Through and through, racing is in the human DNA; not long after the invention of the "horseless carriage" in the 1800s, the first races began to take place throughout different corners of the world. The Paris to Bordeaux was the world’s first real race over a distance of 731 miles in 1895; a Thanksgiving Day race from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois was held that same year. The first Grand Prix race was in 1906 and the Indianapolis 500 waived its first green flag in 1911. We were racing before racing was even fast; the first race cars averaged a speed of around 15mph in the Paris to Bordeaux.
The first recorded speed record for an internal combustion engine-driven car was August 5th, 1902; the speed was a blistering 76mph in a gnarly looking Mors Z Paris Vienne. July 21st, 1904 we broke the 100mph barrier; the 200mph barrier was taken in Daytona Beach on March 29th, 1927, but the sport had already evolved into purpose-built machines not suitable for the road. The 1000hp Sunbeam that first broke 200mph was powered by two 1,376cid aircraft V-12s.
Today however, we push the barrier even further with supercars as we aim for the 300mph barrier in the finest technology the automotive industry has to offer. The battle of the 1,000hp titans is raging and the current official record is 278mph although there’s a street-legal production car that already claims to have the 300mph barrier in the bag. Meet the Venom F5, and a few other ridiculously fast cars you can drive to the store when you need another energy drink.
25 Hennessey Venom F5
Late in 2017 the Hennessey Venom F5 was released, as a street legal production car! A mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, twin-turbocharged 7.4L V-8 produces power figures that would make a semi jealous; 1,600ph and 1,300ft/lbs of torque are claimed by Hennessey.
A lot has yet to officially be confirmed, but with exciting rumors like its ability to accelerate to 186mph in 10 seconds, one can only assume this car won’t disappoint very many people. Guinness World Records has yet to verify the top speed, claimed at 301mph, but if anything could break the barrier, it’d say 1,600hp would be a good place to start.
24 Koenigsegg Agera RS
Talking about things is different that actually doing things. I am confident the 300mph barrier will be broken very soon (if it hasn’t already), but until then the proven speed king is the Agera RS. Danny Devito once said in a movie, “Money talks, and (something else) walks.” If this holds any truth to it, the Agera RS is the money shot, averaging 277.9mph over two runs of Nevada highway (closed off of course).
Its power comes from a twin-turbocharged 5.0L V-8 producing 1,144hp that gets shot through a dual-clutch seven-speed transmission and weighs just over 3,075lbs.
Its 0-62mph time is 2.8 seconds; will reach 124mph in 8.0 seconds flat and, fortunately for general public safety, is only available in a regulated production model topping out at 249mph.
23 Hennessey Venom GT
In January 2013 the Guinness World Records verified that a new record was set by the GT version of the Venom. The $1.2 million production car sits atop a modified Lotus Elise chassis that’s highly reinforced to withstand the surging power of the 427cid 7.0L. The twin-turbocharged LSX engine is fit with reinforcements in the internals, aluminum heads with additional head bolts, and adjustable power settings from 800hp for liquor store runs to a full rated power at the touch of a button.
The manual Ricardo six-speed transmission is the same unit that’s used in the Ford GT. The "Final Edition" Venom GT was a single-unit production slated for release in 2017 but was purchased for $1.2 million before it was even released.
22 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
I acknowledge this machine for its incredible accomplishment to be fast enough to set a Guinness record in the first place and I’m sure it’s just a dream to drive; it’s just really hard to wrap my head around that ugly styling. It looks like a combination of a Chrysler Crossfire from the back and an Audi A8 from the front with a really stupid grille. It’s a very popular status symbol among the super-rich for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the need to watch money disappear for no reason?
The $42,000 set of Michelin tires only last 10,000 miles if you’re good to them, and only 15 minutes at top speed. What’s worse is you’re required to swap the $69,000 set of wheels out every tire change too. “Ensure a proper bead seal they say”…I got your bead seal right here Bugatti!
21 Bugatti Chiron
Set to replace the Veryon, the Chiron updates some of the hideous styling and does look a lot better. It’s still a very round car for my taste, but the headlights look more supercar and less out of place. The trademark grille is always just going to be an eyesore, and you either love it or hate it.
The 8.0L W-16 has four turbochargers forcing induction into the engine for a power output of just under 1,500hp.
The manufacturer stated performance numbers are impressive: 0-60mph in 2.4 seconds, 0-124mph in 6.5 seconds and only 13.6 seconds to hit 186mph. From 250mph it needed 9.4 seconds to come to a stop.
