The Venom F5’s basic ingredients make for astounding reading. Hennessey plans to build just 24 of these hypercars—12 for the United States market and a further 12 for the rest of the world—at $2.1 million a pop plus taxes (up from the original price of $1.6 million), and the company is targeting a top speed in excess of 311 mph (500 kph for you European types) for the F5. Its twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-8 produces—wait for it—1,817 hp at 8,000 rpm and 1,192 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm. Hennessey calls its mighty motor the Fury and claims it’s the most powerful production road car engine ever produced. Those headline-grabbing power figures are produced on E85 fuel and with the Venom in F5 Vmax mode. Pump gas reduces the total output by a couple of hundred horses, we estimate. (Hennessey has yet to release solid power numbers for the car on non-E85 fuel.)
The Venom F5 itself is surprisingly subtle for a car of such outrageous potential, and Hennessey is keen to talk up its dynamics and driver engagement. In other words, it’s not just designed to be a mid-engine dragster. The key to its personality, Hennessey says, is the F5’s light (about 189 pounds) and stiff carbon-fiber tub, which is produced in the United Kingdom where much of the car was engineered by Hennessey’s technical partner, Delta Motorsport. This supports aluminum subframes front and rear and a double-wishbone suspension with Penske coilover dampers at each corner. With simplicity and lightweight components as key targets for the F5, Hennessey claims the car weighs just 2,998 pounds dry. That’s way less than, say, a Lotus Evora, but with more than four times the power.
All that F5 fury drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed single-clutch automated manual transmission with CIMA paddle shifters (CIMA also supplies the car’s limited-slip differential). Tires for the production model are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s (265/35 ZR19 front, 345/30 ZR20 rear), and slowing things down from insane speeds are Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes (15.3-inch x 1.3-inch front/rear) with AP Racing calipers (six-piston front, four-piston rear). Power, traction control settings, and a host of other parameters for the Hennessey Venom F5 are set according to pre-configured driving modes: Wet, Sport, Drag, Track, and the aforementioned F5 Vmax.
Inside, the Hennessey Venom F5 is remarkably simple, with a clean, button-free dash and a steering wheel that acts as the real control center with deliciously mechanical-feeling rotary dials and switches. Exposed carbon and high-quality leather supplied by Muirhead in Scotland (a tannery since 1840) are cleverly combined to create the feel of a cockpit with a modern, minimalist luxury vibe. Exterior-wise, the Venom F5 is all about aerodynamic capability (0.39 coefficient of drag) and hypercar sensibility thanks to a carbon-fiber splitter, a rear wing and large rear diffuser, a flat underbody, and numerous incisions in the bodywork to aid airflow. Part of the carbon-fiber tub is exposed for dramatic effect, and Hennessey claims the CNC-machined carbon-fiber mesh at the rear of the F5 is the largest piece of machined fiber applied to any car, so there’s that.
An extensive test program essentially begins now with legendary ex-General Motors test driver and race driver John Heinricy working with Hennessey to shape the car’s dynamics. It seems almost unbelievable that Hennessey plans on making a car that’s capable of well over 300 mph and fun to drive and approachable for mere mortals … but that’s the aim.
All 24 Venom F5 production cars will be built in Sealy, Texas, at a new facility alongside Hennessey’s existing tuning side of the business. We’ll be following the development of the Venom F5 closely, culminating in witnessing it blast off toward that 311-mph horizon at NASA’s 3.2-mile Shuttle Landing Facility runway in Florida sometime in 2021.