The Hennessey Venom F5 Thinks 278 mph Isn’t Fast Enough

After setting a contested top-speed record, Hennessey is upping its game with a new model. Blast off.

In 2011, the Venom GT rolled out of the Hennessey shop in Sealy, Texas, like a howling rocket. It linked a laughably powerful 1244-horsepower, twin-turbocharged version of the Corvette ZR1’s seven-liter V8 to a rear-drive, manual transaxle, and wrapped it in the skin of a featherweight Lotus Exige. In terms of potency, you can put the Hennessey up against anything on Earth.

Within weeks, the Venom GT set the production car speed record, hitting 270 mph—2 mph faster than the best the European superstar, the BugattiVeyron, could run. However, the Veyron still officially holds the world record, since the Venom was only verified at 270 mph on a one-way pass. Two are required to be official. Anyway, Hennessey claims a 278 mph unofficial v-max.

Claims are claims, though. So, Hennessey has now built a second Venom, the F5, with new aerodynamics and a bump in power that to achieve a 290 mph top speed.

Photo Courtesy of Hennessy Performance

While renderings show a slippery new shape, much of the underlying architecture—a fortified and stretched Lotus chassis—remains the same. What will be new are larger turbos, a single-clutch paddle-shift transmission, and a GPS-based traction control system, all of which will help the Venom F5 get superlative numbers while hopefully maintaining its excitingly dangerous nature.

It’s name is certainly dangerous enough. This F5 is no dry European alphanumeric. No, F5 is the classification given to the fastest tornadoes on the Fujita scale, ones with winds over 300 mph. With that name, we’re sure Hennessey’s Texas Twister will give those Europeans something to worry about.

Photos by Hennessy Performance