Hennessey Venom F5: America’s rocket ship supercar promises to crack 300-plus mph
It’s been three years since Hennessey Performance Engineering revealed a rather detail-lacking prototype version of the Venom F5, but we have to give the company credit because on Tuesday the Texas-based tuner revealed what it calls the final production car. And here it is in all its glory. Yep, it even has an interior.
It also checks off basically any modern supercar’s must-have list. Carbon fiber chassis? Yes. A massive engine with forced induction? You know it. Aerodynamics sculpted to pursue speed? You bet. For HPE, it’s the culmination of loads of work to bring founder John Hennessey’s vision to life, and if the company has its way, it’ll be the fastest production car in the world with a promised top speed of over 311 mph. HPE thinks it can do 334 mph, but it doesn’t plan to try.
Details. You want ’em, we have ’em. Let’s start with power because there’s a whole lot of it. The rear-mounted, bespoke twin-turbo 6.6-liter “Fury” V8 engine scoffs at other performance cars as it cranks out 1,817 horsepower and 1,193 pound-feet of torque. All the while, the car tips the scales at 2,998 pounds, so yeah, it’ll scoot as the seven-speed semiautomatic transmission flicks through gears. Specifically, 0-60 miles per hour happens in under 2 seconds, while 0-124 mph occurs in 4.7 seconds. HPE promised the car’s Motec controller will work like a charm to help put the power down at the rear wheels with five different drive modes. F5 mode, named after the Fujita tornado scale’s 318 mph, unlocks the car’s top speed exclusively. As for the tires responsible for making contact with the pavement, the rears measure a whopping 345/30, while the front sit at 265/35. Michelin plans to test its Pilot Cup Sport 2 tires to ensure they’ll handle the speeds HPE wants to take its latest rocket ship of a supercar.
Underneath the, let’s face it, rather generic supercar body sits a crucial structural element: the carbon fiber tub. A pair of braces link the double-wishbone suspension to the monocoque to let the rigid chassis soak up all the forces drivers toss at it. HPE said that makes the Venom F5 a mighty stable supercar. The company went ahead and put carbon fiber on top of carbon fiber to achieve the under-3,000-pound weight; all exterior body panels come directly from the ultralight, yet incredibly strong, material.
I mentioned the body’s design, and while it’s not the most intriguing thing, it certainly looks the part of a supercar. Form follows function here, with a key goal of cutting through the air as efficiently as possible. HPE did well with a drag coefficient of 0.39. Big ol’ air intakes take up the lion’s share of the superlow front fascia with a set of “fangs” housed inside. Behind the front splitter are intakes that funnel air under the flat underbody to the rear diffusor and to the brakes for cooling purposes. Moving to the side, ducts push air away from the wheels to minimize turbulence, while similar ducts at the rear cool the engine and transmission.
At the rear, a subtle spoiler works to let air flow above and underneath to produce oodles of downforce to keep the car planted at high speeds, and the taillights bring the F5 moniker together. While the headlights sport an F shape, the taillights create the shape of the number 5. Four black exhaust pipes sit proudly, ready to bellow their twin-turbo V8 song for miles.
Inside, we see more of the fighter jet inspiration HPE aimed for with the exterior. More importantly, the company wanted no nonsense. If it doesn’t help the driver drive, engineers and designers scrapped it. Butterfly doors open and the cockpit shows off its rad steering wheel, which takes big cues from Formula One cars and airplanes. It’s home to all essential functions for the windows, doors, lights, turn signals and all that good stuff. Ahead of the driver sits a 7.0-inch display and to the right is a 9.0-inch unit for infotainment. What about HVAC controls, you ask? A circular controller with a 1.3-inch screen controls those, along with the touchscreen. Just below it are the transmission gear selectors. It’s, honestly, a great-looking cockpit overall with lots of leather and carbon fiber.
With the production car out in the wild now, HPE plans to complete final testing in 2021. Crucially, it plans an independent speed test at the NASA shuttle landing center in Florida in the first half of the year. Then, we’ll know if the car’s $2.1 million asking price gets buyers a 311-mph machine.