20 SSC Ultimate Aero
The Shelby Supercar Company (SSC) produced the Aero from 2006-2013. It held the Guinness record for fastest production car from 2007 up until the introduction of the Veyron Super Sport in 2010. Being a driver’s car, the Ultimate Aero was not equipped with electronic driver assist features like antilock brakes and traction control; “Early design philosophy on the car was to make it a driver’s car. I wanted a car that you could […] steer with your right foot…”
Throttle steer seems like a touchy operation with 908hp and 771ft/lbs of torque. The supercharged 6.2L 377cid C5R V-8 is sourced from the Corvette and redlines at 7,200rpm for the 2006 production year; it gained a horsepower and torque boost during its subsequent years of production, however.
19 Aston Martin Valkyrie
Said to be a redefining example of what a supercar is, the Valkyrie is by far one of the wildest things you’ve ever laid eyes on. Akin to Howard Hughes’ obsession with aerodynamics and his insistence on his builders making every rivet completely flush to the fuselage, the engineers on the Valkyrie project take the same meticulous approach to weight reduction and airflow.
Every ounce of weight on the car is scrutinized and shaved if not completely necessary; the Aston Martin nose badge is said to be thinner than 1mm.
The crazy body design flows as smoothly as the air it’s intended to slice through, and large passages between the front fenders and the body bring drag coefficient to a minimum. Expect to see the official debut of the Valkyrie sometime in 2019.
18 Rimac C Two
We’re going to switch gears for a second here, or rather I should say powertrains; the Rimac C Two is an electric supercar that will blow your socks out of the drawer before you can even put them on. Reports confirm the car is already close to being sold out less than a month after they were put up for sale, although the delivery date isn’t until sometime in 2020 (150 units).
What is probably more interesting is that buyers on average are spending upwards of $600,000 in options on their cars! A big price tag on options, but the car is no bag of hot air; 1,888hp and 1,696ft/lbs of torque from its electric motors can reportedly launch the car to 60mph in 1.86 seconds! If this isn’t enough to impress you, the fact that it’s a level 4 autonomous car meaning it can drive itself may give it a few accolades for.
17 Tesla Roadster
If there’s one mark Tesla has been hitting rather nicely, it's styling. In this transitory period of automotive fuels, the change to electric power is hampered by crappy examples of what an electric car could be; the Prius is hands-down the most popular hybrid in the domestic market and it’s been downright hideous since its inception in 1997. Tesla says no more! I’m not an electric fan but if somebody wants to rid us of the pretentious eyesores that have taken over our roadways I’m all for it.
The visually pleasing Roadster’s base specs offer 0-60mph acceleration in 1.9 seconds on an all-wheel drive platform with a top speed over 250mph.
The torque multiplying nature of the transmission and differential is said by Musk to deliver 7,376ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels. To put this into a proper frame of reference, a Challenger SRT Demon puts down over 10,000ft/lbs of torque to the road in first gear.
16 Saleen S7
A blow-hard Bugatti too rich for your taste? Consider the Saleen S7; at less than half the cost of the superstar money magnet, you’re getting just about the same performance. Matter of fact, many of the comparative states are either half or about equal. The Veyron has 16 cylinders while the S7 sports only 8; curb weight of the Veyron is over 4,000lbs to the S7’s 2,950lbs and the S7 has two valves per cylinder compared to the Veyron’s four. That’s not to say the S7 is any less of a car however; they each sport a top speed within 5mph of each other.
The Veyron leads at 253mph but is beat by a tenth of a second in the 0-60mph time by the S7’s 2.6 second run time. The moral of the story is, the Bugatti may get more rich love, but with 483 series front and 508 series rear tires on the S7 compared to Bugatti’s 265 and 365s, looking rich is about all that car’s going to do if it ever went toe to toe with the S7 on a road course. The soft springs of the S7 give you somewhat of a comfy ride until aerodynamic down force begin to compress the racing coils.
15 Koenigsegg CCR
All this talk of ridiculous horsepower numbers is going to bum you out next time you go to purchase your next car and find out it only has 300hp. That’s a respectable number, but pales in comparison to the CCR’s 806hp, but then again, you’re probably not in the market for a car that can do a 0-60mph run in 3.2 seconds either.
This 2004 production car broke the road car world speed record with an official top speed of 242mph in Italy beating an eight-year-old record set by the McLaren F1 in the ‘90s.
The record has been officially broken at least six confirmed times since then but the CCR is nonetheless one bad machine to have in your garage.
14 McLaren F1
The revolutionary F1 was a trendsetter in its day; sporting unique proprietary designs and technologies, the F1 set out to destroy the production car speed record set by the Jaguar XJ220. On March 31st, 2008 it obliterated the 217mph standing record by 23mph and would hold the record for the better part of the next decade, solidifying its place in history as an iconic supercar.
