Hennessey Venom F5 (2016): is this really a 290mph supercar?

Published: 07 August 2014

Meet the Hennessey Venom F5, the extreme supercar successor to the Venom GT. And the US manufacturer has bold ambitions for the Venom F5 - it claims 290mph could be on the cards.

While we’re of the view that the race to the top is largely academic (anything over 200mph is as good as impossible, even on derestricted autobahns), it’s still an eye-grabbing headline. There we were thinking that the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport’s 268mph limit would never be broached…

Hennessey Venom F5: the fast facts

Named after the Fujita scale’s maximum tornado alert for winds of 261 to 318mph - F5 - this Texas-built Venom has been toned and fettled to reach borderline sub-sonic speeds.

There’s more power, obviously, plus the aero package has been massaged to slice through the air more cleanly. Hennessey quotes a drag coefficient of 0.40, down from 0.44 of the original Venom - which itself set a 270.49mph world speed record for a production car.

‘We are very excited about this next chapter of the Venom, which brings forth an all-new design that is not only a powerful and unique statement that our clients are looking for, but a vehicle that will achieve even higher performance through improved aerodynamics,’ said company president and founder John Hennessey.

‘We learned a great deal during the development of the Venom GT in breaking the 270-mph barrier, and we bring that experience to this new design as we look toward raising the performance bar even higher.’

Carbon body, V8 turbo

To stand any realistic chance of knocking on the door of 300mph, you need three things: grunt - and lots of it - light weight and clean, stable aero. Hennessey claim they’ve got all three sussed on the Venom F5.

The body is made of carbonfibre to keep weight under 1300kg, while new aero addenda attempt to cleave the air with minimum drag while simultaneously keeping the Venom F5 planted to the ground. There are underbody venturis, a rear diffuser and retractable rear wing to squash the car into the tarmac even at loony speeds. Take-off verboten.

Providing the go is a twin-turbo V8 engine, whose precise details are still under wraps. Hennessy won’t release the full story on the Venom F5 until 2015 when the car is unveiled, but we know it’s mounted amidships longitudinally. Running a high boost, it’s likely that the final power output will exceed 1400bhp.

Hennessey Venom F5: performance, specs

End game? Hennessy says the Venom F5 will out-perform the last Venom, which reached 200mph in 14.51sec and passed 186mph (200kph) in 13.63sec. The mind boggles.

Expect a full debut in 2015, with customer deliveries of the F5 in late 2016. The company has sold 16 of the 29-long production run of the original Venom - and has set its sights on building ‘at least 30’ Venom F5s. Price? Higher than the GT’s $1.2 million.

Our verdict? It’s telling that Hennessey is from Texas. It’s only 45 minutes west of Houston, the home of the US space rocket programme.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet