Aimed squarely at the 304mph Bugatti Chiron, the Hennessey Venom F5 hypercar claims to be setting sight on taking out the title of “world’s fastest car”.

    With production limited to only 24 units, and a starting price of US$2.1 million (AUD$2.8m plus government charges, which will see you without a whole lot of change from AUD$3.5m), I wouldn’t get your hopes up of securing one. Although we have been promised there will be a RHD version, with only 24 units, chances of getting your hands on one are going to be fairly slim.

    As for the badge? The “F5” is named after the highest rating on the Fujita scale of tornado strength. I guess that’s pretty appropriate given the mind blowing specifications.

    Now I know you’re probably going to draw attention to the SSC Tuatara’s 316.11mph run, but following some questionable data, it appears that Hennessey have dismissed that record and are simply aiming to beat the current “official” record holder – the Chiron.

    The Venom F5 was unveiled (albeit in a very disguised foam/fibreglass model) back at SEMA 2017. We took a close look at it and saw the car was more or less a shell on a non functional chassis without a functional driveline.

    1817HP Hennessey Venom F5 claims it will be the world's fastest car at 501km/h (311mph)
    Pic Credit: AutoNXT

    Since 2017 though, the original 1244-horsepower 7.0-liter V8 has been switched to a 6.6-litre twin turbo pushrod V8 wound up to an eye watering 1877hp (1355kW), with an 8000rpm redline pushing out 1617Nm of torque – most likely in response to the ever changing goal-posts for the world’s fastest car. These numbers are set to make the F5 the world’s most powerful production car period.

    The F5 is a mid engined hypercar based around a UK-built carbon fibre tub weighing a meagre 86kg (192 pounds). John Hennessey tells us the car itself tips the scales at only 1360kg. To put that into perspective, that’s the same weight as a Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ, but with over nine times more power.

    Although the first unit will be hand built in the UK, the remaining 23 units will be produced in Sealy, Texas, USA.

    Enough with the chatter, let’s cut to the details. Well, Hennessey says the car can sprint from 0-100km/h (62mph) in 2.6 seconds, and a staggering 0-200kph (124mph) time in just 4.7 seconds.

    Still having trouble getting your head around the 311mph number? That is 500km/h…that’s right…500km/h!

    Whether we will actually see all 24 units produced remains to be seen. To date, Hennessey hasn’t had a great track record for meeting their targets, but if they can actually get these things on the road, I for one am excited to see it in action as it truly is a beautiful machine.

    Hennessey Venom F5 specifications:

    • Weight: 1360kg (2998 pounds)
    • Body: Carbon fibre monocoque tub, aluminium roof
    • Layout Mid engine, rear wheel drive
    • Engine: 90 degree V8 6.6-litre, twin turbocharged pushrod, cast iron with alloy heads, forged conrods and pistons
    • Turbochargers: 2x twin ball bearing 76mm with 3d printed titanium housings at 23psi
    • Power: 1355kW (1887hp) @ 8000rpm
    • Torque: 1617Nm (1193 pound-foot) @ 5500rpm
    • Redline: 8200rpm
    • Power to weight ratio: ~1000kW per tonne (1:1)
    • Gearbox: 7-speed CIMA, single-clutch (SMG) automated
    • Differential: Limited slip differential
    • Suspension: Conventional control arms, with bump and rebound adjustable coilover spring design
    • Wheels: 19inch front, 20inch rear
    • Tyres: 265/30/19 Front, 345/30/20 Rear (Michelin)
    • Top speed: 500km/h (311mph), theoretical top speed based on gearing 537km/h (334mph)
    • 0-100km/h (62mph): 2.6
    • 0-100mph (124km/h): 4.7s
    • Length: 4666mm
    • Width: 1971mm
    • Drag coefficient: 0.39
    • Drive modes: Sport, wet, drag, track and V-Max.
    • Cost: AUD$2.8m plus on-road costs

    Now onto another point of contention, exactly what constitutes a production car?

    One of the reasons the previous claim to the title by other automakers of the “World’s Fastest Production Car” was that there were insufficient functional models created, or they failed to do a successful two way pass.

    Production car definition

    For the purposes of this list, a production car is defined as a vehicle that is:

    1. constructed principally for retail sale to consumers, for their personal use, to transport people on public roads (no commercial or industrial vehicles are eligible)
    2. available for commercial sale to the public in the same specification as the vehicle used to achieve the record
    3. manufactured in the record-claiming specification by a manufacturer whose WMI number is shown on the VIN, including vehicles that are modified by either professional tuners or others that result in a VIN with a WMI number in their name (for example, if a Porsche-based car is remanufactured by RUF and has RUF’s WMI W09, it is eligible; but if it has Porsche’s WMI, WP0, it is not eligible)
    4. pre-1981 vehicles must be made by the original vehicle manufacturer and not modified by either professional tuners or individuals
    5. street-legal in its intended markets, having fulfilled the homologation tests or inspections required under either a) United States of America, b) European Union, or c) Japanese law to be granted this status
    6. sold in more than one national market.

    Measurement of top speed

    To establish the top speed for cars the requirement is, in addition to the above, an independent road test with a two-way run. The mean of the top speed for both runs is taken as the car’s top speed. In instances where the top speed has been determined by removing the limiter, the test met these requirements, and the car is sold with the limiter on then the limited speed is accepted as meeting this requirement. For the McLaren F1 the estimation by Car and Driver about the speed at the rev-limiter is used.

    John Hennessey plans to schedule the record attempt at NASA’s 5.15km long runway at the Kennedy Space Centre next year, followed by a second more public attempt on a closed highway if a suitable road can be found.

    If you’ve got your heart set on one of these and have a cool AUD$3m laying around, there are 12 units already spoken for, so you better get that cheque book out quick smart!

    Mark Trueno

    Mark Trueno is a CarExpert Contributor.

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