Not so long ago, the question of the fastest car in the world was all about the speeds around 300 km/h. In the meantime, the 400 km/h level is the measure of things in the segment of street-legal series cars. With Toroleo magazine, you can explore which speed giants are there on public roads today.
The first and the last record holder
The fastest car in the world at 63 km/h: The electric vehicle "Jeantaud Duc" decorated itself with this honourable title on December 1898. Near Paris, the French racing driver Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the first documented speed record of the automobile history with it. On 29 April 1899, his racing colleague Camille Jenatzy reached a speed of over 100 km/h with his electric vehicle "La Jamais Contente" for the first time in history. As the numbers of the competing cars back then weren't many, it wasn't that hard to determine the fastest one in the world. Today, on the other hand, it is necessary to distinguish between various series cars, road traffic regulations and tuning bodies. The overall record for land vehicles has risen by a remarkable 1165 km/h in the last 100 years. Thrust Supersonic Car (Thrust SSC) has been listed as the fastest car in the world since 15 October 1997. With the speed of 1228 km/h, the jet-powered rocket car was the first vehicle to break the sound barrier in Nevada on 15 October 1997. However, there's a very low chance to meet this vehicle on the road.
Bugatti Veyron holds 2 road records
Bugatti Veyron holds the speed record for street-legal series cars since June 2010. On the test track of Volkswagen AG, the 16.4 Super Sports Edition reached a top speed of 434 km/h. This makes the 1200 hp sports car the fastest car in the world among the road going vehicles produced in series. In order to spare the tyres, however, the standard model of Veyron is throttled to 415 km/h on production. The roadster version, Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sports Vitesse, is a world record holder as well. Its top speed is 408.84 km/h, and it holds the record since 11 April 2013.
Not the first anymore: SSC and Dauer
With the new speed record, Veyron Supersport succeeded SSC Ultimate Aero TT (1199 hp, 412 km/h speed record) and Dauer 962 LM (730 hp, 405 km/h speed record).
The 962 LM was the fastest sports car in the world until April 2005. © mvlamborghini via Youtube.com
The manufacturer Shelby Supercars (SSC), however, might once again push the Veyron off the throne this year. The five copies of the Aero XT special edition are to reach a top speed of 439 km/h (273 mph) thanks to their 1300 hp.
The 400 Club
Not only Bugatti, SSC and Dauer, but various other manufacturers can already offer road going vehicles that reach speeds of over 400 km/h.
9ff GT9-R: Designed as the "fastest car in the world"
With the 9ff GT9-R based on the Porsche 997 GT3, the Dortmund tuning company 9ff produced a street-legal sports car, which was to become the fastest car in the world thanks to its 414 km/h speed record. However, before the top speed of the 1140 hp sports car could be officially confirmed, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport appeared on the scene.
Koenigsegg Agera R
With the new generation of Agera R, a Swedish car manufacturer Koenigsegg introduced a real top speed racer to the market last year. This sports car will not reach the theoretical maximum speed of 440 km/h, though. As a result of road traffic regulations, the top speed of the 1140 hp racing car is expected to be 415 km/h.
The fastest car in sprint: Hennessey Venom GT
Hennessey Venom GT, a road-legal super sports car, can reach a speed of 427 km/h according to its producer. Officially, however, the top speed of the 1261 hp-strong racer has not yet been confirmed. Texas Muscle Car is still a record holder: In January 2013, the super sports car based on a Lotus Elise set a new world record in sprint car racing. From zero to three hundred in 13.63 seconds – what is left to Bugatti and Co. is to be totally amazed and to drive behind.
Are we close to 500 km/h?
At this year's Geneva Motor Show, in early 2014, Koenigsegg One celebrated its international premiere. The new top-of-the-line model from the Swedish sports car producer delivers breath-taking 1000 kW (1341 hp) and is expected to top more than just an in-house super sports car Agera R due to its top speed of 440 km/h. According to Koenigsegg, there will soon be several new top-speed records in the sprint and high-speed categories. They do not publish official record attempts so far, but a few figures have been already leaked. Thus, according to the group statement, Koenigsegg One:1 reaches 400 km/h from the stand in 20 seconds only.
The Tran Star Racing manufacturer has also announced something great. Dagger GT is expected to reach top speeds of over 500 km/h. 2000 hp are supposed to make this super sports car the fastest car in the world. The car will consist mostly of carbon. It will have wing doors and make the streets shiver on high-performance tyres of remarkable size – 375/20 (rear) and 325/25 (front). Despite its breath-taking performance, the power pack will have a valid road registration. Custom-made Dagger GTs are expected to be sold around 10 to 15 times a year. However, whether a suitable road can be found to go for a ride on this super sports car, remains questionable.