“If everybody is moving in one direction,” explains John Hennessey, “I like to go the opposite way.” That, ladies and gentlemen, is confirmation that we won’t see an all-electric version of the Hennessey Venom F5.
With new EV hypercars popping up on a seemingly weekly basis, Hennessey wants to keep things old school. “If the market is moving towards electrification, we are the old-school guys who believe in a maximum power to weight ratio delivered via a 1200kW-plus, twin-turbo V8 internal combustion engine,” he told us
Why? Because he points back to the grand tuning traditions of Colin Chapman and Carrol Shelby, and the cars they were building more than 50 years ago.
Not that the Venom F5 needs any electrification. Said twin-turbo V8 is a 7.6-litre motor, with a machined block, steel cylinder sleeves, a pair of ball-bearing turbos with billet compressor wheels and a dry sump set-up. Though 1200kWis quoted, Hennessey’s already confirmed to TopGear that this engine has been tested at well over 1500kW.
Not for the sake of power, but for the sake of speed. He doesn’t want to just beat his Bugatti and Koenigsegg-shaped rivals, he wants to obliterate them. “300mph (480kph) is kind of the baseline,” Hennessey told us last year. “That’s where we would like to begin.”
Nor is he that concerned by either of his rivals. “Giving our customers the most exciting driving experience is what it’s all about for us,” he said. “However, I love that Christian and the Koenigsegg team are always pushing themselves to build faster cars.
“And don’t forget about Bugatti – if they decide to build a Chiron Super Sport you can bet that it will be a contender.”
He noted how the final horsepower figure for the production Venom F5 will be revealed in due course, but that it’ll deliver as much power as is necessary to crack 300mph.
The development programme is all on schedule, apparently. There’s lot of build and engineering work happening at Silverstone, the first prototypes will be built in June, and the plan is to reveal the car to customers in August at the Pebble Beach automotive week.
After that? “We’ll begin testing the Venom F5 at higher speeds from September through the end of this year.” Only a few Venom F5s from the 24 cars planned still remain up for grabs, and each will cost R21mil a piece. The final, final production car will be revealed in 2020.
End of the horsepower wars, you cry? Pah.
Original content: Venom F5 TopGear