Hennessey' Venom F5 eyes up the 290mph mark

Could this topple the Bugatti Veyron's top speed record?

Texas tuning outfit Hennessy has just released details of its latest Bugatti botherer - the 290mph Venom F5.

We bet the mood was pretty sour in the Bugatti office when news broke earlier this year that a small tuning outfit from Texas managed to hit an astonishing 270.49mph in one of its creations.

The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport - officially the world's fastest production car - managed 269.86mph during its certified Guinness Book of Records run and, thanks to the original Hennessy Venom only completing one run rather than the required two, the French outfit still clings to that prestigious title.

But these Texans aren't ones to be easily beaten and have just hit back with a new creation that is said to tickle the 290mph mark if called upon.

The Hennessy Venom F5 (named after a ferocious tornado) is based on the previous generation Venom, which itself is a freakish mutation of a humble Lotus Exige.

Engineers have decked the latest release out in all-new bodywork, which not only looks menacing but also reduces the drag coefficient to ensure it slices through the air at speed.

The engine - a 7.0-litre twin-turbo V8 - has also been modified and adapted to produce in excess of 1400bhp, while weight has been kept under 1300kg thanks to a diet of carbon fibre and aluminium.

A power-to-weight ratio of 1,000bhp per tonne is on the cards once final preparations have been made and to put that into perspective, the Veyron SS develops around 630bhp per tonne. One-nil Texas.

But don't think the Hennessy Venom F5 is simply a hulking brute without a brain as it will also pack a neat GPS-based traction control system that can be pre-loaded with circuit information. This allows the advanced traction systems to read a racetrack and adjust levels of grip according to the surface type, camber, incline and much more.

We will have to wait until next year to find out if it is truly faster than a Veyron but if it is, customers can start placing orders for the £712,000 beast straight away.

Nobody said 290mph was going to be cheap.