Home » Here Are All The Production Cars That Could Be The First To 300 MPH

Here Are All The Production Cars That Could Be The First To 300 MPH

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Performance cars boast various figures like 0-60 mph times, horsepower, and torque in an effort to sway fans and buyers alike. One particular statistic, top speed, often gets ignored as most of us can never get close to our vehicle’s top speeds. As of this writing, there’s one big barrier that could fall at any moment; namely, the first car to go over 300 mph in two directions. At least five companies could capture that record and I’m here to break them down. I’ll even guess at which one snags it first. 

Some of you may very well know that Bugatti has already propelled one of its production cars past the 300 mph barrier. That record has some important caveats that we should talk about though. First, that car only went 300 mph in one direction. Why does that matter? Various environmental factors can affect a VMAX (maximum velocity) run. 

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The slope and wind both play a large role in the top speed that a vehicle can reach. In one example that we’ll consider more deeply soon, a car went 284.6 mph going one way but could only manage 271.2 in the opposite direction. The first production car that can go 300 mph on average in two separate directions will be the very first of its kind in history. 

02 Bugatti Css300+ Last Delivery Record

The Bugatti Chiron that managed 304.77 mph in one direction also has another small caveat worth mentioning. It was what the automaker called “near-production” specification. So in truth, it wasn’t actually a production car and that goes without highlighting how far from a “normal” production car any of the cars in this class are. Bugatti changed quite a few components for its singular run past 300 mph.

The rear wing and airbrake were removed, the seventh gear ratio was higher, the engine was a tad more powerful than in a regular Chiron, and the tires were made by Michelin specifically for the attempt.

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Even with all of that behind it, the team at Bugatti needed multiple days to reach the speed it did. It’s almost understandable that after reaching its top speed, the automaker’s CEO of the time said it would stop pursuing top speed records. 

Whether or not that’s true is up for debate but there’s no question that at least four other brands are in the conversation. Let’s chat a little about each one of them. 

Koenigsegg

Kenozache Img 2494

This is the company that ran back-to-back runs of 271.2 and 284.6 for an overall average top speed of 277.87. It did so with a 2017 Agera RS pumping out some 1,341 horsepower in the Nevada desert on Highway 160 just outside of Pahrump. It used 11 miles of closed road to safely attempt and secure that speed which still stands as the two-way average record. 

This year, Koenigsegg could attempt to take the record to new heights with its new Jesko Absolut. Built as a top-speed machine, the Jesko Absolut makes 1,625 horsepower on E85 and according to internal models, Koenigsegg told Carup.se that it believes the Absolut will go north of 310 mph (500 km/h) under the right conditions. The Swedish automaker has already proven its pedigree in this field and we can’t imagine that it’s making slower cars these days. The chances that Koenigsegg hits the mark first are good. 

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Shelby SuperCars (SSC)

60c7994feb4dfc27d0ded2a1 Tuatara Airfield 4

This is the ironic pick. In the eyes of most I talk to, it’s the dark horse in this competition, and at the same time, it’s the only one in the group to have already claimed that it accomplished this feat. Those two things might be linked but I’m getting ahead of myself. SSC said back in October of 2020 that it had AVERAGED 316.11 mph across two runs in opposite directions. It said that its car, the Tuatara, was so fast that it actually went 331 mph during one of its runs. 

60c7994eb2c615e903d646b0 Tuatara Airfield 10

Those figures likely jump out as astonishing given what we’ve covered and that’s appropriate because shortly thereafter, SSC realized that there was a data error and that the car didn’t go that fast. In fact, it didn’t even go 300 mph in either direction during testing. Since then, it has managed at least one confirmed run of 295 mph but like the Bugatti run, it was only in one direction. 

Nevertheless, the Tuatara makes 1,750 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged V8, and the third-party technician on hand for the 295 mph run told the automaker that “In terms of the rate of acceleration, it’s extremely fast going up. What was most impressive to me was how it kept going through fifth, sixth, seventh gear. No road car I’ve seen pulls like that.”

