Hennessey has long been known as a tuner—one with a reputation for extravagant claims in the past—but the Venom F5 marks its effective debut as a manufacturer in its own right. (The ultra-limited Venom GT that preceded it used a Lotus tub.) It’s named after the highest rating on the Fujita scale of tornado strength, and just 24 cars will be built, each priced at $2.1 million.
The F5 will be constructed in a new facility in Sealy, Texas, but the first finished car was completed in the U.K., where the carbon-fiber monocoque is manufactured by KS Composites. And that explains why our first sight of it was at a former Royal Air Force airbase in the English Midlands.
The headline figures are some way beyond spectacular. Based on Hennessey’s numbers, the F5’s mid-mounted 90-degree turbocharged 6.6-liter V-8—dubbed “Fury” by the company—is set to be the most powerful engine ever fitted to a production car. This is a pushrod unit, a configuration well known to Hennessey’s tuning operations, chosen for its compact dimensions and lower center of gravity. The company claims a peak of 1817 horsepower at 8000 rpm—the engine revs out at 8200 rpm—accompanied by an 1193-pound-foot torque peak at 5500 rpm.
The engine uses a cast-iron block and aluminum cylinder heads plus titanium intake valves and Inconel exhaust valves. Connecting rods and pistons are forged, and both crankshaft and camshaft are made from billet steel. Two ball-bearing turbochargers have 76-mm-diameter compressor wheels and 3D-printed titanium housings, delivering up to 23 psi of boost. Drive reaches the rear wheels through a seven-speed CIMA single-clutch automated transmission and limited-slip differential, with gearbox ratios chosen to help the F5 achieve its targeted acceleration and top speed numbers.
And top speed claims are even more outlandish. Hennessey, using only km/h measurements, says that the F5 will be capable of a 2.6-second zero-to-62-mph time, a 4.7-second zero-to-124-mph time, an 8.4-second zero-to-186-mph time, and 15.5 seconds from zero to 248 mph. Top speed is targeted to be in excess of 311 mph. If delivered, that would make the F5 faster even than the 304-mph Bugatti Chiron. The F5’s ultra-tall seventh gear means the engine won’t run out of revs until 334 mph, according to Hennessey’s claims.
The monstrous engine will be working against a minimum of mass. The F5’s carbon tub is claimed to weigh just 190 pounds. Most of the bodywork is carbon fiber, with the exception of an aluminum roof, with front and rear aluminum subframes. Mechanical complication is minimal: the F5 has a control-arm suspension at each corner, coil springs, and separate reservoir dampers that can be adjusted for bump and rebound. Hennessey claims a curb weight of 3053 pounds, making the F5 barely heavier than the Koenigsegg One:1, but with 35 percent more power.
The obvious changes between the finished F5 and the original design proposal, which was shown at SEMA in 2017 and then at the Geneva auto show the following year, have been made to improve aerodynamic performance. The production car has lost the concept’s raised rear wing and gained a substantially larger rear diffuser. There are no active aerodynamic elements—unusual in this part of the market—with the F5 claimed to be able to alter downforce levels by varying ride height to adjust the angle of airflow relative to its body. The concept’s targeted 0.33 drag coefficient hasn’t been realized, but a Cd figure of 0.39 can still be considered slippery. A “track pack” that includes a separate rear wing and higher downforce will be optional, although specifying this will drop the F5’s top speed.