Hennessey Performance Engineering
Making Fast Cars Go Faster Since 1991
John Hennessey’s business car reads “Horsepower Evangelist.” He always wants more for his cars and never stops talking about how to improve their quality and performance. He and his dedicated staff of expert craftsmen at Hennessey Performance Engineering have more than 100 years of combined experience in designing, testing, manufacturing, and installing high-performance automotive upgrades. With a 30,000 square-foot workshop and showroom facility on 143 acres near Sealy, Texas, HPE offers a wide variety of dyno-proven, track test parts and upgrades for a variety of modern performance vehicles.
Hennessey Cars & Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™
PENNZOIL Transcript—United States/Performance/Our Network/Hennessey Performance Engineering
[Title] Hennessey Cars & Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Synthetic Motor Oil
Description: Hennessey staff talk about their cars and Pennzoil Ultra Premium
[Background music] Synthesizer with drums
AN INSIDE LOOK
FULL SYNTHETIC MOTOR OIL
with PUREPLUS™ TECHNOLOGY
OWNER, HENNESSEY PERFORMANCE
MAKERS OF THE WORLD’S FASTEST PRODUCTION CAR
John: At Hennessey Performance, we take fast cars and make them go faster.
Close-up of the rear wheel and side exhaust of a vehicle on a track, engine whining. First that car and then another speeds past the camera. A helicopter follow the second vehicle as it goes down the track.
Professional driver on a closed course
As John speaks, the camera pans around a red Ferrari with Hennessey badging.
John: Each new vehicle that we’re considering to modify…we’re looking at adding horsepower; we’re looking to improve the performance of the vehicle without radically altering the exterior or the look of the vehicle. Our general philosophy is to walk softly and carry a faster stick. So, our cars go faster, but they don’t have the appearance that they’re going to be faster.
As a cameraman takes pictures, the red Ferrari burns rubber and speeds down a track.
As a man begins to speak, we see the rear of a white Corvette, with badging that says “Hennessey” and “HPE 500/POWERED BY HENNESSEY.” The temporary plate says “Hennessey/POWERED BY [PENNZOIL LOGO].” He stands next to the vehicle as he speaks as the camera pans to different parts of the engine.
Mitch: So, this is the 2014 C7 Stingray Corvette. This one has our HP 600 package on it, which is ported cylinder heads, higher-lift camshaft, a full exhaust system including long tube headers, high-flow cats. These things come in with a seven-speed manual transmission. They’re making right at about 410 to 420 horsepower to the tire. And by the time we’re done with it, we’re up 490 to 500 to the tire.
A technician sits behind the wheel, watching the engine’s performance on a laptop computer. The rear tires spin furiously.
Cut to the steering wheel and then the rear of a white Ferrari as Mitch continues speaking. The engine badge says “Hennessey/TWIN TURBO.” The Ferrari then appears on the track.
Mitch: So, this is a Ferrari 458 Italia, getting our twin-turbo upgrade. Bumps the power output to about 738 horsepower. The car performs outstanding already from the factory, but after our modifications, we tend to knock down about half a second off the zero-to-60 time.
Driver powers the vehicle around the track. As Mitch speaks, two containers of Pennzoil are shown, Platinum and Ultra Platinum.
Mitch: So, when we’re finished with the car, we fill it with Pennzoil Ultra Platinum, and it performs well.
John: So, I built a sedan, a Cadillac CTS-V sedan, a few years ago, with 700 horsepower, and we’re out at the dragstrip testing the vehicle. It had drag radials on the car so it would launch really, really hard. It would pull about a G off the line. And when I got to the end of the drag…the end of the quarter mile…the OnStar system came on the vehicle, and some lady was asking me, “Hey, have you been in an accident? Is everybody okay?” And I thought, “Uh, yeah. We’re fine. We’re all okay.”
Footage from that day as the OnStar assistant talks to John while he’s in the car.
John: And so later on in the day, we’re looking at the video and we thought that was pretty funny, so we put it on YouTube. And the next day, we had about 400,000 views.
WHEN THEY PUSH THEIR CARS
BEYOND THE LIMITS
THERE’S ONLY ONE MOTOR OIL THEY TRUST
As John speaks, shots of the Ferrari on the track, vehicles inside the Hennessey factory, car racing by, a corrugated wall with the Pennzoil logo on it.
John: At Hennessey Performance, our clients may drive their cars every day to work, or they may even want to go out and do a race at Bonneville, and so we have to have the confidence that every vehicle that we produce can perform at the highest level with the greatest degree of reliability. And we trust our motor oil to Pennzoil Ultra Platinum with PurePlus Technology because we feel like that’s the best oil to keep our engines performing at their best and with the greatest degree of reliability and performance.
Two containers of Pennzoil shown again, Platinum and Ultra Platinum. Then a race driver on the track and a shot of the vehicle speeding away.
John: PurePlus is an absolutely breakthrough technology. No other motor oil has been made this way. Because the base oil is made from natural gas, it starts with fewer impurities than crude oil. When the pure oil is combined with the high-performance additive package, you get complete engine protection. We feel like the Pennzoil product is the oil that gives us all of those things and allows us to have the best performance.
with PUREPLUS™ TECHNOLOGY
AND HENNESSEY PERFORMANCE
The white Corvette pulls away from the camera on a highway.
John: Hey, if we trust it, you should trust it. That’s all you need to know.
John Hennessey, the founder and owner of Hennessey Performance Engineering, was born with a love of fast cars and speed events. In 1991, John left his job as a successful entrepreneur in the environmental services industry and turned his life’s passion for cars into his life’s work. In March 1993, the future and successful growth of HPE was set into motion. A customer was impressed by Hennessey’s winning drives in the Nevada Open Road Challenge events, and came to him with one of the first Dodge Vipers in the country for modifications to make the car competitive in similar events.
