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.
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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