Hennessey F5 Venom: Forget 300 mph, aiming for 311 mph; challengers welcome

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Hennessey Venom F5

Hennessey Venom F5

The race to 300 mph is officially on. Hennessey Performance Engineering plans to begin testing an F5 Venom prototype in 2019, with high-speed validation testing by the end of that year. "We believe our car is capable of going well beyond 300 mph," CEO John Hennessey said.

What will enable the F5 Venom to achieve such a lofty goal?

The F5 Venom will be slippery (for a supercar) with a drag coefficient of 0.33. A 7.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 will blast it toward the 300-mph barrier. The engine is said to be capable of 1,600 horsepower and 1,300 pound-feet of torque, but Hennessey said it might not even require that much power to hit the mark.

"Currently our CFD testing and our engineers tell us we need about 1,520 horsepower to break 300," Hennessey said. The engine has been tested to more than 2,000 horsepower, but there are no plans to go that far any time soon.

Hennessey confirmed to Motor Authority that customer cars will be delivered with the same final power output rating as the record car, whatever that might be.

Venues for testing and the record-attempt are already on Hennessey's mind. The Shuttle Landing Facility in Brevard County, Florida, where NASA landed space shuttles, is 3.2 miles long, and it's where Hennessey set its previous speed record with the Venom GT in 2014. But it took 2.2 to 2.3 miles of acceleration to hit 270.49 mph, and the last mile or so was saved for braking. It's going to take a longer stretch of pavement to break 300 mph.

Testing at NASA's facility isn't out of the question. Hennessey said that's enough room to run in the high 270s or low 280s.

The most likely scenario is shutting down a highway in Nevada, which is what Koenigsegg did for its record run, or Texas.

Hitting the 300-mph mark would obliterate the existing record, but that's just the first step. "I’d like to run 500 kph. Which is 311 and change," he said. It's 310.68 mph.

Running that number might require some sort of special edition of the F5 Venom or a version with a lower-drag aerodynamic package than the current car. "After we break 300 we’ll see how much faster we can go," Hennessey said.

Only 24 F5 Venoms are slotted for production, and half will be sold to U.S. buyers while the other half live their best life abroad. Allocations for the U.S. are sold out with a waiting list, but only five international orders have been placed.

A convertible model is also a possibility, but it has not been given the green light yet.

Hennessey has his eye on other performance figures as well. "Ultimately, if Dodge can make a 4,000-pound Demon go 0-60 in 2.3 seconds, I feel pretty good that we’ll have a tire on the F5 at some point that will be running in the high 1-second range, 1.8, 1.9 second range when that time comes," Hennessey said.

The American boutique supercar firm SSC has stepped into the top-speed game with its new 1,750-horsepower Tuatara. Jerod Shelby, CEO of SSC North America said the Tuatara's the only one with a "legitimate shot" at cracking 300 mph.

Hennessey's response? "The bullshit stops when the green flag drops."

 
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