What was supposed to be a three-way race for 300mph between a bunch of niche car makers hasn’t exactly panned out how we thought it would. For a start, Bugatti beat them all to the punch with a 304mph run in the Chiron Super Sport (albeit only in one direction), and although SSC claimed to have bettered that to a substantial degree with its Tuatara, the company soon backtracked after various issues were highlighted.
SSC says it will run again and with better data logging measures in place, but it’ll be vying for top speed honours against the Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut and this - the Hennessey Venom F5. Should be interesting.
You might wonder why this is news since the F5 Venom is a car we first saw some six years ago, but what you see here is the final production version. The front end doesn’t deviate a whole lot from the most recent F5 concept Hennessey revealed in 2017, but at the back, it’s all change. It’s been almost completely restyled, and there’s now a much higher-level quad-exit exhaust arrangement.
Unlike the Venom GT, which was a bastardised Lotus Exige powered by an extensively modified 7.0-litre GM LS7 V8, the F5 is a bespoke creation. It’s based around a carbon fibre monocoque weighing just 86kg, clad in carbon body panels for a total dry figure of 1360kg.
The ‘Fury’ V8 powering this relatively light package is a 90-degree push-rod engine with a cross-plane crankshaft. The LS7 is used as a starting point, but the cast-iron block and aluminium cylinder heads are new. The piston stroke has been reduced, dropping the displacement to 6.6 litres.
This makes for a higher redline, with the Fury able to spin up to 8500rpm. A mixture of aluminium, titanium and Inconel parts are used for the internals and the top end. Providing boost is a pair of bespoke ball-bearing turbochargers with 3D printed compressor housings.
All of this makes for 1782bhp (1817hp) at 8000rpm, and 1193lb ft of torque at 5500, all sent to the rear wheels. You’re looking at 0-62mph in 2.6 seconds, 0-124mph in 8.4, and 0-249 in 15.5. Cripes. Hennessey has listed all the ratios for the CIMA single-clutch gearbox, with the 0.675 seventh gear giving a theoretical top speed of 334mph.
The company’s target is 311mph, which it intends to top in “an independently-verified speed record attempt with our two-way run logged by Racelogic engineers”. It’ll do this first at the same Nasa Shuttle Landing Facility runway it ran the Venom GT a few years back. If the 3.2-mile strip isn’t long enough for the F5 to give its all, Hennessey will continue to test on closed public roads. We suspect this will involve a certain section of highway in Nevada you might have seen a couple of other hypercars use.
The Texan firm insists the F5 is more than just a straight-line missile, though. It’ll apparently offer “more bandwidth” than the average hypercar, and be quite happy being piloted on “sweeping rural roads”. Five driving modes - Sport, Track, Drag, Wet, and the full-power ‘F5’ setting - should help the driver tailor it for the task in hand. On the suspension front, the car gets double wishbones front and rear plus Penske dampers.
Helping transmit that staggering power output to the road will be vast 345/30/20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s at the rear, with 265/35/19s at the front. Hennessey says the French tyre firm will test the tyres “to ensure they can withstand the speeds and loads that the car will generate”. (Edit: we’ve since been told by a Michelin UK representative that the company currently has “no official involvement” on any future speed record attempts with the car, but we’ll update if that information changes).
Inevitably, the F5, which takes its name from the highest category of tornado on the Fujita scale, is rather expensive. It’s $2.1 million before local taxes and shipping are taken into account. Hennessey won’t have to find many people willing to stump up that figure, though - just 24 will be made.