Making a list of the twenty-five fastest cars in the world brings in a few questions as well. Are the cars based on zero to sixty speeds? Perhaps it is based on stock cars with extraordinary speed or some tricked-out rocket car on the salt flats. For the sake of argument, this list of the 25 fastest cars in the world will have all the combinations, starting with the supercars, the ultra-machines driven by the ultra-rich in all the trendy places this year.
Mostly Street Legal Supercars
#25 – Noble M600
The Noble M600 first debuted in 2011 and has a top speed of around 225 mph. It gets from zero to sixty in just under three seconds. This is one hot car with its simplistic design and luxurious interior. The Noble M600 is a supercar that is perfect for people looking for a vehicle that is affordable and has a certain uniqueness. It certainly deserves to make any list of the fastest cars in the world.
#24 – Gumpert Apollo
The Gumpert Apollo is not winning any awards for its name, but like the Noble, it has a 225 mph top speed. It has been aerodynamically designed to perfection and presents a unique look to complement its speed. Depending on the equipment installed the Gumpert Apollo costs in between $288,000 dollars to $438,000 dollars.
#23 – Pagani Huayra
The Pagani Huayra brings an impressive 720 hp along with a beastly 740 lb-ft torque and a top speed of 230 mph. That speed is aided by the X-trac seven-speed sequential transmission, making the Pagani one of the fastest cars in the world. Pagani partnered with Mercedes Benz AMG in building the unique twin turbocharged 6.0L V12 engine.
#22 – Ferrari FXX
The Ferrari FXX carries a 6.3-liter V12 with more than 790 hp and a top speed of 227 mph. At just 2546 pounds, the extremely light Ferrari is not street legal at all and the two million dollar price tag means only Saudi princes and Canadian pop stars will consider buying one. The price tag included 14 track events, a driver training course at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, and on-site storage at the factory.
#21 – McLaren F1
The McLaren F1 roars out of the nineties with enough to put the vehicle on this list. Only 65 of these creatures were made as street cars, making it ultra-rare. The 6.1-liter V12 BMW engine puts out 631 hp and has a top speed of 231 mph. The McLaren also puts the driver front and center literally. The driver seat is centered with 2 passenger seats on either side.
#20 – Zenvo ST1
The Zenvo ST1 is a Danish-made product that is limited to only three cars per year for America. It has a Twin-Charged 7.0 liter V8 Engine pushing 1,104 hp and a zero to sixty time of 2.9 seconds. This certainly makes it one of the fastest cars in the world. The first Supercar from Zenvo Automotive carries a base price of $1,225,000.
#19 – Koenigsegg CCX
The Koenigsegg CCX is next with a 245 mph top end. This Swedish kitten purrs along with its 806 hp V8 engine and seriously good looks creating numbers other cars dream about. In 2007, it took the record for the fastest lap time on the TV show Top Gear, at 1:17.6 seconds. There is no doubt that the Koenigsegg CCX is one extreme car.
#18 – Saleen S7
The Saleen S7 checks in as the American supercar with the twin turbo V8 and the sophisticated looks and performance to suggest it could be a Bond car. When it was released in 2002, it was the only American street-legal car that packed over 500 horsepower in stock trim. The engine’s output with the new turbo is lifted to an unbelievable 750 horsepower and 700 lb./ft. of torque, certainly putting it in the fastest cars in the world lists.
#17 – Koenigsegg CCXR
The Koenigsegg CCXR is the Mr. Hyde to the CCX’s Dr. Jekyll. The modified engine can guzzle E85, a combo of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. The mixture boosts the CCXR up to 1018 hp and pushes the beast to 250+ mph speeds. E85 has a higher octane rating and greater cooling capacity, delivering faster times with the same exhaust temperature. I wonder if this qualifies for the energy-saver tag.
#16 – 9ff GT9-R
9ff GT9-R is the code name for fast here. This offering from Porsche was designed to take the speed record for a street legal car with a top end of 257 mph. The German auto builder based the GT9 loosely on their Porsche 911. The 4.0 Liter flat-6 Twin-Turbo engine with 1120 hp, comes with a base price of $695,000.
#15 – Hennessey Venom GT
The Hennessey Venom GT is as badassed as the name implies. On the first look, in its basic black color, it could be the Batmobile and it just gets better after that. The Venom has a 6.2-liter LS9 twin-turbo V-8 beating at its heart that puts out up to 1200 hp. The max speed is said to be in the 267 mph range.If that isn’t one of the fastest cars in the world then there’s a serious problem.
#14 – SSC Ultimate Aero
The American superbeast, the SSC Ultimate Aero roars out of Eastern Washington State with an impressive 1287 hp from its V8 engine. This Bigfoot of the auto world is one of the fastest cars in the world with its 270 mph top end. Guinness listed the Ultimate Aero as the fastest car in the world from 2007 to 2010.
#13 – Bugatti Veyron
The Bugatti Veyron carries a 16-cylinder 8-liter engine that delivers 1,001 hp and a top speed of 253 mph. The Bugatti name goes back more than a century to the dawn of auto building giving the car a certain air of royalty. With their Veyron Super Sport version, this car brings the Veyron to the next level by upping the ante and delivering a top end in the same range as the Ultimate Aero.
#12 – Koenigsegg Agera
Christian Von Koenigsegg became inspired by dolphins gliding through the water and carried this principle to his Koenigsegg Agera. The fastest cars in the world have this beauty as the ground breaker now. The lightweight, 5-liter, bi-turbo V8 engine with 940 hp on tap pushes this supercar to its top end speed of 273 mph effortlessly.
