What Is The Fastest Production Car

This is the ultimate crown that Supercar Makers are always vying for

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With an average top speed of 282.9 mph (455.3 km/h), the SSC Tuatara is currently considered the fastest production car in the world. 

Overview 

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Let’s face it, as human beings it’s in our instinct to pursue the ultimate form of any entity and that’s no different for cars either. An automotive manufacturer regardless of their size would go to great lengths to lay claim to the title of ’Fastest Car In The World’. Why? Well, the answer is simple.

It helps them sell cars for some handsome sums of money and I’m talking sums running into the millions of dollars here. More often than not, these limited-run cars are sold or have already been spoken for even before the customers lay their eyes on them. For those fortunate few where money is no bar, nothing but the best will do. 

What Is The Fastest Production Car Exterior
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But why is this title so important, well ist simple really. It helps supercar makers sell cars. The McLaren F1 from the 90s held the title for the longest time

One of the all-time greats that held the title for the fastest production car in the world for the better part of a decade was the Mclaren F1. Designed by the legendary Gordon Murray, its gold-lined BMW engine propelled it to a top speed of 240.1 mph in 1998. But it wasn’t until the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 came along in 2005 that this space actually began to see some serious action.

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But it wasn’t until the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 came along in the mid-2000s did things really start to heat up for the race to clinch the title for the fastest production car

The French hypercar hit a top speed of 253.8 mph. However, two years later in 2007, the SSC Ultimate Aero TT broke that record topping out at 256.1 mph. Bugatti struck back with their Veyron 16.4 Super Sport in 2010 hitting 267.9mph. The Koenigsegg Agera RS also got involved in this race to the top in 2017, when it cracked 277.9 mph.

But Bugatti was back again, this time with their Chiron. A pre-production Chiron Super Sport went past the 300 mph barrier in 2019. However, that run was only carried out in a single direction. SSC was the latest one to go after this crown in October 2020, with their own Tuatara.

SSC Tuatara

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But before I get to the record runs, here’s a quick overview of the SSC Tuatara. Following the success of the Ultimate Aero TT in the mid-2000s, the Tuatara concept car was first showcased by SSC (formerly known as Shelby SuperCars) at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Tuatara name in fact comes from an exotic native lizard found in New Zealand. Designed by Jason Castriota, the hypercar concept was rumored to have a 300 mph speedometer.

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It takes a lot to accomplish a feat as herculean as this. The Tuatara concept broke cover more than a decade ago in 2011at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

A few years went by and in 2014 SSC encountered some financial challenges, but things finally began to roll when SSC secured the $6 million in funding necessary for the construction of their new facility at Kennewick, up in Washington. Production numbers are small with just a handful of cars put together every year by an equally small team of highly skilled workers.

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It finally made it to series production in 2019

By the time 2018 came around, a lot had changed on the Tuatara. While the initial concept car featured a 6.9-liter twin-turbo V-8,
the production model featured a smaller 5.9 twin-turbocharged mill, developed in collaboration with Tom Nelson, of Nelson Racing Engines, based out of California.

What Is The Fastest Production Car Drivetrain
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SSC Tuatara specifications
Engine/Powertrain: 5.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine
Horsepower: 1,750 horsepower
Torque: 1,341 pound-feet
0 to 60 MPH: 2.5 seconds
Top speed: 282.9 mph

This engine can be had in two flavors. The base model puts out 1350 horsepower while the second variant pumps out a whopping 1774 horsepower on E85. This engine that features a flat crankshaft can redline at 8,800 rpm and sends its power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed robotized gearbox.

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A hydraulic suspension setup from Penske helps keep this beast on the road. The mid-engined hypercar that features a carbon fiber monocoque weighs 2749 pounds dry and its smooth sculpted bodywork with some clever active aero bits means that the Tuatara has a drag coefficient of just 0.279 cd.