The modifications and tuning resulted in an increase of about 100 horsepower. It was dubbed the Hennessey Venom 500 Viper. The car’s subsequent 164-mph average run in the Silver State Challenge started the ball rolling, and the next few years saw a large demand for Hennessey-enhanced Vipers. By 1996, HPE was dealing exclusively in the V10 Chrysler super sports car. Since opening the doors of HPE for business, Hennessey has built cars for the likes of Jay Leno, Bob Lutz and other Chrysler executives. HPE is the only tuner in North America to operate its own test track with its Lonestar Motorsports Park, a 1.4-mile track where they put Pennzoil® Synthetics to the test in every vehicle they build.
Breaking Barriers and Setting Records
On February 14, 2014, John Hennessey and the team at HPE set a new world speed record for two-seat sports cars by reaching a top speed of 270.49 mph in the Venom GT, dethroning the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport that had held the record since 2010. Pennzoil chronicled the pursuit of speed in May of 2015 on the National Geographic Channel with the film Breaking Barriers.
Fast forward to May 27, 2015, and John Hennessey and the HPE team made another appearance in the record books by setting the speed record for a 2015 Ford Mustang GT at 207.9 mph. This special moment was featured in an episode of Jay Leno's Garage on CNBC in October of 2015.
Making the Hennessey Performance VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged
PENNZOIL Transcript—United States/Performance/Our Network/Hennessey Performance Engineering
[Title] Making the Hennessey Performance VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged
Description: John Hennessey talks about making an extreme pickup truck for off-roading
[Background sounds] Car engine turning over
John Hennessey, founder and owner of Hennessey Performance, sits next to a Ford VelociRaptor, discussing its development and purpose.
FOUNDER HENNESSEY PERFORMANCE
John: Hi, I’m John Hennessey. We make fast cars go faster.
[Background music] Dramatic violins
John: Part of that process is we like to build cars that set world records.
Quick cuts of John and his staff as they work in the shop.
John: So, the guys from Top Gear in England called us up and said, “Hey, look. We want the ultimate pickup truck for an extreme off-road adventure, and we really can’t tell you exactly what we’re doing.” And I’m thinking, “I know what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna take this truck and you’re gonna punish it beyond belief.”
[Background music] Tense music
Clips of the VelociRaptor powering through deep mud and then snow.
[Background music] Quieter guitar and drums, then louder rock
Close-ups of the yellow Raptor, including its special Hennessey badging. Shots of staff working on the car, adding Pennzoil Ultra Platinum to the engine. Quick shots of the truck again powering through all kinds of snow and mud.
John: Ford knows how to the build the F-150 and the pickup truck better than anybody, and they built the Raptor where it’s Baja capable, straight from the dealership, and so the challenge to us was, “Don’t screw up a good thing. Let’s make it more fun. Let’s make it more powerful. But it’s gotta be a thousand percent reliable.”
As John speaks, quick cuts of various parts of the truck, as well as off-roading scenes.
John: It’s got our 600-horsepower supercharged upgrade. It’s got upgraded fuel injectors. Upgraded fuel system. We reprogrammed the engine management computer to handle the additional boost, on pump gas, fully smog compliant. We modified the air intake, so it’s got better airflow through the supercharger. And then we do a cat-back exhaust system, and that adds a little bit more sound and a little bit more horsepower.
Shots of John and staff testing the Raptor on the dynamometer.
John: So, before we ran up to Canada and handed the VelociRaptor over to the Top Gear guys, we had to do our own testing. So, the testing in the VelociRaptor is pretty extensive. We ran on the dyno, made sure that it made the right power…the tune was right. Then we went over to our garage. We have a quarter-mile drag strip next to the shop, and ran it over there. Ran great. And then we ran it off-road extensively, both here in Texas and in Colorado.
John hops in the cab. Shots of snow driving.
[Background music] Easygoing guitar riff
A white Hennessey performance vehicle speeds down a track.
John: I like speed so much because it just gives me a feeling that I can’t get from anything else.
Shots of magazine covers and photos of when the Hennessey Viper beat the Ducati Veyron in a Road & Track contest. Viper on the track.
John: So, since the Viper came out in ’93, we’ve modified thousands of Vipers, broken a lot of world records with it, and then culminating with a 2007 Road & Track shootout where we beat the Ducati Veyron in the contest of zero to 200 miles per hour.
Camera pans around John’s Venom, his own personally designed car. Shots of the Venom at Kennedy Space Center, including a trophy shot of the team displaying the world record certificate.
John: But I always had this desire to want to build my own car, to have lots and lots of horsepower with minimal weight. And that’s where the kind of the idea of the Venom came along. So, on Valentine’s Day 2014, we took our Venom to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and then we set the world record for fastest street-legal production two-seat car, at 270.4 miles per hour.
Shots of John and his staff. Final shot is of the VelociRaptor headed up a snowy hill toward a snow-covered mountain.
John: You know, my title on my business card should probably say, “Horsepower Evangelist.” I enjoy sharing performance and speed with our clients. I really enjoy sharing the process with our people that work here at HP, that are very passionate about what we do. We build about five hundred vehicles a year, so we’re really busy fulfilling those dreams for our clients, and it’s a lot of fun to build our production work and always have a new mountain to climb.
Other Appearances and Notable Vehicles
In March of 2015, Hennessey Performance Engineering made a splash on BBC and BBC America with an appearance on the extremely popular show, Top Gear. The show tested the limits of the Hennessey Performance VelociRaptor Supercharged 600 truck in an adventure through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, crossing rigorous terrain in extremely cold temperatures.