Back in 2014, Hennessey Performance sent its Lotus-based Venom GT soaring down a runway at 270 miles per hour before claiming to have built the world’s fast production car. Not everyone acknowledged Hennessey’s claim, however, as it didn’t average the Venom GT’s top speed from two runs in opposite directions, and with so few examples built, it didn’t meet the Guinness World Records’ criteria for a production car. But Hennessey’s record-setting aspirations didn’t die with its reputation, and on Tuesday, the company revealed its long-hyped successor to the Venom GT: The Venom F5.
Named after the most destructive class of tornado, the Venom F5 is a hypercar hand-built on a carbon fiber tub from KS Composites in Britain. Hennessey told Car and Driver that the first example was finished in Britain, but that the remainder of the 24-unit production run will be assembled at a new facility in Sealy, Texas, where the performance shop will mate that composite tub to a twin-turbo V8 it calls “Fury.”
According to Top Gear, this 6.6-liter power plant is derived from the General Motors small-block V8, though every component has been altered using knowledge gleaned from drag racing. Just short of its 8,200-rpm redline, the Fury is said to produce 1,817 horsepower, or 67 more than America’s other speed record-aspiring hypercar—the SSC Tuatara. In addition to sharing a raison d’être, both hypercars seem to share a transmission, as each utilize a CIMA-supplied single-clutch, seven-speed automatic, though presumably with different gear ratios at a minimum.
In the Hennessey, though, this transmission has to contend with markedly less torque—just 1,193 pound feet—though it’s still supposedly enough to light up the tires through the first four gears. Traction control notwithstanding, that is, because with it on, Hennessey claims the 3,053-pound Venom F5 can exploit its Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires to rocket from zero to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, and hit 124 after only another 2.1. According to “early simulations,” zilch to 250 is claimed to take only 15.5 seconds, more than twice as fast as the Bugatti Chiron, and seven seconds quicker than the Koenigsegg Regera. And with enough flat ground in front of it, Hennessey says, the Venom F5 will hit a record-breaking 311.
If you’ll remember the last time anyone claimed paradigm-shifting performance of this caliber, they did so for a vaporware sports car claimed to hover, during a presentation that also promised “Full Self-Driving.” Hennessey’s world-beating claims should be taken with a similarly tall spoonful of salt until it puts its them to the test in the spring 2021, when it will return to Kennedy Space Center’s 3.2-mile runway for a crack at the top speed record. If it fails, John Hennessey says he’ll try for the record on a closed highway like Koenigsegg and SSC did for their respective attempts.
And closed the highway will have to be, as the Venom F5 has no airbags, will not be federally homologated, and will be sold in the United States with “show and display” titles, as John Hennessey told Car and Driver. It’s a bit surprising to hear they’ve sold as many as 14, with a base price of $2.1 million at that.