How long will it take a Katy worker to zoom past acres of newly paved prairie, over a now-uprooted prehistoric burial ground, and under EZ Tag toll sensors on a lunchtime jaunt to the outlet mall in Cypress? Maybe as quickly as 5 minutes, if the 200mph speed reached last week by driver John Hennessey in one of his company’s souped-up Corvettes on the 15-mile stretch of the Grand Parkway between I-10 and Hwy. 290 can be maintained. Of course, that might become a little more difficult once the new Prairie Tollway opens to slower-moving traffic for the first time this coming Saturday.
A state trooper was on hand last Wednesday to clock Hennessey Performance’s customized 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray doing 200.6 mph — a record for the vehicle — on the freshly poured but cleared track. (The muscle-car company has its headquarters on the I-10 frontage road in Sealy, a mere 33 miles west of the new Grand Parkway Segment E, also known as Texas State Hwy. 99.)
A helicopter hovered above to film the event (providing some dazzling glimpses of what a soon-to-be-crowded 4-lane highway cut through uninhabited land looks like from above), and officials from TxDOT, Texas DPS, and TransCore were hanging out too — nominally to test the cash-defying overhead sensors on the EZ Tag-only toll system. Once all the stunts are over, the actual speed limit on the Grand Parkway will be 80mph.
- Corvette Tops 200 MPH on Grand Parkway With Help of Sealy Company [News92FM]
- Hennessey C7 Corvette Runs 200 MPH on Texas Toll Road [YouTube]
- Grand Parkway coverage [Swamplot]
Video and stills: Hennessey Performance