There’s probably some science out there which explains the human need for speed. There’s also something that’s jaw-droppingly sexy about a fast car. Something that goes beyond its design or the workings of its engineering. Probably it appeals to a primal instinct which has to do with some primitive adrenaline fuelled experience. But enough pseudo-scientific theories! What’s for sure is that the competition in the automobile industry to create the fastest car in the world has been relentless. Because even for the less adventurous petrolhead, driving one (or more) of the fastest cars in the world is a fantasy that’s hard to beat.
What’s the Fastest Car in the World?
Ok, so if you had to go for a spin in the fastest car in the world, what car would that be? Renowned car makers are creating the fastest supercars at a mind-boggling rate, so the answer to that could be quite complicated. But right now, at the tail-end of 2018, Koenigsegg Agera RS holds the coveted crown. Only twenty-five RS have been produced, so odds are it could prove quite tricky to grab hold of one. With thirty fine examples in existence, you have slightly better odds with the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. The twin turbo Veyron Super Sport held the record as the fastest car in the world between 2010 and 2017, prior to being dethroned by the RS. These eye-watering expensive cars are extraordinary feats of engineering, innovative carbon fiber speed monsters which, let’s face it, are also easy on the eye.
But the title of World's Fastest Car doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Rivalry between car manufacturers is a given, with each striving to outdo the other. With a top speed of 278 miles per hour (447 km/h) and an acceleration of 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, the current title holder, the Koenigsegg Agera RS is about to be usurped by another speed king. Boasting a staggering top speed of 301 mph (484 km/h) and a 0-60 time of 2.4 seconds, the Hennessey Venom F5 is about to claim the crown from the RS. But for now, at least until the Guinness Book of World Records confirms this as an official new record, the Koenigsegg Agera RS remains the fastest car in the world.
In 2010, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport’s debut as a contender for the title was mired in controversy. Production car speeds are electronically limited to 258 mph (415 km/h). The Veyron’s Super Sport limiter was deactivated at the time of review, clocking an astonishing top speed of 268 mph (431 km/h). That year, the Veyron Super Sport claimed the title. However, this was later questioned by Guinness’ PR director who claimed that the modification to the Veyron’s limiter did not conform to guidelines. Notwithstanding, Guinness confirmed the title a few days later. The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport was to hold onto the title of the Fastest Car in the World for the next seven years.
But the Fastest Car in the World honour takes on a special meaning on the notorious Nurburgring circuit. The 12.8-mile Nurburgring track features one of the most dangerous stretches in the world. Making the fastest lap on the Nurburgring is the holy grail for any car maker. Garnering this coveted title takes a car manufacturer’s high-profile creation onto another level. At the moment, with a lap speed of 6:44:97, the mid-engined, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ sports car is the circuit’s record holder.
Top 10 Fast Cars
Let’s face it, any set of hot wheels which gets to 200 mph (322 km/h) and over, is a really, really fast car. For most of us mere mortals, these speeds are the closest we’ll ever get to a race car driving experience. Still, here’s the roll call for the Top 10 Fast Cars in the world in 2018:
1. Hennessy Venom F5
To be confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, with a stunning high speed of 301 mph (484 km/h), it is currently the contender for the crown.
2. Koenigsegg Agera RS
Still retaining top billing as the top speed king, the RS clocks in at a sensational 278 mph (447 km/h).
3. Hennessey Venom GT
At 270 mph (435 km/h), the Venom GT occupies third place on the list of the Top 10 Fast Cars. However, this placing is not always considered legitimate given that the 2014 recorded run was only in one direction.
4. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
A masterpiece from the Bugatti stable, the Veyron Super Sport with a speed of 267 mph (431 km/h) has held the world record for seven consecutive years. With four turbo-chargers generating 1000+ bhp it’s small wonder that it held onto the title for that long.
5. Bugatti Chiron
A limited run of just 500 for the first generation and with a price tag of $2.6 million, the Chiron is a rare breed. Considered as the epitome of luxury, clocking in at 261 mph (420 km/h), it has been hailed as the Concorde of the automotive world.
6. Shelby SuperCars (SSC) Ultimate Aero
Holding the title in 2007 with a two-way average speed of 256 mph (412 km/h), the 6.3-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 1,287 bhp put the Ultimate Aero in the spotlight.
7. Tesla Roadster
Perhaps the fastest electric car is not a purist’s supercar of choice. But at a claimed 250 mph (402 km/h), Elon Musk’s Roadster is yet to transform electric cars into legitimate and worthy players.
8. Saleen S7 Twin Turbo
A forerunner to the 2018 Saleen S1, the production for the S7 ran from 2000 to 2009. America’s answer to the supercar, combining performance with a top speed of 248 mph (399 km/h) it remains one of the fastest cars to hit the road. The S7R is the racing version of the naturally aspirated S7.
9. Koenigsegg CCR
With a limited production of just 14 cars, the CCR held the title of Fastest Car in the World in February 2005 for just a few short months. The Swedish hypercar, at 241 mph (387 km/h) managed to beat the previous record held by the McLaren F1 for the previous eight years.
10. McLaren F1
The legendary F1 model was built on the concept of its champion race car stablemates, but to conquer the road instead of the race track. Iconic design together with brilliant engineering and a top speed of 221 mph (355 km/h), make the McLaren F1 one of the most recognisable super sports cars in the world.
Fastest Car Speed
301 mph (484 km/h) is claimed to be the fastest car speed commercially available for any prospective driver right now. But this falls way below the official land speed record of 763 mph (1,228 km/h) set by Andy Green in 1997. The jet-propelled British car, the Thrust SSC, was the first car to officially break the sound barrier, measured over one mile.
Still faster than your average supercar, drag racing cars reach speeds of up to 335 mph (539 km/h). From 0 to 100 mph in as little as 0.8 seconds, top fuel dragsters are the fastest accelerating cars on the planet. A dragster supercharger engine guzzles 11.2 gallons of nitro methane per second. To put this in perspective, a fully loaded Boeing 747 consumes the same amount of jet fuel but generates 25% less energy.
But if spectacular is what floats your boat, then look no further than the Dodge Demon muscle car. The first ever production car to achieve front wheel lift at launch, its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine yields a much higher torque than your average supercar. Living up to its name, the Demon with a rear wheel torque that supersedes rear wheel horsepower, it is quite a force to be reckoned with in a straight-line race.
Fastest Road Car
But the fastest road car or any of the top 10 fast cars for that matter, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For example, the new Ford GT, which at a top speed of 216 mph (347km/h) is not to be sneered at and is a hugely coveted model. From the historic Ford stable, the GT with its super light carbon fiber body and its ultra-efficient aerodynamics is further pushing engineering boundaries. Alternatively, you can always hire a supercar like the Aston Martin Vanquish or the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder to push your own driving skills to the limit.
The Nio EP9 is the eco-friendly version of a supercar. Taking electric cars onto a new unprecedented level, it boasts the record of a Nurburgring circuit lap of 6:45:90. Hybrid supercars also made huge forays in the industry as the fastest road cars. The Porsche 918 Spyder launched in 2013 with five running modes, was sold out by the following year.
But unless you’re Jeremy Clarkson or King Midas, with access to more than just one limited edition supercar, the fastest cars in the world remain the stuff petrolhead dreams are made of. Then again, you could always opt for the world’s slowest car with the top speed of 10mph (16 km/h), the pedal-powered Ferdinand GT3 RS. With an average price tag of £11,000 and a (cardboard) Porsche GT3 RS body, it is a laugh out loud parody of the kings of speed.