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Michelin Close To Making Tires That Can Cope With 300 MPH

Interview / 13 Comments

Exciting times are ahead.

Right now, several high-end automakers are attempting to break the elusive 300 mph barrier. As top speeds continue to increase, carmakers like Bugatti, Rimac, Koenigsegg and Hennessey want to achieve the ultimate bragging rights of producing the first production car that can reach a speed of 300 mph. Currently, the Koenigsegg Agera RS holds the current top speed record at 277.87 mph, but John Hennessey is confident the upcoming Venom F5 hypercar will beat that and hit 300 mph.

"Achieving 300 mph (482.8 km/h) is the goal," he said in a recent interview with Bloomberg, adding that speed records are "important for our company, our family and our customers." After all, being the first automaker to record 300-mph in a production car would generate significant publicity. But with more hypercars producing over 1,000 hp than ever before, engine power alone isn't preventing manufacturers achieve 300 mph. The fact is there aren't any street-legal tires in production yet that can withstand the extreme forces generated at 300 mph – but French tire company Michelin hopes to change that soon.

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Michelin developed the record-breaking Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires used by Koenigsegg and Bugatti. It all boils down to downforce and friction, but even at below-record speeds, if anything goes wrong with a tire the situation could turn fatal. The challenge, Bloomberg says, is to mitigate heat, pressure, and wear. Since an official record is awarded after taking the average speed of multiple runs on a set course, the tires on a 300-mph record attempt would need to repeatedly withstand high speeds for minutes at a time. This obviously poses significant challenges, but Michelin is getting close to developing tires that can withstand 300 mph.

"We are knocking on the door of 300 mph," Schmedding said. Right now, the race to 300 mph is between the 1,479-hp Bugatti Chiron, 1,360-hp Koenigsegg Agera RS and 1,600-hp Hennessey Venom F5. McLaren will also be joining club with its upcoming hyper-GT, the BP23.