The 60°, 6.1L V-12 BMW engine was comprised of an aluminum alloy block and heads with a DOCH setup to orchestrate the four-valve cylinders in perfect harmony. The 11:1 compression ratio on the road version delivered 602hp at 7,400rpm and could traverse the ¼ mile in 10.8 seconds, in 1995!!!
13 Pagani Huayra BC
With a performance heritage, the BC stepped into the scene in 2016 with numerous revisions after the original Huayra owners complained the supercar was lacking in power and handling ability. This is seemingly absurd, but when you drop big bankrolls on a supercar I suppose you can scrutinize a bit more. Pagani seemed to oblige with a new design that shaved off a ridiculous amount of weight; the 2,685lb featherweight car packs horsepower in places the sun don’t shine.
Stepping into the pilot’s seat will put you in command of all 789hp and every inch of the 811ft/lbs of torque.
The AMG twin-turbo 6.0L Mercedes engine deserves the accolades for that one while the weight reduction is allegedly a proprietary material developed for the BC that’s 20% stronger than carbon fiber with half the weight. The tubular steel front and rear subframes flank a carbotanium monocoque design that’s not only fun to say, it’s a blast to drive.
12 Zenvo ST1
I want to take a moment to apologize for the irreparable damage I’m probably doing to you right now, but the next time you get in your car and hit the interstate, after reading about all the production cars in excess of 250mph here, the speed limit is going to feel like a crawl.
You may remember the ST1 in an episode of Top Gear where the car was repeatedly bashed for having lap times slower than an M5, experienced clutch failure and caught fire during the extensive harsh driving while filming the show. Regardless of what the scripted Top Gear says about the car, its 0-62mph time as asserted by The Motor Report clocks in at a flat 3.0 seconds. The 2018 M5 trails by 0.2 seconds. I don’t care with whom you side with on the debate, but it’s a rad looking super car from just about every angle.
11 Noble M600
Noble Automotive in Great Britain are responsible for the hand-built twin-turbocharged V-8 supercar. Sporting a stainless and carbon fiber construction, the Noble will dock your bank account for just under a half million dollars; chump change, right? The 4.4L, 60° Volvo V-8 is highly controlled by its advanced electronics and allows drivers to choose between three power settings depending on driving conditions: road, track and race with a power output of 450hp, 550hp or 650hp respectively.
The M600 will hit 60mph from a standstill in three seconds flat, 100mph in 6.5 seconds and tag the 200mph mark in just under 30 seconds. Surprisingly enough, the 215mph supercar can’t smash the quarter mile in less than 11 seconds.
10 Gumpert Apollo
If you had your hopes set on purchasing a Gumpert new from the factory, lay that ambition to rest now; the German-based company filed for bankruptcy in 2013 thereby killing off any future projects in the works. Originally inspired by the idea of creating a production supercar rather than a one-off, the Gumpert focused on production for the masses (figuratively speaking).
Gumpert dealerships popped up around Europe and it didn’t take long for the public to shower generous praise on the supercar for superior cornering ability and lightning speeds.
This was proven undeniably in a Top Gear episode where the Apollo beat the moneybags Bugatti Veyron by just under two seconds on the circuit. A 223mph top speed is complemented with 0-62mph and 0-120mph times of 3.1 and 9.1 seconds respectively.
9 Lamborghini Veneno
Lamborghini says that “it will feel like you’re flying on the road.” Whether that’s in reference to the 221mph top speed or precise handling characteristics, it may not feel far from the truth. 200mph is faster than many general aviation aircrafts cruise at, but since aviation uses nautical miles rather than statue ones, it could be said that your Veneno can cruise up to 192 knots. That’s fast.
To accomplish such blistering speeds the Veneno uses a carbon fiber frame for the lightest possible platform they could possibly mount their 6.5L V-12 into. The 60°, multi-port fuel injected engine spits out 740hp and launches to 60mph from a standstill in 2.8 seconds. I’m surprised actually that this car isn’t name-dropped in more rap songs. I guess Gallardo sounds more catchy?
8 Aston Martin One 77
With all the engineering that goes into mastering fluid dynamics in the way air interacts with car bodies punching through at 200mph, you’d almost glaze your eyes right over the One 77 if asked to look for a supercar. Sure it looks fast, sporty, and you know you’re looking at something unique when you see one, but the mention of the word supercar prompts us to think about baffles, diffusers, and spoilers mounted amongst a crazy interweaving of body lines.
Aston Martin would rather jump into the 220mph neighborhood wearing the familiar body lines and contours that we’re all familiar with. Dwelling underneath the long curvature of the hood resides the 750hp, 48-valve, 446cid V-12 with four camshafts and a whole lotta badassery.
