John Hennessey aiming to take Venom F5 to 311 mph

That's 500 kph, and the car may need 1,700-plus horsepower to get there

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John Hennessey has said that "We believe our car is capable of going well beyond 300 mph" when speaking of his Venom F5, and we thought 301 miles per hour was his target. Turns out it's not - what he means is 310.6856 mph — or a nice, round 500 kilometers per hour. Eleven extra ticks might not seem like much when you're already doing 300, but every additional mile per hour is another battle.

Hennessey's already said the Venom F5 has a drag coefficient of 0.33. Using that figure and the calculator at Wallace Racing to work out horsepower needed for a given speed, a 3,000-pound car with a frontal area of 20 square feet would need 1,216.51 hp just to move air out of the way. That doesn't include overcoming rolling resistance or other factors. To go 311 mph, the same car would need 1,355.29 hp. That's 139 additional ponies, more power than found in many small cars on sale today. Hennessey's numbers guys figure the Venom F5 will need 1,520 hp to do 300 mph, so they're looking at another couple hundred horses to hit 311.

Not that it should be a problem. During Pebble Beach we were told that 7.6-liter twin-turbo, pushrod V8 is currently rated at 1,600 hp at 7,200 rpm, and the company plans to hold that redline. Previously, though, the tuner said the motor's been turned up beyond 2,000 hp.

The Texas firm will begin testing prototypes sometime in 2019, with high-speed validation runs expected to commence toward the end of that year. The first effort will focus on breaking 300 mph, then, "After we break 300 we'll see how much faster we can go." Assuming that happens, the 311-mph run might require changes beyond a horsepower hike, such as aero modifications, but eventual customer cars will be outfitted to the same spec as the 300-mph car.

On top of that, Hennessey has plans for an internal-combustion-engined car that could hold its own in a drag race with the coming, second-gen Tesla Roadster. He told Motor Authority that "[If] Dodge can make a 4,000-pound Demon go 0-60 in 2.3 seconds," he's confident about getting "a tire on the F5 ... that will be running in the high 1-second range, 1.8, 1.9 second range...."

And remember, the SSC Tuatara is out there, too, with its 1,750-hp engine. After Jerrod Shelby said his coupe is the only one with a real shot at 300 mph, we figure he'll be out to break any mark Hennessey sets. The next two years should prove interesting in the top speed wars.

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