Which of these two American hypercars will take the top speed crown?
2020 was an amazing year for speed freaks. Shortly after the SSC Tuatara attempted a new top speed world record, the long-awaited 2021 Hennessey Venom F5 broke cover. Both of these cars produce well over 1,700 horsepower, and each is capable of surpassing 300 miles per hour. These red, white, and blue American-built hypercars will go toe-to-toe in 2021, but which will reign supreme as the ultimate speed king?
Without having driven either car, it will be tough to say which is better. But we will do our best, looking at the available stats to compare the Tuatara with the Venom F5. Here's how these two mind-boggling machines stack up against each other.
Both of these cars were styled using computer software to hit the highest possible top speed. As a result, the Tuatara and Venom F5 look remarkably alike. There are some clear and obvious differences in the details, including the headlights, bumper shapes, taillights, spoilers, and side profiles, but the overall shapes are nearly identical.
To hit speeds of over 300 mph, these cars need to achieve aerodynamic perfection, despite what designers may have wanted. Both SSC and Hennessey could have made these cars look less derivative, but that would likely have had a negative impact on the top speed. We'd say the Tuatara's pointy front end and split spoiler design makes it the more compelling option, but both are similar enough to be called handsome.
In order to charge seven-figure price tags, Hennessey and SSC needed to give their cars special cabins that would justify the enormous cost. Hennessey took a simplistic, racecar-style approach, much like the new Ford GT. The F5's cabin features a minimalist design with a central touchscreen, two air vents, and not much else. In front of the driver sits another small display with an F1-inspired steering wheel. Both the driver and passenger sit in aggressive racing buckets with a bit of leather on them.
The Tuatara's interior still looks race-inspired, but with much more elegance. Its dashboard looks far less barren with more leather, suede, and metal than the Venom. A large central touchscreen and conventional steering wheel make the cabin feel more like a normal supercar than a road-legal racecar.
To hit the speeds claimed by these cars, a ton of power is required. The Hennessey Venom F5 utilizes a 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8 dubbed the Fury. It shells out a whopping 1,817 horsepower with 1,193 lb-ft of torque, driving the car from zero to 124 mph in just 4.7 seconds. At full tilt, it will travel over 311 mph.
While not as potent, the Tuatara is no slouch with 1,750 horsepower (on E85) coming from a 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8. This combination propelled the car to over 330 mph, though some inaccuracies with the run will force SSC to redo the top speed record attempt.
Hennessey also plans to run its car in 2021, so we will have to wait until next year to find out which is the official fastest car in the world.
Most buyers who can afford cars like this probably won't have to choose between them; they will buy both. SSC only plans to build 100 examples of the Tuatara, the first of which was delivered this year in 2020. The Tuatara costs over $2 million, meaning only the one-percenters will have a chance to buy one. Likewise, deliveries of the Venom F5 will start in 2021 with a $2.1-million price tag. Hennessey's hypercar will be even more exclusive, with just 24 units planned for production.