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Venturi Automobiles is a French manufacturer of sports cars born under the name of MVS (Manufacture de Voitures de Sport). The original company built high performance mid-engined sports cars, the most well known of which is the Venturi Atlantique, from 1984 until it declared bankruptcy in 2000.
The brand was purchased in 2001. It is now based in Monaco and builds extremely limited production electric vehicles.
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 Couëron, Pays de Loire, where almost 700 cars were produced in 20 years.
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 213 to 264 PS (194 kW) for the Venturi 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 One 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. 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 400 GT with a 408 hp (304 kW; 414 PS) V6 delivered excellent performance to put it on par with Ferraris of the early 90s. The 400 GT could hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and 291 km/h (181 mph) top speed, while the 300GT with a 314 PS (231 kW) V6 did 4.9 seconds to 100 km/h (62 mph) and went all the way to 171 mph (275 km/h).
High-level competition has also brought fame to the brand. Stéphane Ratel, who would later found the FIA GT Championship, was at the origin of the 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.