This week, the expectedly insane Hennessey Venom F5 has arrived, with the first of just 24 examples making its way out of the Texas-based Hennessey Special Vehicles (HSV). If you know anything about the high-performance Venom GT that came out a few years back, then you know where this one’s going. Once again, the F5 is gunning for the world’s fastest production car title. And on paper, at least, it might just bring the goods, if actual speed runs hold true to Hennessey’s claims.
At its heart is a bespoke 6.6-liter, twin-turbocharged pushrod V8 engine. That’s actually a substantially smaller engine than the 7.4 or 8.0-liter mills that were most believed Hennessey would end up with. Nevertheless, don’t think that it’s short on power as a result. At 1,817 horsepower and 1,193 lb-ft of torque, this high-strung hypercar can shuffle along just fine. After all, the curb weight tops out at 3,053 pounds wet — a quarter-ton or so less than your neighbor’s Toyota Camry. It’s even lighter than an equally insane car like, say, the 3,100-ish pound Koenigsegg Jesko. Power routes its way through the rear wheels via a CIMA 7-speed single-clutch automated manual transmission, as well as a limited-slip rear differential.
In short, Hennessey claims this is the most powerful production vehicle ever. And if you thought, “Gee, it seems like that F5 name is supposed to make the car sound like a tornado,” then give yourself a cookie because that’s exactly what HSV itself cites as inspiration for the name.
Top speed? 456 feet…per second
That naming scheme is no accident, either. The Fujita scale (or more specifically these days, the “Enhanced” Fujita scale), categorizes the most destructive tornadoes on Earth as F5 (“EF5” using the modern convention in use since 2007). The wind speed using the original scale topped out at 318 mph. And wouldn’t you know it, the Hennessey Venom F5 claims an astounding top speed “in excess” of 311 mph. To put that in perspective, this Venom can cover 1-1/2 football fields every second flat-out.
That is, if Hennessey can validate their claims. Speaking of claims, 0-60 in 2.6 seconds and a 0-124 mph sprint in 4.7 seconds are both on the table here.
After the debacle that was the SSC Tuatara’s top speed run, HSV is running its top speed validation testing a bit more by the book. Motor Authority points out that HSV says the car is geared for that sort of speed, up to 334 mph. However, they mentioned the Venom will not attempt that sort of speed even if the car can technically do it. Probably a wise decision. We’ll see in the next couple months just how fast the Hennessey Venom F5 actually is on its run.
If you want the privilege of owning one of the 24 models, you’re in for a rough patch of luck on two fronts. First, the first 12 build slots are reportedly locked in. Second, the remaining slots (ordered after January 2020) are up to $2.1 million. Hennessey says it will take two to three years to build all two dozen Venom F5s. The HSV team plans to deliver eight cars next year, and former McLaren manufacturing boss David Davis will oversee the assembly in Sealy, Texas.
How much more can we manage?
More of an rhetorical question, I know, but where will this end up? Not specifically the Hennessey Venom F5, but just hugely powerful (and expensive) cars pushing out eye-watering amounts of horsepower and increasingly ludicrous top speeds. Electric cars promise even more neck-snapping performance thanks to their instantaneous torque. In time, they’ll likely manage insane top speeds as well, if only briefly.
Awesome speed and power are great attention-grabbers, to be sure. I’m just curious exactly how much we humans can really handle this much power and speed before we ultimately hit a wall. Perhaps literally, in some cases. I know there aren’t many places where you can actually drive over 300 mph, and few people will actually drive it that quickly — they just want to say they can. But still, food for thought.
If you want speed for a more mortally-attainable price, here are some options as well: