10 CARS THAT SET PRODUCTION CAR TOP SPEED RECORDS
Manufacturers relish at the opportunity to sit at the top of the list regarding the production car top speed record hosted by the Guiness World Records. For a car to be eligible it must complete two runs (one in each direction) with the average speed from both runs being noted for the final figure. The two other rules are that it must be completely road legal and to have had at least 25 examples made for customers.
So what are the previous record holders? Here’s the top 10 that took performance to the next level and complied to the rules of the Guiness World Record.
10. FERRARI 365 GTB/4 DAYTONA – 174 MPH
The Daytona is the first on our list with a verified top speed run of 174 mph, tested by Autocar in 1971. The V12, four-seater GT car by Ferrari surpassed the previous record set by the Lamborghini Muria P400 at 171 mph.
9. LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH LP400 – 179 MPH
Speaking of Lamborghini, here’s the first of two records set by the Countach. The LP400, the earliest model, set a speed of 179 mph by Auto, creeping past the 365 by just 8 mph. Featuring a V12, just like the Ferrari, the LP400 had a 20bhp advantage as well as 145kg less to drag along.
8. LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH LP500 S – 182 MPH
The second Countach on this list comes in the form of the later released LP500 S. Displacement was increased from 4.0-litres to 4.8-litres and although the horsepower remained the same, the torque dramatically changed and enabled more mid-range power.
But with a bigger engine comes bigger weight – 400kg more to be exact. Weight didn’t phase it and managed to surpass the 400 by 3mph.
7. FERRARI 288 GTO – 188 MPH
Ferrari’s 288 GTO was the predecessor to the F40 and once held the production top speed record many moons ago. In the hands of Auto, they managed to achieve an impressive 188mph back in 1985 which was unchallenged until their biggest rival came along – the Porsche 959.
6. PORSCHE 959 – 197 MPH
Porsche’s 80’s icon came in the shape of a 959. Designed as a Group B rally car, it had racing pedigree from the get go and that reflected in the performance that it had to offer.
Housing a 2.9-litre twin-turbo flat-6, the 959 came in two guises – Sport and Komfort. Being AWD it could out sprint almost any road-going car to 60mph and hurtled on to a top speed of 197mph back in 1987.
Some examples were introduced at a later date with moderate power upgrades which saw speeds of over 200mph but no official speed was set.
5. RUF CTR – 212.5 MPH
The Ruf CTR, or the Yellowbird that you might know it as, was basically a Porsche 911 on steroids. Power was raised, suspension and brakes revised, aero tweaked and weight removed all contributed to a German rocket. Known to be a bit sketchy, but if the driver had talent then you’ll struggle to find a faster car at the time.
The record was set in 1988 at the infamous Nardo Ring which is essentially one massive circle, proving difficult to achieve a top speed. The CTR surpassed the 200mph mark relatively easy and trampled the previous record by 15mph.
4. RUF CTR2 – 217 MPH
And then the CTR2 was born. A more modern take on the previous CTR, this new car had more power, 520bhp to be exact, more modern suspension and bigger brakes, wider tyres and a bigger displacement regarding the engine.
Ten years after the CTR set the record, the CTR2 managed 217mph, just 5 more than before. That doesn’t sound like much but consider physics into the equation and things get complicated quickly.
3. MCLAREN F1 – 221 MPH
Ah, the McLaren F1. Considered to be the best supercar ever made, therefore the best car ever made, the F1 took things leaps and bounds further in performance. The central driving position, gold covered engine bay and a 6.1-litre V12 engine by BMW meant the F1 was unrivaled for years.
Although it has proven to have achieved over 240mph, the official top speed that was recorded remains at just 221mph – hardly a number to turn your nose up at.
2. BUGATTI VEYRON 16.4 – 253.81 MPH
Fast forward into modern times and we have the Veyron – possibly the most controversial car ever made. Made by the company Bugatti, it was, and still is, a technical masterpiece and is arguably in a league of its own.
Housing an 8.0-litre, quad-turbo W16 engine, the Veyron in standard form boasts over 1,000bhp and a top speed of over 250mph. Despite weighing as much as the moon, the 16.4 managed to record 253.81mph at VW’s private test track.
1. BUGATTI VEYRON SS WRE – 257.87 MPH
The current record holder, the SS WRE, brandishes the achievement in its own name and warrants a huge round of applause. The Super Sport has the same engine but revised turbos and other little tricks means 1,200bhp and 1,100 lb-ft of torque. A healthy compromise of massive performance but creature comforts is a difficult recipe to master.