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Rimac Nevera 

Rimac Nevera Sets 23 Performance Records In A Single Day 2

Lots of cars come and go every year that end up being little more than complete and utter vaporware. They claim huge performance figures, they show us a bunch of flashy renders, and at best, they roll out a slick body kit on the bones of a car that a real automaker engineered and built. Some probably expected Rimac to be one of those kinds of companies but instead, it’s proven that electric cars can be hypercar-fast the way that Tesla proved that electric cars could be mainstream. 

The Nevera once set 28 different speed records on the same day. On top of that, it currently holds the electric vehicle’s top-speed record. Like so many of these more recent attempts, it was done in just one direction. Still, that figure, 258 mph is noteworthy because Rimac is now related to Bugatti. Could the two combine their expertise to enable the Nevera to also eclipse 300 in one or two directions? If any two companies could, these two appear to be good bets. 

Hennessey

Hennessey Venom F5 Coupe Uranus Blue 7

Years ago Hennessey sort of threw a wrench into this whole top-speed competition when it drove its Venom GT 270 mph. At the time, Bugatti held the record with its Veyron at 267 mph. During its testing, Bugatti went in two directions and averaged 267. Hennessey didn’t and some argued that the Venom GT wasn’t a completely in-house-built car. It only ran in one direction and, it only did that because the testing happened at NASA and the organization wouldn’t allow Hennessey to do so. 

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Now, it’s back with the Venom F5, a tour de force in terms of technology and horsepower with a 1,817 hp twin-turbocharged V8, rear-wheel drive, and the goal of going over 300. John Hennessey himself recently spoke about that goal publicly and mentioned that he knew he was going up against each of these brands (save for SSC) in the race to 300. There’s no doubt that the Texas-based automaker is planning to attempt the record this year but if it hits the mark is another question altogether. 

Bugatti 

03 Bugatti Css300+ Last Delivery Design

Didn’t Bugatti say that it was out of this competition? Well, yes, but that was under the leadership of former CEO Stephan Winkelmann. Now that he’s back at Lamborghini, Mate Rimac has taken over and that’s key. Rimac has proven that he’s not only got a knack for setting speed records but also that he’s brash enough to ignore convention to accomplish his goals. 

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Bugatti is scheduled to take the wraps off of its next-gen flagship later this year. It’ll be the last penned by Achim Anscheidt, too. Perhaps the changing of the guard marks the perfect occasion for Bugatti to celebrate by returning to the competition just long enough to go 300 in two directions. It would be such a baller move everything considered. It’s not like anyone will be vying for 400 mph anytime soon. 

Bugatti also has a big advantage. One of the challenges of doing this is that there are few places in the world where this kind of record can be safely undertaken. There’s the Ehra-Lessien track in a remote part of Germany, which is where Bugatti pulled off this record. It’s two five-mile straights connected by banked corners so vehicles don’t lose speed. This is fine for Bugatti, but it’s a Volkswagen-owned test facility so good luck trying to get access to it if you’re not a Volkswagen-affiliated company.

Jpb Grounds
Photo: Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds

Otherwise, the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds is a good choice, which is actually the shuttle landing facility at the Kennedy Space Center. That’s about three straight, perfectly flat miles of clean pavement. There are some quirks of working with NASA, weather, plus the other parts of the government that use the facility that must be overcome.

Who Will Get There First?

I’d love to say that SSC will come out of nowhere to re-plant its flag far north of 300. What a comeback story that could be. It would also be cool to see Hennessey do it too after all of the flack it got when the original Venom went 270. Rimac could be a fun choice but frankly, it would feel a bit soulless to me. 

Bugatti is kind of the perfect villain here. It’s got tons of cash to play with, all sorts of technology to employ, and a rich history of exactly this sort of thing.

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Nevertheless, I think it’ll be Koenigsegg. The folks over in Ängelholm not only know what they’re doing here but they appear to be a little more consistent in their goals and intentions. Jesko Absolut will be the first to average 300 mph in two directions. Now we just wait to see who actually takes the checkered flag. 

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Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
1 month ago

Let me be the first to point out that SSC didn’t “realize” there was a data error in their Nevada runs. They were flat-out busted trying to pawn off a 240mph run as 331mph. I know, because I was part of the group that figured it out.

