“Take everything with a grain of salt,” a wise owl once told a wizard suffering through his greying period. A few thousand magical years later, what I’ve seen of Hennessey’s Venom F5 at car shows so far has been a little more than a static mockup of questionable molding quality. In the early days of development, that’s quite normal. If fellow American supercar maker SSC can claim its first production Tuatara after making us wait for over eight years, so too, can Hennessey explain why its Venom F5 got delayed by six months—and became costlier in the process.
Last year, the Texan company revealed its LS-based “Fury” engine, which went from a 6.6-liter twin-turbo producing “1600+” horsepower to a fire-breather rated at 1817 hp and 1193 lb-ft of torque. This Hennessey Performance Engineering-built affair may feature a pair of precision ball-bearing turbochargers with 3D-printed titanium compressor housings, but it also swapped a billet aluminum block for an iron one since it was first announced. Recall that this is the same company which plans to boost the C8 Corvette’s LT2 V-8 to a whopping 1200 horsepower; there’s a solid precedent for four-figure power output among these folks.
The big development now is that Hennessey is ready with its full carbon tub for the Venom F5, which weighs a mere 190 pounds and grants the chassis a torsional rigidity of 38,353 pound-feet per degree. True, Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and Rimac each claim higher figures in that field—but Hennessey’s passenger cell should still be plenty stiff for the task at hand.
And, as Motor Authority reports, that task is grand. Following Bugatti’s single-direction record run at Ehra Lessien topping out at 304.77 mph, John Hennessey is aiming for the 500 km/hr barrier at 311 mph. With the Venom F5’s 0.33 drag coefficient, Hennessey says it will only need 1520 hp to hit 300 mph, which, as long as the wind and the road surface agrees with its CFD testing results, does sound promising. If those stats are correct, having 297 hp on reserve just for those remaining eleven mph should prove sufficient.
With the Venom F5’s list price now up from $1.6 to $1.8 million, Hennessey says eleven of the twelve cars earmarked for the American market are now sold, with the other twelve waiting for international customers.
With the first three cars now in pre-production around Hennessey’s shiny new tub, testing will begin in Q2 2020, so that the Venom F5 can make its official debut at The Quail in August… hopefully, parked close enough to an SSC Tuatara for us to take historic photos, wondering about the glory days of Vector.