For almost as long as there has been cars, there have been car races. The first officially recorded race was in 1895, 9 years after the first gasoline powered car was built, but common lore states that the first race was held the first time two automobiles were in the same place, and knowing human nature, that is probably closer to the truth. Racing is a huge passion for millions of people. But even those who don’t ever sit down to watch a NASCAR race are likely to be interested when it comes to world records.
When it comes to the fastest car, there are a few directions you could go. Just to cover all the bases, I’ll take a look at a few of the records out there that could technically be called the “fastest car.”
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
The official record for a production automobile according to the Guinness Book of World Records is held by Bugatti, and has been since 2005. The current record was set in 2010 by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, and stands at 269.86 MPH.
So we’re clear, here’s how Guinness defines a production automobile:
“An automaker must build at least 30 cars to qualify, and the car making the run cannot be a one-off or a track-only machine. It must pass emissions tests, and it must have headlights, turn signals and all the basic amenities you’d expect in any car you’d drive on the street.”
But while that is the official record, it doesn’t go without a challenge.
Hennessey Venom GT
In February of this year Houston based manufacturer set a new record: 270.49 MPH. There was just one problem. The record was set on a NASA runway in Florida, but the Space Agency only allowed the car down the track once. In order to set an official record, a car has to be driven twice, back to back, in opposite directions, and the official speed is the average of the two. This is to negate any advantage that might be granted by wind direction. Still, whether or not it stands in the record books, Hennessey isn’t backing down on it’s bragging rights. In fact, they’re in the process of upping the ante with their next car, the Venom F5. F5 stands for the highest rating a tornado can be given, with winds up to 300 MPH. You do the math there.
Porsche 918 Spyder
Getting into it a little deeper, we find the record for fastest acceleration. This one records acceleration from 0-100 MPH, and stands at just 2.2 seconds! So while it may not have the fastest speed, it gets up there faster than any other car.
Finally we can go a little crazy. If we throw out the whole “production automobile” thing, we can include some truly insane records. The record speed for a wheel driven vehicle was 481.329 MPH by the Vesco Turbinator in 2001. The overall land speed record for a land vehicle was set by the jet propelled ThrustSSC in 1997 at 763 MPH. That run also has the distinction of being the first (and, so far, only) land vehicle to break the speed of sound.
Records are made to be broken, and it probably won’t be long before this list is completely different. For now though, each of these cars can hang on to their place in history.