John Hennessey talks to us about the Hennessey F5
2 November 2017 - Autoblog
A this year's SEMA show, Hennessey revealed the new F5 hypercar. While it is still being developed, the company already claims some impressive stats.
The engine is slated to produce 1,600 horsepower and the company claims the car can reach 301 mph - and if it can deliver, this will be an impressive machine. We had the opportunity to talk with John Hennessey, the man behind Hennessey Special Vehicles and Hennessey Performance, to learn a little bit more about the car.
Hennessey told us that the company wants the F5 to be good road and track vehicle, but that it's not aiming to set a record at the Nürburgring. That being said, the company would like the car to do a lap in under seven minutes. He doesn't mind if there are other cars faster in that time bracket, just that the F5 will be under that seven-minute threshold. If the F5 can reach that time, it'll be in the rarified company of cars like the Lamborghini Huracán Performante, Porsche 918 Spyder, and Radical SR8LM.
Whether the F5 can hit these performance targets will depend on V8 in the middle, the spec of which is not currently finalized. Hennessey says that it is a fully original engine not based on any existing one, such as the LS-based unit in the Venom GT. He didn't share any details about the powertrain, other than that it will be a V8 configuration. He did mention that it will probably have twin turbochargers, but that it might have more. Final powertrain details will depend in part on what his customers are looking for.
Speaking of customer demand, Hennessey told us that feedback is what prompted the move to build a completely original car from engine to exterior. A couple of his friends told him he should really build something fresh, and he took the advice. Interestingly, for developing a completely new car bearing his name, Hennessey didn't have many hard requirements for the way the car looked. He suggested to his designer, whom Hennessey wouldn't reveal, that it should look like a fast animal, like a peregrine falcon, and that provided the inspiration for the exterior. The other hard requirements were that the exterior would allow for an eye-watering top speed, and that the car should have distinct headlights. As Hennessey told us, he feels that headlights are like a person's eyes and important for the car's identity. But again, he didn't have a specific look in mind, it just had to be distinctive. He does like the concept's current lights that have an "F" motif – like the name of the car.
Hennessey had one more interesting tidbit regarding design. One of the goals was to have substantially less drag than the 0.44 Cd of the Venom GT. The company has achieved that at 0.33 Cd, but apparently the design team managed to create a version that went all the way down to 0.31. The problem was that it had some pretty absurd and impractical spoilers and overhangs, according to Hennessey. So those aspects were dialed back to improve the looks, and the company still hit the 0.33 Cd mark.
Finally, Hennessey said the company is aiming for production and deliveries around 2019 or 2020. As previously mentioned, the car is set to retail at $1.6 million, and 24 examples will be sold.