What is the maximum speed of a car?

Applications and Forms Completion Instructions

Introduction to the World Land Speed Record Attempt Process

This flowchart lists the various steps in the process of setting a record: from the application for the Record Attempt to its publication.


There are many different types of World Records which are divided into four main categories (A, B, C & D) and then several Group & Class sub-divisions within those categories.

Definitions of these Categories, Groups, and Classes can be found in Appendix D through the link below.


World Record attempts are governed by regulations as set out in Article 2.7.4 and Appendix D of the FIA’s International Sporting Code. To view these regulations please click on the links here:

  • Appendix D
  • FIA International Sporting Code


Lists of World Records currently recognised by the FIA can be found here:

List of FIA Absolute World Records

List of Records - Category A

List of Records - Category B

List of Records - Category C

List of Records - Category D


For each Record Attempt forms must be completed prior to and on completion of each attempt. To view the forms please click here:

Application for FIA Land Speed Records Competitor License

Application for FIA Land Speed Records Driver License

Organising Permit Application for Single Organizer / Multiple Competitors

Organising Permit Application where the Competitor is the Organizer

Registration for FIA World Record Attempts

Circuit License Application

Hybrid Vehicle Certification

Final Report for Record Attempt


In order to calculate the average speed for a record attempt, the following forms are provided for each major type of record. To view the forms, please click here:

FIA Acceleration and Flying Start Records

Closed Course Record Calculation Form


Long Distance Record Calculation Form


Time Record Calculation Form



There are many World Records for different categories but the most famous is the Outright World Land Speed Record - this is the Absolute World Record for the 1 Mile Flying Start. Absolute World Records are for a given distance or elapsed time, independent of Category, Group, or Class.


The current holder of the Outright World Land Speed Record is ThrustSSC driven by Andy Green, a twin turbofan jet-powered car which achieved 763.035 mph - 1227.985 km/h - over one mile in October 1997. This is the first supersonic record as it exceeded the sound barrier at Mach 1.016.

Other famous holders of the Outright World Land Speed Record include:

• Thrust II driven by Richard Noble- achieved a best speed of 633.468mph / 1019.47km/h in 1983• The Blue Flame driven by Gary Gabelich

- first to exceed 1000 km/h - 630.388 mph / 1014.496 km/h in 1970

• Spirit of America driven by Craig Breedlove- achieved a best speed of 600.601mph / 966.574km/h in 1965• Blue Bird driven by Malcolm Campbell- achieved a best speed of 301.129mph / 484.620km/h in 1935• Golden Arrow driven by Henry Segrave

- achieved a best speed of 231.36mph / 327.34km/h in 1929

Records up to 1935 were predominately set on beaches before the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA became the preferred venue for attempts and was home of nearly all Outright World Land Speed Records set between 1935 and 1970. The current Outright World Land Speed Record was set at Black Rock Desert, USA.

FIA World Land Speed Record Archives

In NSW the maximum speed limit for a vehicle more than 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is 100 km/h.

For certain road conditions, such as sharp bends, steep descents and winding roads, special speed limit signs may be posted for trucks, road trains and buses. You must not drive at a speed greater than the speed shown on the sign.

Speed limiters

Speed limiters are devices that limit a vehicle’s maximum speed. If your vehicle falls into one of the following groups, it must be speed limited to 100 km/h:

  • A truck having a GVM exceeding 15 tonnes
  • A bus used to provide a public passenger service and with a GVM exceeding 14.5 tonnes
  • A heavy vehicle or bus manufactured on or after 1 January 1991 being either a:
    • truck having a GVM exceeding 12 tonnes
    • bus used to provide a public passenger service and with a GVM exceeding 5 tonnes.

Speed compliance

The speed compliance component of the Road Transport (General) Regulation places duties on parties in the supply chain to take steps to ensure that their activities, schedules or arrangements do not cause heavy vehicle drivers to exceed the speed limits.

It complements existing chain of responsibility provisions for mass, load restraint, vehicle dimension and fatigue management.

The speed compliance component applies to heavy vehicles with a GVM of more than 4.5 tonnes.

Chain of responsibility

There is a specific duty on seven off-road parties to take all reasonable steps to ensure that their actions do not cause drivers to exceed speed limits.

See the chain of responsibility for more information.

Heavy vehicle drivers

The Regulation does not impose any obligations on employed drivers. Drivers of heavy vehicles are required to obey the speed limits. Penalties on drivers failing to comply with speed limits include demerit points, licence suspension, cancellation or disqualification and fines.

The most powerful cars intended for road use tend to have a top speed that ranges between 300 and 350 kilometres per hour. Is this due to some physical limitation or just practicality of design because you will never be able to reach these speeds let alone go faster on public roads?

Gordon Drennan, Adelaide, South Australia

The amount of power it takes a car to go faster goes up exponentially. To double a car’s top speed, its engine must be eight times as powerful. Aerodynamic lift over the body also increases exponentially. At the same time, the traction of the tyres has to be better to deliver the higher power required to the road.

Such cars consequently cost a lot more, and as a result, there are far fewer people who can afford to pay for them and who see any point in having such a car.

The fastest road-legal car currently on the market is the Koenigsegg Jesko, which is expected to have a top speed of 483 kilometres per hour – and would cost around A$6.5 million here in Australia, if it weren’t already sold out. But there is no fundamental reason why a road car couldn’t go faster.

Mike Clarke, Castle Hedingham, Essex, UK

It is both difficult and expensive to design tyres capable of speeds over 300 kilometres per hour. Even tyres designed for these speeds need to be in “as new” condition to operate safely. After only a few weeks of use at normal speeds, they probably wouldn’t be safe to use at high speeds.

A further limitation is the driver. At 300 kilometres per hour, you are travelling more than 80 metres per second, but human reaction times vary between about 0.7 and 3 seconds. That means anything 100 metres ahead of you on the road, such as debris, would be almost impossible to react to.

Stephen Johnson, Eugene, Oregon, US

A powerful car whose top speed isn’t restricted by an onboard computer eventually reaches a speed where the vehicle can’t compress any more wind in front of itself. This compression goes up with the square of speed, so that each doubling of speed requires four times as much energy to overcome this effect. In addition, there is drag at the rear of the car from the induced vacuum.

A final limit of sorts on speed is the strength of the suspension system of the car. To prevent high-speed cars from trying to fly as the wind speed under the vehicle increases, spoilers are employed at the rear of the car and air dams at the front. These increase downward force to the point where the effective weight of a moving car on the road can more than double. In a tunnel of the right shape, it would be possible to drive such a car upside down, as it would effectively stick to the road with a force greater than its weight.

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