Hennessey Venom F5 – Is This The World's First 300mph Production Car?
Are production cars on the cusp of conquering 300mph?
Automotive icons can, essentially, be broken down into a series of significant superlatives, with the most monumental occurring every hundred miles-per-hour of progress. The 200mph barrier is a target that's been attainable for decades in road cars, and as the horsepower wars have raged on through 1000 and 1500bhp, it has become apparent that we are nearing our next big benchmark. That benchmark is 300mph.
So far, the only things capable of carrying our squishy bags of blood and organs through the 300mph barrier are planes, space-craft, a rare breed of maglev trains, and top fuel dragsters. The only other cars that are capable of reaching that speed are the ones that've been tuned to infinity and beyond, and the ones that have been designed to conquer the land speed record. Well, if Texan tuner John Hennessey has got all his calculations correct, then his latest creation – the Hennessey Venom F5 – will be the first production car ever to achieve a speed of 300mph.
Unveiled at the Sema Tuned Car show in Las Vegas, Hennessey's megacar certainly drips with beauty infused with a sense of intergalactic speed. It's a cliché to say that it looks as though it's doing a million even when it's sitting still, but it is true. Also, and I don't know if I'm the only one who has noticed this similarity, but the F5 bears an uncanny resemblance to the Turismo R from Grand Theft Auto 5. If Rockstar's lawyers now drop a letter through Hennessey's door, I'm sorry.
The coming of the F5 hasn't been shrouded in secrecy, like other performance cars. A number of years ago, some basic renders were shown, and a power figure of 1400bhp was announced in order to help the F5 reach a top speed of 290mph. For a while, Hennessey persisted in saying that with the F5, he was aiming to achieve 290mph. But – as phenomenal as that would be – it's the automotive equivalent of NASA sending a team into the darkness of space with the objective of not quite reaching Mars. Nobody deliberately aims to get close, and not come home with the cigar. And indeed, with the F5, Hennessey has elected to push through the triple-tonne.
In order to push the car further, naturally, the F5 will need more power than the original 1400 horsepower that was proposed. With a 7.4L V8, force-fed by two monstrously big turbochargers, the F5 sends a scarcely believable 1600bhp and 1300lb-ft of torque to its rear wheels alone via a 7-speed single clutch paddle shift gearbox. Hennessey will also fit the car with a manual gearbox for the customers that want to swap their own cogs while simultaneously unleashing something which demands for the definition of performance itself to be heightened.
While such juicy figures as the 0-60mph and 0-100mph times are yet to be revealed (expect them to be limited by traction), Hennessey has said that the F5 will surpass 186mph less than 10 seconds after launching. And after 30 seconds of foot to the floor acceleration, the F5 will be moving at 250mph. The figures the driver extracts however are, in part, their responsibility. Masterful throttle control will be required to tame the 1600 horsepower, which according to Hennessey will light up the rear tyres all the way to 140mph. While the car will come with traction control, don't expect it to work the electronic miracle of reigning in all the available savagery.
Hennessey's philosophy has forever been one of maximum power and minimal weight, and he certainly isn't abdicating that for the F5. Those 1600 horses will only be required to drag along 2950lbs (1338kg) of mass, meaning the F5 has a power-to-weight ratio of nearly 1200bhp-per-tonne. Insert your chosen expletive here.
The F5 also signifies something really rather special for Hennessey, for it is their first all original road car. The preceding Venom GT famously started life as a Lotus – in the same way that the Hulk started life as Bruce Banner, yes, but the Lotus origins meant it wasn't built from the ground up by Hennessey. The F5 however has been - a process which has taken over 4 years.
Of course, some of you may be wondering that if Hennessey already had his eye in with the Venom GT, that he would've been better off simply making it more powerful rather than going to the trouble of designing an all new car. Hennessey however is chasing 300mph, and in order to push the Lotus body of the Venom GT through the 300mph barrier, Hennessey would've needed to tune it to a dizzying 2500bhp. What he needed was a car with significantly less drag, hence, he designed one.
The big question with the Venom F5 is when it'll attempt to push further than any production car has before and break the 300mph barrier. Well, at the moment, nobody knows. Hennessey is aiming for the first deliveries of the car to take place at the beginning of 2019, with the top speed run occurring sometime between now and then. But if his calculations are correct, then the F5 will stop accelerating at precisely 301mph, and write its name permanently in the automotive history books.
Prior to attempting the top speed, much testing will be done and fine tuning of all the relevant components. In order to make the car as slippery as possible for the top speed run, the driver will drop the rear wing and – presumably – make sure they're happy with their last will and testament. They are, after all, strapping themselves into what is – fundamentally speaking – an enormous bomb on wheels, aiming to venture into the inexpressibly dangerous uncharted territory of 300mph.
Hennessey will be making 24 F5s, with prices started at $1,600,000 each. If you're feeling flush, you can add another $600,000 worth of options onto your F5 – presuming, that is, if Hennessey wants you to own one. Much in the same way Ferrari sold the Enzo, those with the requisite capitol can't simply phone Hennessey up and order one. You have to apply, and then the Texan tuner himself has to decide whether he thinks you're worthy or not. I wonder if Steve Tyler will ever get his hands on one?
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
Facebook: Speed machines - DriveTribe
Photo Credits: Hennessey
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