The automotive community is still trying to wrap their collective heads around Hennessey’s new Venom F5 and its claimed top speed of 301 mph. However, there’s already news about a production car top speed record from Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg.
This past weekend, on a closed section of a Nevada highway (not far from where Hennessey had just revealed its new supercar), the Koenigsegg Agera RS was officially clocked at 277.9 mph — averaged by high-speed runs in both directions. To put that figure in perspective with other V-Max kings, the Bugatti Chiron is limited to 261 mph, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport runs out of steam at 267 mph, and Hennessey’s Venom GT trails off at 270 mph.
Koenigsegg notes that its Agera RS went even faster during its Nevada tests (284.6 mph), but because its return run was only 271.2 mph, the average was pulled down. Niklas Lilja, Koenigsegg’s factory test driver, deserves credit for keeping his foot down on a road he’s never experienced before. In-car footage from Racelogic show what Lilja was experiencing at these towering speeds.
The vehicle used was a privately owned Agera RS. This same car broke the 0 to 249 to 0 mph record last month (besting Bugatti’s Chiron by 5.52 seconds). Technically, the Agera RS isn’t even Koenigsegg’s fastest. Both the Regera and lighter One:1 models could theoretically go faster, but Koenigsegg doesn’t have spares lying around.
At this point, you might be wondering why we’re so impressed. After all, Hennessey says its Venom F5 will do over 300 mph. True, if the F5 clocks that kind of velocity, Koenigsegg’s feat will seem less impressive, but that’s a big “if.” You see, computer simulations can tell you a car’s top speed based on aerodynamics and power, but there are a few other factors to consider, like tires.
Koenigsegg’s Agera RS used Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires — arguably the best high-speed performance tire on the market — and while these proved durable at over 280 mph, there’s no telling what will happen at over 300 mph. As speeds increase, the force of air being pushed over a car (and therefore down on a tire) becomes immense. Even the best tires can burst or lose grip at a certain point. In addition, Hennessey needs a road long enough for the Venom F5 to reach its peak speed. A stretch of Nevada’s Route 160 was good enough for 284 mph, but 301 … who knows?
There’s no telling how long Koenigsegg’s record will hold, but for now, the Swedes are the world’s speed kings.
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