Unveiled at the SEMA show, the latest Venom is a follow-up shot at the record books from Hennessey
Hennessey Performance Engineering has history here. In 2011 it launched a heavily modified Lotus Exige - fitted with a twin-turbocharged 7.0-litre V8, and dubbed the Venom GT - to attempt a number of speed records; not least the right to call itself the fastest production car in the world. In 2014, on the arrow-straight 3.2-mile runway of the Kennedy Space Center, it hit 270mph - very slightly quicker than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport managed in 2010.
Of course, unlike Bugatti, Hennessey did not spin the car around and do it again the other way, which - in Guinness's view - rather negates the point of doing it in the first place. Nevertheless, the GT managed it, and it also managed (officially, this time) to hit 186mph from a standing start in 13.6 seconds - which is impressive, and also the net result of partnering 1,261hp with 1,244kg of kerbweight.
The relationship was clearly not lost on the firm when it came to design and build an in-house follow-up to the GT. The Venom F5 - F5 being the most powerful storm on the Fujita scale - is also powered by a twin-turbocharged V8, this time producing in excess of 1,600hp. It remains light, too: a carbon fibre body, seven-speed single-clutch transmission, and all-new rear-drive chassis contributing to a kerbweight of 1,338kg.
As before, the point - aside from charging 24 buyers £1.2m each for the privilege of ownership - is to deliver a "new level of hypercar performance". Being Texans, there is no beating around the bush either: Hennessey confidently predicts that acceleration to 186mph will be achieved in less than 10 seconds; from zero to 249mph (400km/h) and back to zero will be under 30 seconds - and the car is 'projected' to exceed 300mph.
Big talk, certainly. For the record, the new Bugatti Chiron managed 13.1 seconds and 32.6 seconds, respectively - and is 'anticipated' to hit around 288mph. It produces 1,500hp, and weighs the best part of two tonnes; so you can see where Hennessey is going with its maths - ditto the best-effort 0.33 drag coefficient claimed for its active aero.
"We've designed F5 to be timeless so that in 25 years it will still have a level of performance and design that will be unmatched," said John Hennessey, company founder and CEO. That's as maybe - but if Hennessey really wants its name next to 300mph in the record books, it'll need to get used to the idea (and challenge) of coming back the other way in Florida. Then it'll need to build one more car; 25 apparently being the cut-off point for Guinness's idea of 'production'.
Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)