Debate around what is the world’s fastest car goes into overdrive today with what is claimed to be the first 300mph production road car. This is no machine from the European performance car aristocracy. This car hails from Texas.
It’s the Hennessey Venom F5, the biggest – and certainly the fastest – star unveiled at the SEMA performance car trade show in Las Vegas. With a twin turbo V8 pumping out 1600bhp to the rear wheels the all-new American hypercar is claimed to have a top speed of… 301mph.
“The Venom F5 is designed and built from the ground up with one goal in mind: to be the absolute fastest road car on earth,” says the company, which is well known in the US for its extreme performance mods, including 1200bhp conversions of Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers. Its other star at the SEMA show is a 700bhp six-wheel drive version of a Ford pickup called the VelociRaptor.
The Venom F5 is no conversion but a model in its own right that Hennessey wants to build 24 examples of, at a price of $1.6 million (£1.2m) each. The looks may be derivative but first sight of the first yellow F5 shows it to be a step up in styling terms on Hennessey’s previous Venom GT. The all-carbon body is said to focus on aerodynamics, with low drag (the Cd is an unremarkable 0.33) the priority in order to deliver that astonishing top speed.
Will it really achieve 300mph? That is yet to be proven, but Hennessey has been here before. In 2014 its 1244bhp Venom GT was briefly world’s fastest car when it hit 270.49mph on the Space Shuttle runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. But when Bugatti pointed out the run was in one direction only, a row ensued and Hennessey’s record was disqualified. In most people’s eyes (and certainly Guinness Records) to be official, top speed runs have to be the mean of runs in both directions.
Today it is generally acknowledged that the world’s fastest car is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport World Record Edition at 267.856mph, although Hennessey claims that without its speed limiter the car is modified, which would rule it out of contention. The Bugatti Chiron has an official top speed of 261mph and while many think it would get closer to 300mph it has never officially been put to the test.
Whatever its top speed, the Venom F5 should not be slow in reaching it. With 1600bhp and an all-up weight of 1338kg its power/weight ratio is almost 1200bhp per tonne, doubling the power/weight ratio of the Bugatti Chiron.
Hennessey claims its Texan tornado will go from 0-186mph in less than 10 seconds which it maintains will “make it quicker than current Formula 1 race cars”. Zero to 249mph and back to rest will be under 30 seconds, says the firm.