Anyone who followed the story remembers Shmee’s video about it, but what gets swept under the rug is that we’d been talking about it for almost a week prior in the Koenigsegg4Life fan group. In fact, I was the first person to publicly say on my Koenigsegg Registry Facebook page that I thought the video run was bogus, albeit for different reasons. A good friend of mine followed about 40 minutes later in K4L, with hard math that made it undeniable the video did not match the indicated speeds. Another good friend of mine made the comparison video that Shmee uses in his video; to this day it’s still up on my YouTube page.

All this isn’t to say that I deserve some kind of pat on the back. It’s to point out that for nearly a week, SSC had the opportunity to come clean, but instead dug in their heels, calling us “butthurt fanboys” and promising more evidence that never came. It wasn’t until they were backed into a corner that Jerod Shelby had to make his little apology video that they “lost” the evidence that would show the truth, but since the only evidence they had couldn’t prove they’d done it, they’d be the bigger guys and go prove it again. Which took them what, two more years?

There’s a lot more that was going on behind the scenes on this but suffice to say it consumed a good amount of my time for about two weeks, doing the math and trying to get the story some airtime (which we eventually found in Shmee), in fact it was I who sent the story to Jason when he was at the old site.

TL;DR: SSC didn’t mess up, they outright cheated, and got caught. And everyone should take anything they say at this point about anything with a huge salt lick.

This is without me even needing to mention their Tuatara isn’t even legal in the U.S. (and by association, the EU), so their claims to it being a road-legal car anywhere are dubious.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

This post needs more attention

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
1 month ago

Thanks, but since I posted it about 24 hours after the story ran, it probably won’t get any. As you can tell I feel pretty strongly about the whole affair, whether it matters much to any others is anyone’s guess I suppose.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

It bloody should. What fascinating and critical information!

Justin Carson
Justin Carson
1 month ago

Considering the relationships that most of these companies have with oligarchs/questionable foreign leaders, there’s actually a ton of airports you could probably shut down with runway lengths similar to or better than the shuttle had: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_runways

Handlebar
Handlebar
1 month ago
Reply to  Justin Carson

Looking at the altitudes of those airports really winnowed the field. The first one is over 10,000 elevation.

Oligarch or strong arm friendly government and under 500-1000 feet elevation made a very short list. Qatar was an early leader%

The longest is ‘only’ 5000m. Shutting down a section of multi lane straight road would work, right? What about that huge oval Captain Slow used in an episode for a speed record?

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
1 month ago

And here are the autopians going to buy one of those cars:

Last edited 1 month ago by Manuel Verissimo
Phuzz
Phuzz
1 month ago

I already own several…in Forza Horizon.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

How about Tesla? Seems Elon type of thing and EV has the power.

Younork
Younork
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Name checks out

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
1 month ago

“There’s the Ehra-Lessien track in a remote part of Germany, which is where Bugatti pulled off this record. It’s two five-mile straights connected by banked corners so vehicles don’t lose speed. This is fine for Bugatti, but it’s a Volkswagen-owned test facility so good luck trying to get access to it if you’re not a Volkswagen-affiliated company.

VAG still owns 45% of Bugatti and have no dog of their own in the fight, so I’d say it’s a safe bet they make the Ehra-Lessien available to Rimac.

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
1 month ago

“Who Will Get There First?”
Is it wrong that I simply don’t care?

Dave mid-engine
Dave mid-engine
1 month ago

What’s wrong is you wasting time posting in a thread on subjects you don’t care about. No one cares that you don’t care.

Dan Manwich
Dan Manwich
1 month ago

This doesn’t include the Renault Zoe, which I think is almost there.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Well correct me if I am wrong but I believe it has already been done and in 2 directions. Unfortunately it wasn’t one of the popular companies and they didn’t use the appropriate self imposed experts. But it was done and is available to resee. What did it? The little 3 wheel reliant robin. Yes On Top Gear they launched a Teliant Robin towards space. It didn’t exit the atmosphere but it achieved 300 mph going up and 300 mph coming back down. Okay maybe not 100% production but apparently none of these other competitors used a production model either and none hit 300 mph in two directions. And for you naysayers up and down are two different directions.
So let’s hear it for the underdog Frenck/ English team. They also had more fun doing it.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago

At risk of sounding too Toecuttery, all of these are really bad top speed cars and a streamliner would be much better. If you look at land speed cars, none of them look remotely like a Jesko or Chiron, and that’s for a good reason.

