The battle for the world's fastest production car has long raged between Bugatti's Veyron and John Hennessey's Venom GT. According to Guinness, the Veyron remains king with a registered top speed of 267.8 mph, but the Venom hit an unofficial 270.49 mph on NASA's Kennedy Space Center runway earlier this year.
To clear this up once and for all, the Texan tuner company has revealed plans for an upgraded Venom named the F5, a car it says may hit 290 mph. As John Hennessey often puts it, "don't mess with Texas."
Tweaking the Lotus Exige-based Venom GT doesn't just mean squeezing more power out of its 1,244 hp 7.0-liter twin turbo V-8, although a figure beyond 1,400 hp is expected due to enlarged turbos, increased intercooler size and an upgraded fuel system. Revised and modernized carbon-fiber bodywork slice a more aerodynamic stance (from 0.44 cd down to below 0.40), while downforce will be sufficient to eliminate the risk of the F5 morphing into a fighter jet without wings. Curb weight will remain similar to the GT's 2,743 lbs, and a single clutch automatic was deemed preferable to a dual clutch due to its weight and durability. A stick will still be available. Hennessey says that no Lotus components will be used in the new Venom F5.
Why F5? "I wanted to think of a simple derivative of the Venom brand that defines absolute power and speed," John Hennessey told Yahoo Autos via email. "The fastest (and most powerful) wind speeds on earth are those from the most destructive tornadoes. The Fujita scale rates tornado wind speeds from 1 to 5 (5 being the fastest)."
Hennessey has sold 16 Venom GTs to date (including one to Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler), and production will cease at 29. The F5 will be unveiled next year, with customers receiving delivery in late 2016. In total a "minimum" of 30 Venom F5s will be sold, making it eligible to be classed as a "production vehicle" by Guinness (the GT sits in a bit of a gray area).
The current Venom costs $1.2 million, and yes, the F5 will be more. How much more remains to be seen, but just imagine the insane speed you're buying. Is it a pipe dream? If any other tuner company claimed these stats, we'd probably laugh. But with Hennessey, these fighting words are taken seriously: "I think that something in the 290+ mph range will be possible with our new car," he says.