Hennessey F5 Supercar the World's Fastest or Full of Hot Air?

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
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hennessey f5 supercar the world s fastest or full of hot air

The Hennessey Venom F5 supercar has been unveiled in advance of 2021 customer deliveries. The all-new Venom F5 is built to deliver what the company declares is an exhilarating all-around driving experience, coupled with unparalleled performance. With its power, low weight, and vehicle dynamics, the F5 brags about its handling, and how you may have a truly visceral experience behind the wheel.

Breaking down the nomenclature, venom is a poisonous substance secreted by scorpions, snakes, and spiders, and injected by biting or stinging their prey. From the Fujita tornado intensity rating scale, F5 is the highest category with wind speeds of up to 318 mph. So do we have the world’s fastest snake, or the latest limited edition from the successor to Malcolm Brickin, John Delorean, and Steve Saleen?

Given that there will only be 24 Venom F5s built, with a starting base price of $2.1 million, it is highly unlikely you or anyone else you know will have the opportunity to test the twin-turbocharged, 6.6-liter V8, which is said to be the most powerful production vehicle ever made, developing 1,817 horsepower and 1,193 lb-ft of torque. Let’s say that the F5 is capable of reaching 0-124 MPH in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 311 MPH and that John Hennessey isn’t the high commissioner of hyperbole. Hennessey has said he will complete high-speed testing at the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida during the first half of 2021, following testing at his own facility, and at the Circuit of the Americas.

With its carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, carbon fiber body panels, and attention paid to lowering mass, the rear-wheel-drive F5 weighs 2,998 pounds. Combined with its stated 1,817 HP, the F5’s power-to-weight ratio at 1,298 HP-per-ton exceeds that of any road car today.

Aerodynamic performance has been refined and evaluated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), with a series of coast-down tests, where the car reaches a designated speed then coasts while recording downforce and drag. The F5 uses carbon-ceramic brakes, forged aluminum wheels, and lightweight Penske dampers to keep unsprung mass low. The center of gravity is kept low by positioning the powertrain deep within the car’s sub-structure.

With the engine delivering such immense power, one of the challenges was how best to transfer it through the rear wheels to the ground. The car’s Motec controller will be calibrated for optimum power and traction control. In addition, five different modes, Sport, Track, Drag, Wet, or F5, can be selected to alter the power delivery, traction, and braking performance of the car. Only the top F5 mode unlocks its maximum available power.

The car’s huge 345/30-20 Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 rear tires provide a substantial contact patch to boost traction under acceleration and cornering. At the front are 265/35-19 Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 tires. These tires were tested to ensure they could withstand the speeds and loads that the car will generate.

The driver-focused cockpit features a Formula 1 or fighter jet-inspired steering wheel and controls, a contrast to the rest of the luxurious, handcrafted, two-place interior. On the inside, the F5 exhibits simplicity, with nothing inside the car that isn’t essential to the act of driving. This saves weight and promotes driver focus, like a pilot in a fighter jet cockpit. The interior is true to the car’s roots displaying raw carbon fiber throughout, with hints of luxury from leather panels on the doors, dashboard, and seats.

Designed and manufactured in the USA, The Hennessey Venom F5 is not to be confused with the cognac of the same name that originated in France in 1765.

[Images: Hennessey]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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2 of 16 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Dec 16, 2020

    Isn't Hennessey brand of brandy? What it has to do with cars?

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Dec 17, 2020

    Heinricy certainly has more cred than Hennessey, who has about zero based on his business trading practices, from what I recall reading. Still, hope springs eternal. Also hope nobody kills themselves trying to go 311 mph in this thing. Even if I had a spare two or three million, I'd unfortunately already be far too late to get on the list for a Gordon Murray T50, which weighs 2150 pounds, has a bespoke Cosworth V12, and that big fan that sucks the car to the ground. Murray has a track record in F1 and the McLaren F1, Hennessey was always a horsepower freak above all else. All these irrelevant supercars available today speak to the fact that there are a few but significant number of people with the wherewithal to buy them. The 0.1% who've made out like bandits while the rest of us have essentially seen blah think of themselves as superior beings for gaming the system one way or the other for the most part. I always have some time for someone like Musk who actually makes things, but the financial types skimming riches off the top, none at all.

  • Theflyersfan Some of my extended family have lived in Orange County/Anaheim area since WW2 ended. They were in Anaheim before Disney and when there were actually orange groves. When I lived out there, I battled up from Ventura County down there a few times a month for dinner and ballgames and it was always interesting to hear from the older members about what things were like out there before it all really blew up. And how starting in the 1950s, they could no longer see the mountains anywhere and the sky was frequently this sick brownish haze. And then starting in the late 1990s, when things really started to clean up, they said there were now more days when they could see the mountains again compared to not, and it was really only the Santa Ana winds that brought in the gunk from the Inland Empire into the basin. There's still a long way to go - during the pandemic, it was wild seeing videos of how clean the air got when so many people were working from home, but it shows that even with all of the heavy industry there, it can be done. I know everyone is all over the map when it comes to climate change and causes or if it's happening, but regardless of views on that, I think we can all agree that burning less gasoline and diesel helps everyone breathe a bit easier when we don't have as many smog alert days.
  • Fred It's always someone else's fault. Now where is my bonus?
  • Canam23 I moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and half the time the air was unbreathable. It is 100% better now thanks to the work of the AQMD. If you remember, when the first pollution controls were mandated in the 70's, Detroit said it was impossible to meet them. The Japanese just started working on the problem and just did it. All the tougher laws to mandate air pollution have resulted in not just cleaner air for our children, but also much more efficient engines in our vehicles. So Stellantis, I'm not buying it.
  • Theflyersfan Nope. Has nothing to do with Gladiator sales falling off of a cliff and having 5-figure discounts. Or...YTD 2023 compared to last year:Compass +7%Wrangler -14%Gladiator -31%Cherokee -25%Grand Cherokee +6%Renegade -35%Wagoneer -31%Grand Wagoneer: -14%End of 3Q 2023: 490,106 Jeeps soldEnd of 3Q 2022: 541,297 Jeeps sold490K is still a decent number of expensive SUVs sold, especially Grand Cherokees, but it's still a decline. And people want the 4xe models, so that could reverse the trend if they crank more of them out. But let's blame the government for everything. It'll lead a news cycle on any red hat network.
  • VoGhost California is the reason Dodge and Chrysler were starved of new models for the past decade. OK...