Wide tires, wide stance, high downforce, are all good for maximum roadholding around a road course, and are all really bad for top speed. If Koenigsegg or SSC or Bugatti actually wanted to make the highest top speed production car possible, they would make a long skinny teardrop with narrow tires, and the same engine that was taking them 280mph would now take them easily 350mph. It would suck around a track, and it would likely not be as nice to drive around town, but it would be dramatically faster, and it could still be totally legal as a production street car.

Captain Zoll
Captain Zoll
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

So you’re telling me we need a VW XL1 with a W16 engine crammed in it?
If so, I’m in.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

So bored of million dollar supercars that can go Mach 2 or whatever.
Yippee for the .1%er who can afford it – and the fuel bill to drive it to the roof of his glass onion where it will be parked until the apocalypse (or bankruptcy).

Find us some cute little cars that are priced under $25,000, carry 4 people and some groceries – or 2 people, a couple overnight bags and can drop the roof – are available in actual colors – and are cheap to maintain and fuel. That’s the stuff that gets me excited.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

More like 0.000000001% ers. 0.1% implies that there are 8 million people in the world that can afford this kind of thing.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Nah about 0.1% could afford it, but they don’t make millions of them

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Yeah but a site dedicated too sub $25,000 no one buys grocery getters will die a quick.death, about two days.

Dave mid-engine
Dave mid-engine
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

So why are you wasting our time posting in this thread? Go visit threads about boring cheap cars if that’s what gets you off.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

I’ll likely never see 150mph—much less 2 or 300. It just doesn’t matter to me. What is fun is seeing how hard I can dig without breaking traction coming out of a corner in the Roadster, or timing the boost right on gravel in the Subaru. I don’t have the chops to play with super/hyper/ultra cars—and that’s OK cause there’s plenty of fun to be had in 2nd gear

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I’d like to do 150. My record is 123mph.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

My recorded best is 100+ ins VW Bus. A friend jammed a racing motor in it, on the test drive the speedometer achieved it and I am here to tellyou not a good idea.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Holy crap! Yeah, I can well imagine that was not a carefree ride. I had a bus with a souped-up motor in it, and 80 was an exercise in severe puckerage given the shape the tires & suspension were in.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

That damn bus was wobbling and bouncing like crazy. It was insane.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I’m not saying I’ve never seen it (indicated, pre-gps), just that I’m not interested in going that fast in a street car on public roads anymore. Not only have the decades made me much more pessimistic about entropy, I really don’t trust deer, groundhogs—even squirrels to not try to completely ruin my day

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I managed 130 in a borrowed VW Passat diesel. The speed that a speck in the distance was suddenly right in front of me, put me off trying anything like that again.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 month ago

The unfortunate thing is that a lot of us are numb to this shit at this point. When the McLaren F1 hit its top speed (242 I think?) it was a mind blowing achievement that wasn’t topped for many years and was largely done through aerodynamics and brilliant engineering. The thing weighs as much as an NC Miata with a full sized driver in it too. 2500 pounds!

Make no mistake, that car is truly special and there’s a reason why it’s still so sought after to this day. For context you can literally walk into a Dodge or Ford dealership and buy a car that has 20% more horsepower than an F1 right now. It was about so, so much more than power.

Then the Veyron one upped it by essentially just chucking mountains of money and MOAR POWER at the equation. It was…cool, especially if like me you were a teenager when it came out, but it just wasn’t the surgically precise tool that the F1 was. The damn thing is almost an entire ton heavier than a McLaren F1. The Chiron weighs as almost much as a goddamn Porsche Cayenne!

