Has the Bugatti Chiron finally met its match? Quite possibly.
Texas tuner Hennessey has one aim with its new hypercar: to build the world’s fastest production car that beats the 300 mph barrier. Technically, the Venom GT already earned the accolade of the world’s fastest production car, with a recorded top speed of 270.49 mph. But it isn’t an official world record because the run was only in a single direction. And only 16 cars were built, so it doesn’t qualify as a production car. Next year, Bugatti will be attempting to beat the previous 268 mph record set by the Veyron Super Sport in the Chiron.
Not to be outdone, Hennessey may be about to beat them to it with this groundbreaking hypercar: the Venom F5. Four years in the making, the Venom F5 is named after the fastest and most powerful wind on earth capable of gusts between 261 mph and 318 mph. Unlike the Venom GT which was built on a modified Lotus Exige chassis, the F5 has been built-from-the-ground-up, and sits on a bespoke carbon tub. Powering this insane beast is an in-house twin-turbo 7.4-liter V8 that sends a whopping 1,600-hp to the rear wheels. A Chiron-style sequential quad-turbo setup was considered but this would have made the car too heavy, which is why a hybrid powertrain also wasn't considered.
Speaking of which, the Venom F5 only weighs 1,360 kg, making it much lighter than the Chiron. Compared to its predecessor, the Venom F5 features vastly improved active aerodynamics, too. Using Vmax mode, the F5’s rear wing is lowered and flaps are deployed to plug ducts above the front spoiler to improve its aeros. Beefy brembo carbon-ceramic brakes also provide considerable stopping power. Of course, what we all want to know is whether the Venom F5 can beat the Bugatti Chiron in a drag race. Well, performance specifications haven’t been finalized yet, but the predictions suggest it has a very fighting chance of becoming the fastest production car on earth.
0-62 mph? Please, that’s too pedestrian for the Venom F5. According to Top Gear, the hypercar is predicted to hit 0-186 mph in, wait for it, under 10 seconds. For reference, that’s faster than Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One car – and the Venom F5 is somehow road legal. It gets better, too. Hennessey estimates that the F5 needs less than 20 seconds to climb to 249 mph from a standstill before hitting a top speed of 301 mph. Should these claims turn out to be true, we may have just hit a new hypercar performance benchmark. If you still need convincing, the Chiron takes 32.2 seconds to hit 249 mph, while the Koenigsegg Agera RS can achieve the same sprint time in 26.88 seconds.
The Venom GT took 23.6 seconds, yet Hennessey claims the F5 needs less than 20 seconds. Seriously, that’s insane performance in a car you can legally drive to the supermarket. Despite such bold claims, Hennessey isn’t gunning to beat the Chiron’s 0-249-0 mph record. Why? Because it doesn’t need to. “I think that’s a number that the guys from Bugatti and Koenigsegg came up with because they couldn’t beat our top speed number,” company founder John Hennessey told Top Gear. While the Venom F5 is technically capable of achieving a 301 mph top speed, whether it can actually reach those speeds depends on if the tires can cope.
The Chiron, for example, is equipped with sticky Michellin Pilot Cup 2 tires but still can’t reach its potential. The F5 will ride on the same tires, but because it’s a lot lighter than the Chiron Hennessey believes it will be able to exceed 280 mph – and possibly 300 mph. “Tires are a limiting factor for Bugatti,” John says. “But I don’t believe they’re a limiting factor for us. When we do our math, we know that we are not overloading them. We’re not even close to the load specification of the tires at our speeds.” Step inside, and you’ll be greeted with a more luxurious and spacious cabin than the Venom GT, with a sumptuous mix of leather, carbon fiber and Alcantara.
If you want one, though, you’ll have to apply to be in with the chance of owning one of the 24 Venom F5s that will be produced, with prices starting at $1.6 million. Privileged owners will then be handpicked by John Hennessey, who will then be invited to spec the car with $600k of optional extras. Production is expected to last for the next three years, with first deliveries starting in early 2019. The Venom F5 is currently on display at the Las Vegas SEMA show, and Hennessey will be testing two prototypes next year. Presumably, a 300 mph record will be attempted soon. We can’t wait to find out if the Bugatti Chiron has finally met its match.