Beyond Speed Records: Hennessey’s Ambitions for Venom F5

Venom F5 Aims to Break Records at US Circuits, Says Hennessey Design Exec

The previous year, Hennessey had hinted at a potential speed milestone for the Venom F5, claiming that it would take place on a public road in Texas. However, this plan never came to fruition. As we spoke with Hennessey’s design director, Nathan Malinick, we inquired about the reasoning behind this change of plans.

According to Malinick, “If you want to know why we haven’t gone to that highway yet, you’ll have to ask the guys building it; it’s not finished yet.” The construction of this highway has been ongoing for approximately five years, and once it is completed, Hennessey is prepared to make their move. The American supercar manufacturer has already received tentative approval from the Texas Department of Transport (DOT), making the freshly-tarred highway an ideal location for their attempt. However, Malinick emphasizes the dangers of attempting such a feat, stating that “the slightest bump at 300 mph could easily result in a loss of life.” This is why Hennessey is patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity to make their record-breaking attempt, as arranging such events can be quite chaotic.

Despite not occurring in the initially planned timeline, Malinick ensures us that the record attempt will still take place, along with several other attempts. “We are determined to pursue those records, whether it be through top-speed runs or on a track. Our goal is to make a lasting impact with F5.”

Our interest was immediately piqued when he mentioned race track records, and we couldn’t help but think of the ultimate goal for any production car: conquering the Nordschleife. However, it is highly unlikely that this will happen anytime soon. While Hennessey has never attempted a lap record at the Nurburgring before, they made a significant addition to their team last year in the form of Brian Jones, who has experience in setting lap records. Jones previously worked at Multimatic, where he played a role in the development and production of cars such as the impressive Mercedes-AMG One, which has already proven its capabilities on the challenging Nurburgring circuit.

According to Brian Jones, setting up a full satellite division at the Nurburgring is no easy task. He explains, “We spoke to Brian Jones about what’s involved, and it’s not easy. You effectively have to set up a full satellite division at the Nurburgring to make that happen.” Jones, who is a part of the team, further reveals their desire to achieve this feat, stating, “We’d love to do it, and we’re all petrolheads here and dream of doing things like that.” He also believes that their car, the F5, has the potential to achieve a highly competitive time at the Nurburgring. However, he acknowledges the challenges faced by a small company in attempting such a grand endeavor, stating, “But it’s really tough for a small company to do something on that scale.”

According to Malinick, the ideal approach would be to explore nearby racetracks before venturing further. “There might be some tracks to the west of us, and possibly others in the US that we can test our car on,” he suggests. One such track to the west is Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. However, if Hennessey wants to break the COTA record, it will have to outdo another domestically produced supercar. Currently, the record is held by the Czinger 21C, which set a remarkable lap time of 2:11.33 in 2021, surpassing the previous record set by the McLaren P1.

Czinger 21C at Circuit of the Americas: Sets a New Production Lap Record

Following COTA, there are a few more records that we could potentially aim for, such as Laguna Seca and maybe even Pikes Peak. And if Pikes Peak is on the table, then Hennessey has already found the perfect candidate to steer the wheel of the Venom F5. In December 2023, Hennessey announced the recruitment of American racing champion David Donohue as the designated test driver for the Venom F5. Donohue’s impressive list of triumphs includes victories at major racing events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He also secured a category win at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2023 while driving a Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport.

Hennessey undoubtedly possesses grand aspirations and is swiftly recruiting the necessary staff to turn these aspirations into reality. This marks a significant departure from their previous endeavors, wherein they customized a Lotus to break speed records on a runway. It seems that they are now determined to compete head-to-head with major players in the production-car record-breaking scene.

Despite their ambitious goals, Malinick and his team are well aware of the challenges and dangers involved in attempting to break speed records with the Venom F5 and its Roadster counterpart. While they remain confident in the capabilities of their vehicles, reaching a top speed of 300 mph and setting a new record is no easy feat.

“It’s not just a car, a driver, and some telemetry that have to be present for a record attempt,” states Malinick. “It’s a whole team, and you plan for weeks only for the day to arrive, and the weather’s bad.” He reminds us that there is more at stake than just machinery and data. “You’ve also got to remember it’s a human life in that car, and it’s a dangerous thing going after these records.”

As future record challenges loom, do not anticipate Hennessey to jeopardize their safety in the name of online debates about which company produces the swiftest street-legal vehicle.

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