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After nearly a decade of work, the end result was the 2019 SSC Tuatara. The final production version is rather understated, for such an extreme machine. The overall aesthetic of the Tuatara is devoid of aggressive cuts creases, splitters, or an extreme spoiler, stuff that you expect on a hypercar of such proportions. Instead, you’ve just got the essentials and nothing else. 

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This is especially true when you look at some compare the SSC to some of its competitors. The automaker stated that 100 examples of this carbon-fiber exotica will be built and sold for a base unit price in excess of $2 Million a pop. 

The ultimate goal for the SSC team though was to clinch the title of [The Fastest Production Car and eventually demolish the 300 mph-art182448.html ] barrier, while at it.

The Previous Run


On October 10, 2020, SSC entrusted the Tuatara with British test driver Oliver Webb on a stretch of straight road just over 6.84 miles long in Nevada. After two successful runs in opposite directions in under an hour, the average maximum speed recorded was 316.77 mph. This was owing to data acquired by 15 satellites. SSC North America claimed a new high-speed record had been set for a production car. The Tuatara according to Oliver Webb, is capable of doing even better, but side winds prevented him from pushing the car to its limits.

However, what followed was a lot of controversy and high-speed drama surrounding the SSC Tuatara’s running. Several mathematically savvy contemporaries examined the film released of the record-setting drive and concluded that the hypercar could not have reached the speeds claimed by SSC.


Jerod Shelby, the company’s founder, and CEO of SSC North America initially defended himself first and justified the situation by pointing out that the company responsible for filming the run was at fault here. 

Furthermore, he stated that the contractual measuring equipment maker had confirmed the speeds attained. When SSC examined the record attempt in greater detail, Shelby’s employees found that something was not quite right. Eventually, the company’s CEO eventually came forward and stated his intention to attempt the record once again. 

Read our full review on the SSC Tuatara

The Fastest Production Car In The World


Fast forward a few months to January 2021 and this time, the setting for the record drive was not a public road in the Nevada desert, but the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The SSC Tuatara reached speeds of 286.1 mph in the southbound direction and 279.7 mph in the northbound direction. Averaging the speeds, gives us a number, 282.9 mph, a new world record. The measuring equipment was provided by Racelogic who was on sight to confirm the readings.

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Which makes for an average speed of 282.9 mph

The SSC Tuatara hence beat the Koenigsegg Agera RS once it enters the Guinness Book of World Records. According to Bloomberg, no media or Guinnesses were in attendance. Also, this running was carried out on a closed runway, while the Agera RS went flat out on a public road when it clinched the record for the fastest production car. As the SSC Tuatara is a production car, it would have been ideal to carry out this top-speed run on a public road rather than in a controlled environment like a closed runway

Other Contenders for fastest production car in the world 

Bugatti Chiron 

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So far, just two street-legal cars have apparently broken the 300-mph barrier. In the fall of 2019, Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace drove a modified Chiron - dubbed a near-production Prototype from Bugatti - 304.773 mph at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test circuit in Germany. But since the Chiron in question was a highly modified Supersport, that isn’t sold to the public, it can’t lay claim to the fastest production car.

"We are pleased to be the first manufacturer ever to attain a speed of more than 300 miles per hour," declared Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann at the time

Read our full review on the Bugatti Chiron

M2K Motorsports - Modified Ford GT

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But the Chiron wasn’t the first hypercar to go beyond the threshold of 300 mph. That honor goes to M2K Motorsports, which achieved 300.4 mph with a souped-up 2006 Ford GT soon before the driver dropped its brake parachute in March 2019. M2K Motorsports now expects their car to produce in excess of 2,500 horsepower from the 5.4-liter V-8. To get that out of the Ford GT engine employs two turbochargers with a total boost pressure of 3.1 bar.

Hennessey Venom F5

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The Hennessey hopes to break the 300-mph barrier with the Venom F5.The 1,842-horsepower engine is no longer housed in a Lotus chassis, as it was in previous Venom models, but rather in a bespoke design. The F5 is reported to have gotten more streamlined; after all, the Texan is aiming higher: Hennessey even claims that the Venom F5 has a top speed of 311 mph.

