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Hennessey CEO explains what’s coming after the Venom F5

Hennessey is building another one for the purists

Jon Hennessey standing in front of a Venom F5
Hennessey

When it comes to hypercar manufacturer Hennessey, all eyes are on the Venom F5 for obvious reasons. The V8-powered vehicle should be challenging for the tile of world’s fastest production vehicle at some point in 2024. But what comes after that? Is Hennessey going to try and get 2,000 horsepower out of an engine? Is the gasoline evangelist going electric like many other passengers have? Or is the F5 the last original thing you’ll see a Hennessey badge on?

The Manual recently caught up with the man himself, and it turns out the answer is “none of the above.” When alluding to his upcoming project, Hennessey says: “We’ll build 99 Venom F5s, probably up through 2027 or 2028, at which time our next car will be in production. So 2028 at the latest, and that program is codenamed Project Overlord.”

Despite most details being pretty hush-hush at the moment, Hennessey did reveal a few things about his next project. It won’t be breaking the 2,000 horsepower barrier, but it will be more of what his customers and admirers seem to love. There’s a solid logic behind it all, and it goes back to the kind of purism Hennessey Performance Engineering is known for.

It isn’t all about speed

Hennessey Venom F5
Hennessey

While Hennessey had to keep a lot of the plans to himself, he did let us into a few secrets about Project Overlord. Unlike the Venom F5, which seemingly exists to push the internal combustion engine to its limits, Hennessey’s next vehicle seems to be more focused on the experience. The CEO spoke about that experience in the context of the F5, saying: “Not just the speed, but it just have just Automotive joy and excitement. The sound, the smell the vibration, as well as the g-forces. So, that’s That’s what we’re currently doing.”

The hypercar manufacturer goes on to state that Overlord “is not about setting records, it’s not about VMAX or zero to 60 or 0 to 40 and back to zero. That cars all about the driving experience. So it’ll have about half the horsepower. It might be 900 versus 1800 plus horsepower in the F5. It’ll be a manual. It will be lightweight. It will be very much a driver’s focus car.”

Hennessey is building one for the purists

Hennessey Venom F5 V8 engine
Hennessey

On the one hand, this is the total opposite of what the Venom F5 and its predecessor, the Venom GT, were. Both hypercars were there to push boundaries and break barriers. The GT was the fastest car in the world in its day, and the Venom F5 is likely to take that title by the end of 2024.

But on the other hand, the core experience is the same. Hennessey wants his cars to be an experience more than anything. It’s a piece of automotive purism where you feel, hear, and smell every second of your time in the vehicle. It’s raw and passionate, a bit like the 1992 Dodge Viper, but with at least some semblance of sanity attached. You can achieve that without breaking records. Then again, the toned-down Hennessey isn’t exactly going to be tame. 900-horsepower maybe half of what the F5 offers, but Overlord will still be one of the most powerful vehicles on the road. We’re talking Dodge Demon territory there. And while Hennessey isn’t looking for things like 0-60 times, they are likely to come naturally with that sort of power and a low overall weight. Another thing to note is the exact engine type. Hennessey is likely sticking to the V8. Some manufacturers have gotten great performance figures from electric powertrains. Others, like McLaren, Ferrari, and Bugatti, are turning towards hybrid systems to give their vehicles a boost in the horsepower department and provide that instant torque when needed. Hennessey isn’t going down that route, and he gives some clear reasons why.

He says: “I think that’s what’s important about the Venom F5, and it’s important about the next car that we’ll do after F5, and that’s being purely internal combustion. It still has all of the sensory inputs and all of the things that give us that visceral feel.”

So, we may have a rough outline of Hennessey’s next original, but plenty of details are still to come. We have a rough idea of the horsepower but not an exact figure. We know it will be a pure ICE vehicle, but the whole V8 thing is an educated guess. It will be lightweight, but how lightweight has yet to be seen. And even if we were given a price (we weren’t), a lot can change in four years. But one thing is for certain. Like everything rolling out of Sealy, Texas, “Overlord” will be far from boring. So, this is one that’s definitely worth keeping track of.

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