Faster than an F1 car and named after a F5 tornado, the new Hennessey Venom is the type of car that undoubtedly belongs to the Geneva Motor Show. It's about raw power and radical design. It is also as rare as they come, with only 24 products manufactured, half of which, according to the company, were already purchased for only $ 1.6 million each.
Much of what we know about the Venom F5 are the statistics that Hennessey Special Vehicles, the small company behind the car, has already shared. For almost a full year, the Hennessey Venom F5 of 1,600 horsepower and double turbo V8 is supposedly capable of pushing the car at 301 miles per hour. The company's founder, John Hennessey, said in a statement: "It's not about whether we're going to break 300 mph, but about when." (More on that in a moment).
The carbon fiber monocoque of the Venom F5 is surrounded by aluminum, which makes the car relatively light 1,360 kilograms (or just under 3,000 pounds). In total, it can reach 186 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds, and reach almost 250 miles per hour and stop again at 30.
That means the Venom F5 is heavier than the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, which was announced in Geneva earlier this week. But since the Aston was built specifically for track performance and has a more modest maximum speed of 225 kilometers per hour, and given that the Hennessey was built for madness, the Venom F5 would crush the Valkyrie AMR Pro in a straight line.
Photo of Vlad Savov / The Verge
And while theoretically we face other crazy cars of this year's show, the really fun showdown would be to see the Venom F5 take on the Rimac Concept Two. Once again, the maximum speed of Venom F5 of more than 300 miles per hour makes the 258mph of the Rimac seem pedestrian. But concept two is definitely fast. It can hit 100 miles per hour in less than five seconds, per Rimac, and outshines the Venom F5 horsepower demand by 300 or more. That would be a fun endurance race.
As for the claim of 300 miles per hour, it is believed to be one of the last achievable milestones when it comes to road cars. Hennessey is not the only company that tries to get there first; Other manufacturers of special cars such as Bugatti and Koenigsegg have come increasingly closer to the brand in recent years, and the latter touched 284 mph late last fall (although its average speed in two attempts was 278 mph). Other less recognizable companies are also trying to throw their hat into the proverbial ring.
Is there any meaning or value to most people in any of these ridiculous numbers? No, these are cars that everyone (probably) can never buy or even drive, and if we were, getting to 300 miles per hour is essentially impossible without closing a long stretch of straight highway. Many good arguments have been made about the work required to achieve speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, and about how to solve problems like preventing tires from falling apart matter as much as building the automobile in the first place. Whether a hyper-exclusive company like Hennessey, which was accused of potentially incomplete business behavior in 2016, may be the one to realize this, remains to be seen.
All the companies that make these ridiculous cars are working on or near what is essentially the performance ceiling for road cars in general, as well as the limit of what the human body and mind can bear behind the wheel. They do it because it contributes to great commercialization, but also because it could be one of the only ways to sell someone a multi-million dollar car. I may be a little jealous of the rich who end up owning or driving these cars, and somehow strange I'm glad they're funding these crazy ideas. Of course, as with many bold promises, there is always the possibility of being taken for a walk, even when they sit behind the wheel.