The new Hennessey Venom F5 - An all-round performance machine fuelled by speed
Priced at $2.1 million dollars, just 24 ultra-exclusive versions of the Venom F5 will be produced with each example unique to its owner. The heart of the car is the Hennessey-built 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine named ‘Fury', which delivers 1,817HP at 8,000rpm and packs 1,617Nm (1,193lb-ft) of torque.
Deploying this unprecedented level of power in a car weighing just 1,360kg (2998lb) results in prodigious acceleration: 0-100kph (62mph) takes less than three seconds and it will smash a 0-200kph (124mph) run in under five seconds. As part of its validation, the F5 is targeting a top speed in excess of 500kph (311mph) and will prove this with a transparent and independently verified top speed run in 2021.
The Venom F5 project is overseen by company Founder and CEO John Hennessey, who has shaped every aspect of the car's specification, design and development. John has combined knowledge from the company's past 30 years of making fast cars faster with the highest levels of specialist engineering talent.
John Hennessey: "Our customers love speed, so we're fired-up to push the boundaries of what's possible to attempt the world's fastest production car record, but the Venom F5 is about more than just speed and power. This car will handle superbly, quality is exceptional, there are more than 3,000 bespoke parts, materials are exquisite, everything is a fitting tribute to 30 years of the Hennessey brand."
The Venom F5 is a symphony of mind-bending numbers, but that's not the whole story. The car's dynamics have been developed by Hennessey's in-house dynamics guru – legendary US racing driver and vehicle set-up expert John ‘Heinrocket' Heinricy. During the car's development, his input will ensure that F5 offers a world-class all-round driving experience on road and track.
The F5's status among the world's greatest hypercars goes far beyond its world-leading performance figures. Its design, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre monocoque, premium quality and bespoke construction all place it at the pinnacle of global hypercars.
Underscoring this position at the peak of hypercar performance, the F5 will complete top speed testing in the first half of 2021 at the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. Subsequent top speed run will follow an intense period of real-world development at Hennessey's own testing facility, plus the Circuit of The Americas – with John Heinricy leading the development team and conducting the bulk of hands-on testing.
The F5 aims to exceed 500kph (311mph) on a two-way validated speed run using a production specification car. The record attempt will be independently verified by the world-renowned experts from Racelogic using VBOX GPS data acquisition systems. Racelogic / VBOX engineers will be on site to install, test and calibrate the speed testing equipment in the F5 to ensure absolute accuracy and transparency. In addition, VBOX engineers will verify all test data and final speed numbers. The speed test will be attended by independent witnesses, media guests and F5 customers. GPS data and uninterrupted video footage will also be made publicly available following the speed test.
Distilling 30 years of expertise, knowledge, and world-class engineering, the F5 is seen as the culmination of the Hennessey brand's innovation and success. Additionally, it serves as a launch-pad for the next 30 years and is a significant leap forward for the company. The F5 marks the beginning of a new era of Hennessey vehicles designed to delight the driver and celebrate performance engineering.
The mission – Designing a decathlete for the road John Hennessey: "Records are there to be broken and our customers love that we push the boundaries of engineering to develop the world's fastest cars. But, with the F5, we wanted to create a true ‘decathlete', a car that is about so much more than speed. So, under the guidance of legendary racing driver John Heinricy, our team is focused on producing a driving experience that matches the car's performance credentials."
Vehicle dynamics – fully-rounded performance at any speed A car with huge power and relatively low weight takes a great deal of expertise, real-world development and precision fine-tuning to ensure it is a great car to drive on the road at all speeds. Developed as an-all round performer, the F5 will blend high levels of driver engagement and outright performance to create a motoring experience unlike any other.
John Hennessey: "This car goes against the grain of modern hypercars, many of which have become soft and docile. The F5 resets the balance, having been designed from the ground up to be the antithesis of the ‘everyday hypercar' – it will always be an occasion to drive."
