Reaching 300 MPH Takes More Than Brute Power

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Bugatti and Koenigsegg are just the latest to fight a battle for high speeds going back decades.

There's no lack of metrics for the world's supercar (and hypercar) manufacturers to duel over for bragging rights. Horsepower, acceleration, Nurburgring lap times. But few are as hotly contested, or exciting to follow, as top speeds. And that's the subject of this latest video from Donut Media.

The story goes back to the dawn of mechanized propulsion, from the earliest locomotives through the Bonneville streamliners of the 1950s. And yes, it includes road cars. Not just the Bugattis and Koenigseggs duking it out today, but the Jaguars, Aston Martins, Porsches, and Ferraris that came before.

These days it all comes down to a handful of Europe's exotic automakers, and a few from America. Cars like the Koenigsegg Agera and Bugatti Chiron from one side of the Atlantic, and the SSC Ultimate Aero and Hennessey Venom from the other. But while the latter has claimed to have broken the 300-mile-per-hour barrier, the record wasn't verified by the arbiters at Guinness. That leaves the Swedes at Koenigsegg and the Alsatians at Bugatti to fight it out for the ultimate bragging rights of the fastest cars in production today.

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So why haven't they hit the triple-century mark yet? It's not as simple a matter as it might seem. There's wind resistance and tire wear to take into account, and the rate of return in adding more power drops off the higher the speeds get. So it's not just a matter of making a more powerful car. But someone will crack the barrier eventually, and make it official when it does. It's not a matter of "if," but "when"... and with the established players constantly being prodded by upstart challengers, a big old dose of "who," too.

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