Record Holding Speed Cars
#11 – ThrustSSC
On October 15th, 1997, RAF pilot Andy Green pushed the throttle of his ThrustSSC to a scorching speed of 763.035 mph at Black Rock Desert in the USA. He took the official land speed record that day as well as the distinction of being the first supersonic record holder in the land speed category. The previous record for “wheel driven” vehicles (where the power source drives the wheels) was also a Brit named Donald Campbell. On July 17th, 1964, he drove his entry Bluebird CN7 to a speed record of 403.10 mph. These entries are literally the fastest cars in the world.
#10 – Top Fuel Dragster
NHRA records for ¼ mile drag racing show a top fuel dragster as its fastest car with a speed of 336 mph that propelled this beast through ¼ mile in just 4.42 seconds. The fastest speed for a rocket car (this is a non-racing, exhibition run) was set by Sammy Miller in 2002 with a speed of 386 mph. In 1977, Kitty O’Neill covered ¼ mile in a blistering 412 mph on a non-paved track.
#9 – NASCAR
The fastest lap time for a NASCAR race came in 1987 from Bill Elliot. At the Talladega Superspeedway, he turned in a lap speed record at 212.809 mph during a qualifying run. He broke his own record of 210.364 mph set at Daytona earlier that same year. Both records were set with his Ford Thunderbird with an engine built by his brother Ernie Elliot.
#8 – Formula 1 Cars
The fastest lap time for a Formula 1 Grand Prix is harder to pinpoint. In the 2004 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the fastest lap was recorded by Michael Schumacher. The distance of the circuit track was 5141.0 m and Schumacher’s lap record was 78.739 seconds. But tracks are of varying lengths and number of turns so that each track carries its own records. Also, only racing times are considered official. So for the fastest track with the shortest length during a race, the winner is Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello. He had a lap time of 1m21.046s and a speed average of 262.242 km/h. Formula 1 cars are designed to have an enormous amount of acceleration power with records of zero to sixty in 1.6 seconds although typical numbers are between 2.1 and 2.6 seconds. The Honda RA107 F1 goes from zero to one hundred mph in a mind boggling 4 seconds flat.
Cars With Names We Recognize
#7 – Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette from Chevrolet has been a name synonymous with racing since it first rolled from the factory in 1953. The “Vette” is uniquely American, yet inspired by the Jaguar XK-120. It was designed to compete with the growing desire for European 2 seat sports cars.
#6 – Ford Mustang
The Mustang was another American muscle car designed to compete with European sports cars. The first Mustangs were produced in 1964 but are VIN’d as 1965 cars. Like the preceding Corvette, the Mustang sported the long front hood and stylish exterior lines. The 1964 Mustang was featured in the James Bond film, Goldfinger.
#5 – Pontiac GTO
The Pontiac GTO began life in 1964 as an option package for the Pontiac Tempest. It brought the larger 389 cu in engine, a four barrel carburetor and some bells and whistles like hood scoops to promote its “racer” image. One of its designers, John DeLorean even suggested the name based on a successful racing car of the time, the Ferrari 250 GTO.
#4 – Chevy Camaro
The Chevy Camaro saw the light of a new day in 1967. The Chevy powerhouse came with a choice of 8 different engine sizes that ranged from a 230 cu in in-line 6 up to the massive 427 V8 power plant. The Camaro had the same conventional rear-drive, front-engine configuration as Mustang and a style that has inspired the new 5th generation retro look today.
#3 – Jaguar
From overseas came the Jaguar, Britain’s entry into the sports car arena. 1935 saw the first Jaguar offered in 2 models. By 1957, the company had 4 LeMans 24 hour race victories. The bold look inspired American companies and the E-Type Jaguar was called by Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful car ever made” and remains the classic look of 60s sports cars to this day.
#2 – Porsche 911
Germany’s Porsche added their spectacular 911 model in 1963. The flagship of the company is one of the most recognized of all Porsche models with its distinctive design. The 911 featured a flat 6 engine that was air cooled and rear mounted. In the mid-70s, the 911 Carrera was winning major world championship races like Sebring and Nurburgring. It was even beating prototypes in those races.
#1 – Lamborghini
The Italians swarmed the market with Carrozzeria, Alpha, Lamborghini and Ferrari. Noted for their strong entries into the formula racing circuits, the Italian models are some of today’s strongest entries for fastest cars in the world. The problem is that their hefty price tags limit their ownership to the very rich.
As you can see, do the fastest cars in the world rely on just speed? Obviously, a list that wants to show that relies mostly on speed, but what constitutes speed? As stated earlier, the slower speed of say a NASCAR vehicle is perfect for that type racing while the high speed of the supercars dictate that they would most likely not finish one lap.
In the world created on the ¼ mile tracks of the NHRA, zero to max speed is vastly superior to pacing speeds. The zero to 336 mph in less than 5 seconds is much more attractive than the zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds of the supercars. On the roads of Le Mans, Sebring and Monaco, speed is important, but takes a back seat to handling. While the aerodynamic designs of the supercars allow for the high speeds to be controlled, the demanding twists and turns of Formula 1 Racetracks demand even higher engineering designs.
So where does that leave us? In the USA, the fastest cars in the world like the Ultimate Aero and the Bugatti Veyron are beautiful to look at but really undesirable for driving. Face it, we have speed bumps, potholes and red lights…all mortal enemies of high speed cars. Perhaps in Germany where roads like the Autobahn exist, these cars have their place. But in the South Beach section of Miami, where the supercar’s speed is not your friend, all they do is get your picture in the paper so the public can ridicule you.