John Hennessey, the founder of Hennessey Performance, has vowed to beat Bugatti's 304-mph Chiron with the upcoming Venom F5 hypercar.
Earlier this week, Bugatti stunned the world by revealing a prototype Chiron that managed to break the 300 mph barrier. At Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien, driver Andy Wallace reached a top speed of 304.77 mph.
It was a momentous occasion and one that will certainly go down in history as the first production car to exceed 300 mph. It was also quickly followed-up by a statement from Bugatti president Stephan Winkelman saying that the French carmaker would stop chasing top speed records and that if VW hadn't tied their hands to a German test track they could have gone even faster.
John Hennessey, speed and power aficionado extraordinaire, had some criticism for Bugatti's record-breaking performance, not the least of which being that the final top speed figure was a single run in a single direction.
"I’m surprised Bugatti did not run both directions,” Hennessey told Top Gear in an interview. By only running in a single direction for their top speed run, Bugatti invalidated their chance to be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, which requires any top speed dash to be done in two directions, with an average speed taken between each run.
Previous record-breaking attempts were done in this way as an industry agreed-upon standard of making top speed record attempts. Koenigsegg did it in 2017 with the Agera and even Bugatti themselves did it in 2010 with the Veyron.
Bugatti has explained that the Ehra-Lessien test track has a certain directional grain in the asphalt, and going against it in the opposite direction was seen as too dangerous to the experimental Michelin tires.
Hennessey also said he believes Bugatti was low-balling the Chiron's power figures. “I’m really intrigued by how much horsepower Bugatti’s engine was really making on the run. To run 40+ mph faster than the Chiron Sport that TG tested on the same track would take a lot more than a 100 hp bump, lowered suspension and some rear aero adjustments. We’re guessing that their one-off Chiron was pushing closer to 2,000 hp."
With typical Hennessey bravado, he then vowed to defeat Bugatti at their own game with the upcoming Venom F5 hypercar. “F5 will be at least 450kg lighter than the Chiron and will have more power than they are claiming. We can beat it and have a couple of highways in the USA where we think we would have enough room to hit our absolute top speed, but we would prefer to do this in Texas if possible.”
You can read the whole interview over on Top Gear.