Hennessey Performance had good reason to fly the star-spangled banner with pride when it recorded a top speed of over 270 miles per hour at the Kennedy Space Center this past February. That was, after all, faster than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport ever recorded. Unfortunately, the run wasn't official enough to take the crown away (at least to the Guinness Book of World Records people), but instead of simply trying again, or squeezing a bit of extra power out of the existing Venom GT, Hennessey is reportedly going back to the drawing board with a comprehensive list of upgrades.
According to Hennessey, the project has been dubbed F5, not after the Northrop fighter jet but after the tornado classification. That might seem like a bit much for most any other car, but Hennessey plans on backing it up. For starters, the 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is being reworked to deliver as much as (if not more than) 1,400 horsepower, and a new single-clutch paddle-shift gearbox is being developed (a manual will still be offered). New bodywork is being designed atop the Lotus Elise-based chassis to further cut the Venom's drag coefficient while delivering all the downforce it'll need to stay on the road. It's also set to get a new GPS-based traction control system that will be programmable for specific racing circuits.
All that and more is giving Hennessey a target of topping 290 miles per hour, potentially to be achieved at Bonneville. The Texas-based company reportedly plans on making 30 examples, each with a price tag expected to exceed the existing Venom GT's $1.2-million MSRP.
With the fury of a Texas tornado, 290 mph is within reach
August 4, 2014-For immediate release
Sealy, Texas-Here at last, the Venom F5, successor to the Venom GT. If you remember from Meteorology 101, the Fujita scale pegs the strongest tornado as an F5, with winds of 261 to 318 mph, so it's a fitting name for this next-generation Venom that's the very definition of power and speed. The F5's bold, lower-drag shape, additional power and enhanced technology will push this Texas-built hypercar to velocities previously unimagined for a road-legal, series-produced vehicle.
"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."
The laws of physics are immutable, so the step up from the Venom GT's 270.49-mph world record speed will come from both an increase in power and a reduction in drag from the clean-sheet carbon-fiber body. The drag coefficient drops from 0.44 to below 0.40 while still generating significant downforce through both the upper body shape and underbody venturis, a rear diffuser beneath the rear bumper and a retractable rear wing.
The next-generation twin-turbo powertrain is still under development, but turbo size for the longitudinally mounted V8 is increased, and the fuel system and intercooler capacity are upgraded to handle the demands of increased boost. Hard numbers for power are not yet available, but it's conceivable that output could exceed 1400 bhp. Pennzoil will continue as a key technology partner, and its Ultra Platinum full synthetic oil-the factory fill for both the Venom and every Hennessey-built vehicle-will ensure the performance and reliability of the F5's engine under the most extreme conditions.
With extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum, weight will remain under 1300 kg (2866 lb.), just slightly more than the Venom GT's 1244-kg curb weight. So it's highly probable the F5 will eclipse the Venom GT's current acceleration records too, which stand at 14.51 seconds to 200 mph, and 13.63 seconds to 186 mph (300 km/h).
Several new technologies will be introduced, the most transformative being single clutch paddle-shift transmission (a standard H-pattern manual transmission will still be offered for purists), whose reduction in shift speeds will enable the F5 to accelerate even more quickly. And a GPS-based stability/traction control system will help to channel the F5's immense power and provide an increased margin of safety, whether on a racetrack or back road. "Of course, the Venom F5 retains the raw, explosive edge that makes the Venom GT such a thrill ride," said Hennessey partner Don Goldman, "but these changes will make the F5 easier and more satisfying to drive, day in and day out."
The Venom F5 will be unveiled in 2015 with deliveries to customers in late 2016. At least 30 Venom F5s will be produced for sale worldwide, at a price higher than that of the Venom GT, which currently sells for $1.2 million. The Venom GT will continue to be offered; at present, 16 cars of the 29-car total production run have been sold.
About Hennessey® Performance
Established in 1991, Hennessey® Performance (HPE) now operates from a new facility comprised of a 36,000 square foot building that is located adjacent to Lonestar Motorsports Park, the company's test track and IHRA sanctioned ¼ mile dragstrip. The 143-acre complex is located about 45 minutes west of Houston, Texas along Interstate 10. Hennessey® offer a wide variety of dyno-proven, track-tested parts for modern performance vehicles. In addition, Hennessey® operates Tuner School, the world's first fully state-licensed school dedicated to teaching and training future performance vehicle tuners.
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