The Bugatti Chiron became the first production car to achieve 300 mph in 2019, but the world is still waiting for the first convertible to find its way to the big 3-0-0. Debuting at this year’s Monterey Car Week, the Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster becomes the latest contender in that race. With 1,817 horsepower and an engineered top speed over 300 mph, the Roadster is just as ready to navigate its way to world record fame as the Venom F5 Coupe, only the new car promises to let its driver feel the intense speed rushing through their coiffed follicles while deafened by the thunderous roar of the engine.
Texan tuner-turned-supercar manufacturer Hennessey previously set the world’s fastest convertible record at 265.6-mph (427.4-km/h) with the F5 Roadster’s predecessor, the Venom GT Spyder. In fact, unlike the outright production car record, it held those convertible bragging rights rather free and clear up until the overachievers at Koenigsegg scuffed things up by setting the (since surpassed) all-out production car speed record in an Agera RS, which has a removable hardtop of its own. Hennessey still claims the convertible record, but esteemed arbiters like Autocar (but not Top Gear) put Koenigsegg atop the top-optional speed heap.
The Agera RS did run its record with its roof panel on, while the Venom GT captured its own without a top. However, to complicate things a little more, Hennessey notes in its Venom F5 Roadster announcement that the car’s top speed will be limited when the roof panel is removed. So it sounds like it will need to attempt its 300-mph (483-km/h) run with the roof in place (or by deactivating the limiter, a whole different can of worms). And if it plans to get credit for a roof-on run, it should probably recognize the Agera RS as the world’s fastest convertible, here and now. Muddy waters, indeed.
But we’re not here to argue a case in favor of either Hennessey or Koenigsegg. The entire point is that the Venom F5 Roadster has the capability to make the entire discussion moot, eviscerating all asterisks and question marks and stamping a bold, black, beautiful three-digit number in the books. And if it happens to start with a 3, all the better.
If and when it does make a bid to officialize its speed capability, the Venom F5 Roadster will have an impressive 1,817-horse battalion joining it for battle. That horsepower, and the 1,193 lb-ft of torque accompanying it, originate in the same mid-mounted 6.6-liter twin-turbo V8 ‘Fury’ engine that also sits amidships the F5 Coupe. With help from a seven-speed single-clutch automated transmission, the Fury delivers max power to the rear wheels at 8,000 rpm and top torque at 5,000 rpm.
Hennessey believes that both the Coupe and Roadster are capable of hitting 300 mph, so we’ll have to wait and see which it runs first. Usually the coupe would be a very safe bet, but if Hennessey wants to simultaneously take the production car record and vanquish any stake Koenigsegg can claim on the convertible record, perhaps the F5 Roadster will get the first go at it.
Projected top speed isn’t the only quality the Roadster shares with its older hard-headed brother, and Hennessey promises both cars are “are nearly identical mechanically.” Differences are concentrated around the body, starting with the most conspicuous: the centralized roof panel crafted from carbon fiber composites, insulated against cold weather and lined on the inside with velvety Alcantara. A pair of latches and a quartet of quick-release bolts separate coupe-like overhead protection from breezy blue skies.
The 18-lb (8.1-kg) panel stores away in an accompanying merino wool travel bag or, if you’re something of a pretentious douche, as a “standalone work-of-art on a custom-made, sculptural pedestal” crafted from carbon fiber with design cues that match the car. That’s a little gross even for a superfluous, extraordinarily expensive supercar, if you ask us, but we’re not in the market for a new Hennessey, anyway.
Another distinguishing feature of the F5 Roadster is its jet aircraft-grade transparent engine cover. Designed to withstand speeds over 300 mph and temperatures exceeding 1,000 °F (540 °C), the thick hunk of tempered glass puts the beating heart of the Roadster on full display – and it’s a more tasteful, less pointless silent brag than a hunk of sports car roof in your living room.
The 3,098-lb (1,405-kg) Venom F5 Roadster weighs a flat 100 lb (45 kg) more than the F5 Coupe, going by Hennessey’s spec sheets, and it packs power to weight at ratios of 0.59 hp/lb, 1.29 hp/kg and 0.96 kW/kg. Hennessey developed the F5 Coupe’s carbon monocoque with the roadster variant in mind from the get-go, so all it had to do was some selective tweaking to make up for the loss of a permanent roof in delivering the same level of stiff, precise handling.
Hennessey is showing the F5 Roadster at this weekend’s The Quail, and interested parties will be able to snap up one of just 30 planned examples. Each model will cost a cool US$3 million and will be fully customizable. Those who won’t be attending The Quail can also register interest at hennesseyspecialvehicles.com or by calling +1 979.885.1300. Just don’t wait long if you’re serious – Hennessey notes that all 24 F5 Coupe models sold out shortly after the car’s showing at last year’s Monterey Car Week.
Yep, there’s promo footage:
World’s Most Powerful Open Top Hypercar: Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster