02 June, 2018

Hennessey Venom F5 - The 300mph Car

Hennessey, the American car maker has claimed their Venom F5 hypercar can reach 300mph. This will be the first of its kind and presents numerous challenges such as drag, tyres, engine and more. 

However, engineering history has taught us that unthinkable feats are always possible. Let's take a look at some of them.

First Car to Reach 100mph

The first production car to reach 100mph happened over 100 years in 1905. Wealthy car owners would go down to Ormond Beach in Florida to race their vehicles. The prize was bragging rights among other participants and also world records. Due to the nature of the cars being raced, it meant hiring a driver to race the car as these cars were powered by steam and needed too many adjustments.

Arthur MacDonald was tasked with driving a Napier capable of producing 90hp and owned by S.E. Edge. MacDonald was able to reach a record 104.6 mph during a flying mile and made himself the first driver to travel at 100mph in a production car.

Trivia - MacDonald's record stood for 15 minutes but H.B. Bowden's $50,000 twin-engined-Mercedes was later disqualified.

First Car to Reach 200mph

The iconic Ferrari F40 which threw comfort and style to the wind and focused only on speed. The last car approved by Enzo Ferrari in 1987, it became the first production car to reach 200mph which at the time was unthinkable. 

Since then, the Ferrari F50, Ferrari Enzo and LaFerrari are some of their other cars which go beyond 200mph.

Trivia - The Ferrari F50 is powered by a V12 engine that was heavily developed from the 3.5L V12 engine used in the 1990 Ferrari F1 Car.

First Car to Produce 1,000bhp

Just over 100 years after Napier produced a 90-hp car, the SSC Ultimate Aero completely obliterated their engine power and also became the fastest production car in the world when it achieved 256.1 mph! At the time, it was expected to go fast because it was the first car to produce 1,000bhp (1,047bhp to be exact) with its 6.3L V8 supercharged Chevrolet V8 engine. 

Trivia - The first passenger car to use a turbocharger was the Oldsmobile Jetfire in 1962. It was sporting a 3.5-litre V8 and a Garrett turbo attached

First Car to Reach 300mph?

Trying to think of an analogy for travelling 300mph is quite difficult because it's never happened in a road car before. However, there's one in the name. The F5 is inspired by the Fujita scale which is used to measure wind speeds. Starting with F1, F5 measures speeds between 261mph and 318mph. 

Trivia - Hennessey claims that the Venom F5 will be able to perform 0-186mph in 10 seconds, yes 10 seconds!

Challenges Facing the Hennessey Venom F5

What challenges does Hennessey face in reaching 300mph? We have picked out four which is comprised of weight, drag, engine and tyres.

Weight

The weight of the car will have a dramatic impact on the speed it can reach. A car which is too heavy will develop higher drag and this harms speed. The Venom F5 will sport an in-house carbon fibre low-drag body which puts the weight of the car at 1338kg. 

Trivia - This is lower than the Koenigsegg 1 which weighs 1360kg.

Drag

Aerodynamics influence how a car travels through the air and when you want to travel 300mph, you will need to be as efficient as possible. The Venom F5 boasts VMax mode which drops the rear wing and opens flaps to cover any ducts to improve its aero. 

In addition, the Venom F5 is completely bespoke. It's built from the ground up in carbon fibre and has a rear diffuser making it a lot sleeker than the Venom GT. 

Trivia - The first road-car to use active aerodynamic devices to increase stability at certain speeds was the Volkswagen Corrado in 1987.

Engine

Powering a car to 300mph will require a monster engine. The Venom F5 has exactly that with a 7.3L twin-turbocharged V8 which produces more than 1600bhp. 

Trivia - The Koenigsegg 1 has a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine.

Tyres

Tyres are the only point of contact a car has with the road and when you want to go 300mph, they will need to be incredibly resistant to the mass heat build up. The Venom F5 will be throwing all of its power to the rear wheels which creates a massive emphasis on this area of the car. Furthermore, the downforce created will also compound the pressure on the tyres.

Current Record Holder

The current record holder is the Koenigsegg Agera RS that reached 277.9 mph on 5 November 2017.

Prior to Agera RS, Hennessey and Bugatti got into a ruckus when the Veyron was found to have a speed limiter but was still awarded the Guinness World Record of being the fastest car in the world. Guinness awarded the record to the Venom GT before giving it back to the Veyron.

The third manufacturer fighting for this title is Koenigsegg whose One:1 model can reportedly reach 280mph.

Final Words

The race to 300mph is heating up and the three horse race between Koenigsegg, Bugatti and Hennessey will certainly lead to some surprises and also records being made and we look forward to writing about them.

There will only be 24 of the Venom F5 and because they will be priced at £1.2m, it represents a bargain for any car enthusiasts. 

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The 300mph Car - The Hennessey Venom
The 300mph Car - The Hennessey Venom
The 300mph Car - The Hennessey Venom
The 300mph Car - The Hennessey Venom