Read our full review on the Hennessey Venom F5

Koenigsegg Jesko 

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Koenigsegg is unlikely to stand idle while Bugatti and the Americans go about their business for long. Christian von Koenigsegg, the Swedish company’s founder, believed the Agera RS was capable of exceeding 300 mph. He now has the new Jesko at his disposal, which has already proven to be speedy in simulations. However, Koenigsegg is concerned about the uncontrollable factors of such an attempt, such as wind, animals, and bumps. With the Jesko Absolut, which has been designed for optimum top speed, Koenigsegg hopes to establish the next best mark.

Read our full review on the Koenigsegg Jesko

Challenges of attempting to break the 300 mph barrier 

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With an average speed of 282.9 mph, the SSC Tuatara is considered to be the fastest production car in the world

Tires are one of the biggest challenges that manufacturers of these road-going missiles have to contend with. Michelin appears to be the only company capable of producing the necessary rubber for such high-speed records. Michelin themselves are a bit skeptical about hitting 300 mph. The issue is that the longer a tire rotates at that pace, the hotter it becomes. That means the tire will be subjected to severe stresses, with unpredictable results. 

Final Thoughts 

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Getting into the club of the fastest cars in the world is no easy feat and we’ll have to wait and see how long SSC’s record will last. As we’ve just seen there is a long line of exotic once again vying for the top spot and this time, it’s not just the gas-powered cars that the SSC will have to contend with as a new age of all-electric hypercars like the Tesla Roadster (if and when it arrives that is), the Battista Pininfarina and the Rimace Nevera (who are now working with Bugatti) have begun to emerge. But I guess SSC has them covered, they’ve got the Striker and Aggressor on standby. But for now, the fastest production car in the world is the SSC Tuatara at 282.9 mph.

Fastest Production Car Over The Years

Here is a list of World Speed Records for production cars over the years.

Fastest Production Cars Over The Years
Year Make and model Top speed (mph)
1894 Benz Velo 12
1949 Jaguar XK120 124.6
1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing 150.7
1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT 152
1963 Iso Grifo GL 365 161
1967 AC Cobra MkIII 165
1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 171
1968 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona 174
1969 Lamborghini Miura P400S 179
1982, 84 Lamborghini Countach 182.0, 188.0
1984 Ferrari 288 GTO 188
1986 Porsche 959 197
1987 Ferrari F40 202.7
1995 Ruf CTR2 217
1998 McLaren F1 241
2005 Koenigsegg CCR 242
2005 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 253.8
2007 SSC Ultimate Aero TT 256.1
2010 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport 267.9
2017 Koenigsegg Agera RS 277.9
2021 SSC Tuatara 282.9

Q&A

[What is the fastest production car in the world?
With an average speed of 282.9 mph, the SSC Tuatara is considered to be the current fastest production car.

What is the fastest 0 60 production car?
At 1.9 seconds, the Koenigsegg Gemera has the quickest 0-60 mph time of any production car.

Has any car hit 400 mph?
No production car has ever hit 400 mph yet, but theoretically, it is possible. Land Speed record cars like the Bloodhound SSC have hit speeds in excess of 600 mph.

What is the fastest stock American car?
The fastest stock American production car on sale is the Ford GT. It can top 200 mph despite its modest 2.9-liter V-6 engine.

What is the fastest street-legal production car? /q]
As of 2022, the SSC Tuatara is considered as the fastest street-legal production car

What is the fastest 1/4 mile ever?
The recorded 1/4 mile time stands at 3.58 seconds, which was set by Sammy Miller in 1984 using a prupose built drag machine with 28000 horsepower. The run took place at the Santa Pod Raceway.

Khris Bharath
Khris Bharath
Khris is a classic car aficionado and adores his Jags and Alfas, although he keeps tabs on everything from super exotics like an old EB 110 to the latest from Lucid. Formula One is very close to his heart, and he diligently makes time to tune in for the Grand Prix on Sundays. Khris also loves his road trips and he prefers stick shift over an Auto any day.  Read full bio
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