established its pedigree defeating Porsche and Ferrari on several occasions. In 1994 in Dijon-Prenois, with Ferté and Neugarten on the 600 LM Jaccadi, at the 1000 km of Paris with Henri Pescarolo and Jean-Claude Basso on the 600 LM, and finally at the 4 Hours Spa race, once again with Michel Ferté and Michel Neugarten.
In 2001 the Monegasque millionaire Gildo Pallanca Pastor bought Venturi and decided to focus on electric powered engine, leading to the Fétish model. More recent models are the Eclectic, the world's first energy-autonomous vehicle, a low speed vehicle which has solar panels, a built in wind charger, and can be plugged in and the Astrolab, the world's first solar-electric hybrid car.
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