Key to the development of the F5's dynamics is legendary racing driver and vehicle dynamics expert John Heinricy, who is the Chief Engineer on the project. He moved to Hennessey from his position in charge of all performance vehicles at GM, where he spent 38 years. Heinricy has more than 240 professional races under his belt, including thirty-five 24-hour races and multiple race / championship wins, he also holds three FIA Speed Records and has in excess of 1,000 laps of the Nürburgring to his name.
Heinricy: "Of all the cars I've engineered in my career, the Hennessey Venom F5 is one of, if not the most accomplished, exciting and rewarding cars to work on. With the F5 we started off with a blank sheet of paper. This is such an advantage for vehicle dynamics, as it has allowed me to draw upon the best parts of cars I have worked on throughout my career. It has given me the freedom to design the layout of the car exactly as I wanted it to be and equip it with the best possible componentry. Our intensive track and road development will ensure this car handles and performs as impressively as the world's best hypercars."
The rear-wheel drive F5 produces 1,817HP and weighs a mere 1,360kg (2998lb). These facts combine to deliver a power-to-weight ratio of 1.34HP-per-kg (1,298hp-per-ton) – well in excess of any road car on sale today. As a key strength of the F5, its tremendous power and lightweight construction help to shape the extreme, visceral and untameable nature of the F5 as an unstoppable force in the hypercar world.
Key to the F5's development, is making the driver feel perfectly in-tune with the car while delivering exhilaration and rewarding handling characteristics. The F5's development will produce a car that inspires driving confidence at all speeds with the accuracy and feedback-rich responses of a race car. Every part of the new model will be touched by Heinricy and his team, whose exacting standards will ensure the F5 offers a world-class driving experience.
Heinricy has driven almost every supercar and hypercar ever made, and so has an almost unparalleled library of vehicles to reference. For F5, his driving dynamics benchmark cars are among the world's greats. He cites McLaren's 600LT and the Porsche Cayman GT4 as examples of cars that offer first-class driver involvement and feel.
As with these leading examples of great driver's cars, the F5 was always designed to be light to ensure nimble handling at lower speeds, while enabling high top end performance. The rigidity offered by the F5's 86kg (190lb) carbon tub is crucial, not only for stability at high speed, but also for precise cornering and road-holding. The monocoque is a huge part of what makes the F5 a great driver's car, its torsional rigidity (52,000 newton meters per degree or 38,353 lb-ft torque per degree), providing a solid base to build from and proving essential for the car's agility.
Compared to other hypercars, the F5 will offer ‘more bandwidth'. Capable of being driven easily on sweeping rural roads or at speeds in excess of 500kph (311mph). With more than 1.0G of acceleration and a furious sound that combines the thunderous V8 muscle car rumble with turbo whistles and pops, this car will offer the world's most visceral driving experience.
The key to the car's dynamic setup is in the quantity and quality of data collected by Hennessey's engineers. Heinricy will tune the car by calling on his unparalleled experience and ‘feel', while the data adds context to his qualitative inputs.
Aerodynamic performance, which has been refined and evaluated extensively using computational fluid-dynamics (CFD), will be perfected by Heinricy in the real world with a series of ‘coast-down' tests. These run the car to a designated speed then coast while recording downforce and drag.
Alongside aerodynamics, significant consideration was given from the outset to both unsprung mass and achieving a low centre of gravity. The F5 uses carbon ceramic brakes, forged aluminium wheels and lightweight Penske dampers to keep unsprung mass low, helping the car to feel nimble and ‘alive'. The centre of gravity is kept low by positioning the powertrain deep within the car's sub-structure. The Hennessey-built engine features a dry sump that enables the crank height to be kept very low to the ground.
With the engine delivering such immense power, one of the challenges for the Hennessey engineers is how best to transfer the car's colossal forces through its rear wheels to the ground. This is handled with precision by the car's Motec controller, which will be calibrated for optimum power and traction control. In addition, five different drive modes (Sport, Track, Drag, Wet, F5) can be selected that alter the power delivery, traction and braking performance of the car. Only the top ‘F5' mode will unlock the maximum available power.
The car's huge 345 / 30 section 20-inch rear tyres provide a substantial contact patch to boost traction under acceleration and cornering. At the front, the 265 / 35 section front tyres are mounted on 19-inch wheels. Michelin will test its Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres to ensure they can withstand the speeds and loads that the car will generate.