To me the F1 was the last great record breaking supercar and Bugatti ushered in the hypercar era. While I’ll acknowledge that the engineering behind things like the Rimacs and Koenigseggs is definitely cool as hell they just don’t capture my imagination as much. They’re essentially just pet projects of the hyper wealthy that are made so rich bozos can have dick measuring contests.

There are 0 compromises to them as well. Any one of us could get into a Chiron and go 250 without breaking a sweat in as much comfort as a Bentley. That’s cool, I guess…but if you want to try to break 200 in a McLaren F1, Ferrari F50, Carrera GT, etc. you’d damn well better know what you’re doing. Those cars are pure ICE, RWD, manual transmission beasts.

Not that I don’t think AWD super hybrids with DCTs or EVs aren’t cool…they are, but they just don’t capture the imagination like the real analog supercars do. At least to me, of course you’re welcome to disagree 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago

I agree. I think it’s also b/c all of this is largely theoretical – very very few people will have any meaningful experience of anything even close to these kind of speeds.

The motorcycle world kinda has this already – the various hyperbikes (Hayabusas, etc.) are capable of more performance than pretty much any human can access. They exist mostly as something to purchase, not really engage.

So in other words, it has very little to do with you, it’s all about the machine. Which is totally cool, if you understand it that way – it’s a possession, not an ability.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago

I think it’s a great point. But I’d add it really applies to a lot of attainable cars now, especially with the ample and available HP of EVs.

I really just want a vehicle with good power to weight ratio. Can I just get a Porsche Taycan like vehicle that has about 300HP, weighs about 3500 lbs and handles really well with 0-60 times in the 4.5 sec range with a 65-70MPH slalom? Should be doable with the low center of gravity.

Also, I should be able to get it for around $65-75K if you’re not maximizing every bit of hyper car speed and metrics right?

We had the crazy HP wars that started I. The late 90s and more HP is a way to more dollars. It’s time we found a new metric as enthusiasts and it wouldn’t hurt if all the reviewers and journalists got on board too.

Because that’s the real reason these insane hyper cars are a thing. They bring in the dollars one way or another more so than great handling, low weight track monsters.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Agreed it is like Robot Wars. Great show, back yard mechanics cobbling together junktomake RC Robots to battle to death. Then NADA scientists and robotic engineers with $100,000 sponsors ruined it. Or NASCAR 32 one car teams competing now 5 5car teams and a few underfunded one car teams competing where the actual race is for pole position and stays there.

CSRoad
CSRoad
1 month ago

What is a production car?

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
1 month ago
Reply to  CSRoad

Exactly. 20 hand-built cars may technically be “production cars” but that’s really stretching the point. I’m more impressed by 180 out of cars that they make thousands of every year and don’t need any modifications (other than maybe dry-weather-only tires) to hit.

Logan King
Logan King
1 month ago
Reply to  CSRoad

Especially in the context of Hennessey, who claimed to hold the record when he was stuffing V8s into cars that you had to register as a Lotus Elise.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
1 month ago
Reply to  CSRoad

Historically, it usually means 50 produced and sold, but apparently Guinness has made some exceptions.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago

It’s funny a little bit of intrigue and competition can make almost anything interesting. Generally I couldn’t care less about top speed records cause they are so far outside the realm of normal these days, but this had me wanting to root for someone here, haha.

Dave mid-engine
Dave mid-engine
1 month ago

Is there a reason you need to add Thanks for reading! after every single comment you write? Thanks for reading! It gets old immediately. Thanks for reading! Look at other comments and realize that no one else behaves so poorly. Thanks for reading!

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
1 month ago

300mph is useless until it can be achieved by a white plumber van on the Dan Ryan expressway.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

If Sabine Schmitz were still with us, she’d be reading this and saying “Halte mein Bier”

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

COTWE (comment of the weekend.) RIP Sabine Schmitz

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

So much this. In Sabine’s hands*, a workday vehicle could be coaxed into laudable feats. I relate to these feats much more so than makers chasing the 300mph figure

*quite talented and extremely experienced

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

And that the danger is what makes it exciting. Our excitement needs our idols to risk injury or death.

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