The Venom F5 is poised to take the title of world's fastest production car.
John Hennessey, founder of Hennessey Performance Engineering, is a man who loves to go fast. Hellbent on beating the likes of Bugatti and SSC and claim the title of world's fastest production car manufacturer with his insanely fast Hennessey Venom F5, Hennessey dove into some detail about his plans to top 300 mph in an interview with Top Gear. He also touched on the pressure of emissions regulations and going electric, plus the insane all-electric six-wheel-drive hyper GT he likes to call Deep Space. After hearing what the man had to say, we came to the conclusion that he still wants to make cars that are as fast as possible, and he isn't planning on stopping his crusade of speed any time soon.
Now that it's been close to a decade since the Hennessey Venom was first shown, other manufacturers do not seem hellbent on setting top speed records, but Hennessey says that he still wants the official title, and says that it's one of the main driving forces behind the Hennessey brand.
"I feel under pressure that I must beat Bugatti and I want the F5 to complete a two-way average of over 300 mph. Some customers care about that, others don't. But we said we'd do it and it's part of our DNA. So we're going to do it," he told Top Gear. When pressed about an upcoming top speed run, Hennessey said that deliveries of the F5 have only just started, so the main focus isn't on hitting top speeds just yet, especially when considering Bugatti's approach. "Bugatti showed the Chiron in 2015 [and] delivered a customer car in 2016 but they didn't break 300 mph until September 2019. So, from the first car to a top speed was three years," he said.
Despite his seemingly relaxed attitude over the top speed record, Hennessey is still carefully calculating his next move, and said that the recent drama with SSC - which admitted its previously claimed top speed run was false - has made a top speed rivalry less relevant right now. While he waits for the drama to completely blow over, Hennessey Performance Engineering is on its way to delivering nearly 15 cars this year.
When asked if he is happy with the F5, he replies with an emphatic "hell yeah!" and says that, compared to his Tesla Model S Plaid and Porsche 911 Turbo S, the F5 feels scary fast. "They're extremely fast cars, but I get used to them. I never get used to the F5 - it's a road-going P51 Mustang with a Merlin engine," he said. The SSC Tuatara is currently the world's fastest production car, with an officially recognized top speed of 316.11 mph.
The Hennessey Venom F5 is one of the world's most powerful road cars with a power output of 1,817 horsepower and 1,193 lb-ft of torque thanks to a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V8 developed entirely in-house by the company. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox, and with a dry weight of only 2,998 pounds, the Venom F5 offers a power-to-weight ratio of 1,298 hp/ton. Hennessey claims that the Venom F5 will hit 60 mph in under three seconds and top out at 311 mph, with 15.35-inch carbon-ceramic brakes bringing things back down to more reasonable speeds.
Building pressure from regulators, the state, and the general public has seen many manufacturers commit to going fully electric in the near future, and Hennessey agrees that there's a future in electricity, but not for the usual reasons. "Electrification opens up so many doors in design and packaging that's impossible otherwise. We couldn't do Deep Space with an internal combustion engine. The skateboard chassis and motors provide exciting innovation potential," he says. The Deep Space hyper GT is set to become the world's most expensive car at $3,000,000. It will feature a diamond-shaped seating pattern and a 6x6 drivetrain configuration.
When asked about the possibility of breaking the EV top speed record, Hennessey states that it is something he'd be very interested in. "It's totally a game I'd love to play. I'm all about competition, bragging rights and climbing the next mountain - that's how we built our brand. With over 2,000 bhp, I would love Deep Space to be the fastest four-seater from 0-200 mph. As we become more successful it's easy to de-risk. I don't want to de-risk. What's that saying? 'Fortune favors the bold'? Well, I believe in that: fortune favors the bold."
With vehicles such as the Rimac Nevera and Tesla Roadster promising speeds of over 250 mph, an all-electric Hennessey car is going to need just more than pretty looks and lots of power, but for now, the gas-powered record is still in John Hennessey's sights - and the Venom F5 is coming for the title.