With Heinricy's experience and meticulous eye for perfection, the F5 promises to be a very special car, dynamically calibrated on feel and corroborated by data. Designed in the virtual world and honed in the real world – the F5 will fulfil John Hennessey's vision to be a true ‘decathlete of the road', delivering the pinnacle of all-round performance.
Engine – ‘Fury' by name, fury by nature – the beating heart of Venom F5
The F5 is powered by a rear-mid-mounted 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine that generates 1,817HP at 8,000rpm. This power, 277HP-per-litre, in a car that weighs just 1,360kg (2998lb) generates a power-to-weight ratio of 1.34HP-per-kg (1,298HP-per-ton) – the highest of any road car.
John Hennessey: "Our team built the Venom F5's ‘Fury' V8 motor with one vision – to deliver a unique and unparalleled driving experience. The engine commands complete respect. It's intimidating – in a good way. It totally dominates the driving experience and keeps goading you to unleash its power, challenging you tame it."
Patty Lanning, Vice President of Marketing, Shell Lubricants: "Shell has been eagerly anticipating this day and we are fortunate to have technical and co-engineering alliances with some of the most iconic automotive visionaries like Hennessey.
"Working behind the scenes with them on one of the most powerful and stunning road cars we've seen has been an incredible experience. We share a passion for performance and know that our Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic motor oil will protect and power the F5 across any finish line."
No other automotive business in the world has such an exclusive focus on high output engines. Over the past 30 years the Hennessey team has evaluated, optimised and re-engineered some of the world's most powerful road car engines. All this unparalleled experience has been harnessed for the Venom F5, creating a supremely powerful, monstrously loud, totally intoxicating powerplant.
The Fury is a 90-degree push-rod cross-plane crank V8 engine that weighs 280kg (617lb). Using all 30 years of the Hennessey team's knowledge, the bespoke unit features an all-new cast iron block and aluminium cylinder heads and runs an aggressive road cam providing a characteristic off-beat race car sound and feel. Each engine is hand-built with precision components crafted from high-grade metals including aluminium, titanium and Inconel. These include the crankshaft, pistons, valves and connecting rods.
A unique intake manifold design places the intercooler between the plenum and cylinder heads allowing the inlet air temperatures from the turbos to be greatly reduced before the charged air enters the combustion chamber, resulting in greater air density and enhanced power efficiency. The Fury's multi-stage dry sump oil system uses Pennzoil 10w60 synthetic motor oil to deliver optimum performance right up to its 8,500rpm (in F5 mode) redline.
Additional power is delivered by two bespoke-built high-output precision ball-bearing turbochargers with 3D printed titanium compressor housings and 76mm (3-inch) billet aluminium compressor wheels. Set right at the rear end of the engine bay sits a bespoke stainless-steel and Inconel exhaust system, which is treated with Cerakote to protect the engine bay from excess heat.
Cerakote is a ceramic-polymer treatment that is often applied to the inside of gun barrels to protect from heat and wear. By coating the underside of the engine bay cover, rear deck, and the entire exhaust system, the impact of heat on each part can be reduced significantly.
Fury lives up to its name, the engine is loud, immensely powerful and offers abundant torque – 1,617Nm (1,193lb-ft) at 5,500rpm. The powertrain exhibits an extremely flat torque curve, meaning that the F5 produces high levels of pulling power from very low down in the rev range.
The F5 uses a specially-designed longitudinally-mounted semi-automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Having evaluated all potential options, the Hennessey team chose the only option capable of transferring the F5's furious torque to the road – a single-clutch CIMA gearbox with seven ratios.
The set-up features close ratios at the lower end for rapid acceleration, with longer higher ratios to achieve a top speed in excess of 500kph (311mph). This means that the F5 offers an engaging drive at normal road speeds but can also hit record-breaking numbers. While the top (7th) ratio has a theoretical top speed of 534kph (332mph), the Hennessey team does not plan to hit this speed, it simply allows sufficient scope to pass the 500kph target.