7 Ford GT
How do you get a five-star Car and Driver rating? If you’re a racing legend like the Ford GT, you have to live up to that legend at a minimum; the Ford GT delivers with a hyper-efficient aerodynamic design and the latest engine technology. We’re doing things and seeing things from cars that were impossible to fathom 30 years ago; we could only dream.
The Ford GT brings those dreams of yesterday to a reality today 3.5L twin-turbocharged V-6s that push 647hp through the GT’s driveline.
Ford Performance’s chief engineer “wanted downforce, but it had to be efficient downforce – we didn’t want to pay high drag penalties.” One look at the flat design and low stance irrefutably confirms this.
6 Ferrari LaFerrari
If you’re Italian, LaFerrari literally translates to the Ferrari. So, the Ferrari Ferrari’s model name could be said to encompass the entire brand wrapped up into its engineering. The Ferrari Ferrari’s engineering took notes from tests conducted on the Ferrari’s FXX supercar. The wild Ferrari Ferrari boasts the highest horsepower output of any Ferrari while doing something extraordinary.
What’s that, you ask? Cutting fuel consumption by 40%, I say! If you were about to ask how, I’d answer you with an electric assist motor, effectively making the Ferrari Ferrari a hybrid. Not your mamma’s Prius though; the mid-engine, 6.3L V-12 puts out 789hp at 9,000rpm alone. With the HY-KERS 161hp assist motor for extra bursts of power, 950hp is achievable. (You gotta love a hybrid with eight more cylinders and six times the power output of a Prius. Viva Italy!)
5 McLaren 720S
If there are two things the British can do well, they're to build one heck of a WWII fighter (Spitfire) and one gosh darn good sports car. Unlike the many cylinders of a lot of supercars, McLaren makes good use of just eight of them in a super small, 4.0L, 720hp twin-turbocharged V-8 that can blast up mountain roads with the tenacity of a Spartan.
Flat ground 0-60mph time is 2.7 seconds and in addition to customizable ride settings that include comfort, sport, track and even drift settings. (Don’t ask me what a drift setting is doing in a McLaren, but if you see it in action let me know!) The $378,000 supercar even cares about the drive vibe with a touchscreen infotainment center. The rear styling is hyper aggressive and probably going to be your only view until the 720S laps you again.
4 Ferrari 812 Superfast
When you’re one of the titans of speed, a legendary brand name synonymous with race-winning performance, how does a marketing department keep up with this legacy? For one, you could call your next model straight up like it is; call a superfast car Superfast. That’s what they did; the 812 Superfast.
The 812 boasts 59hp over its predecessor, the F12, at 789hp.
The “8” in the title represents the metric power rating while the 12 is indicative of the number of cylinders pumping power through the driveline. Car and Driver report under the "cons" section of a review of the 812 is simply: “somewhere in the world, a man stubbed his toe this morning.”
3 Audi R8
Audi has been in the car making game for a good while now, and as with many things German, there’s no such thing as over-engineering. Throughout its production, it’s seen a variety of different versions and power plants.
You can have yourself a modest, all-aluminum 4.2L 32-valve V-8, but if your preferential choice is a ten-cylinder, the R8 has you covered there too. The R8 Coupe shares just under 50% of its parts with the R8 GT3 LMS racecar.
A 602hp V-10 means you’re going somewhere with a purpose, even if you have nowhere to go. Don’t let Justin Beiber’s ownership of this magnificent racecar ruin it for you. If he actually deserved the car, he’d not have wrapped it in leopard print.
2 Dodge Viper
Dodge is an original member of the big three; having faithfully helped carry its domicile through a century of economic growth, the Detroit heavy-hitter wastes no time helping to carry us through the muscle car eras of yesterday as well as the glorious one we are experiencing today. The 2013 SRT Viper debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show with an all-aluminum 8.4L V-10 slid comfortably between the long, sweeping fenders of its trademark front end.
The 640hp jets you smoothly across the track at breakneck speeds and the available aero kit’s front splitter and massive rear wing (pictured) produce a spectacular 2,000lbs of downforce at 117mph. It’s claimed to be enough to corner consistently at 1.5Gs with Bilstein coil-overs and Brembo brakes that crush Corvettes in the turns.
1 Porsche 911 GT3
The more I look at the Porsche, the more beautiful these machines get. Just look at is slide through the corner with the wheels tucked comfortably inside their wells, diligently scraping for every bit of grip they can muster; the 911 GT3 is a race-spec production model designed to be driven to the maximum of its performance. Granted, the dedicated track cars you’ll find will be modified even further, but the GT3 is ready for the race enthusiast to hit the track for a weekend of tire shredding fun with a flat-six pumping 520hp forward to the wheels. Get one and get on that NASCAR redline.
References: motor1.com, f1roadcar.com, motor.com, motorauthority.com, caranddriver.com.