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Hypercars: Basic Fact Cheat Sheet For Sounding Like An Expert

We’ve all heard of supercars.  Now supercars can move over, as there’s a new category on the block: hypercars.  However, they won’t be on the block for long – in fact, they’ll be several blocks away almost before you can blink because these cars are seriously, seriously fast.

In a nutshell, a hypercar is defined as a road-legal production car that’s super-fast and usually super-luxurious.  They tend to be limited edition items produced by the high-end manufacturers – and are priced accordingly.  One writer has compared them to diamonds: rare, dazzling and extremely expensive.  Let’s just say that they’re probably beyond the budget of the typical Australian driver, although we can dream and drool!

Hypercars differ from Formula 1 vehicles and those things that look like rockets that scream around the salt flats of Utah trying to break the land speed record.  Firstly, all of the hypercars are actually road legal, even if it isn’t legal to drive the speeds that they’re capable of under normal driving conditions (you need to head to the track to do that).  Secondly, they tend to be a lot prettier and more comfortable than the racers and the land speed record holders.  You could easily put a hypercar on a poster – in fact, quite a lot of people do, especially teenage boys.  They’ve got the curves that are pleasing to the eye as well as reducing drag, the array of LED headlights and beautiful gleaming paint.

Hypercars tend to come in colours that have a visceral punch and tell our basic instincts that here is danger and power as well as beauty: red, yellow and black – with a combination of red and black being the most common. However, touches of dark grey and orange have crept in here, just to add a bit of variety to the calendars that feature them, I guess!

You already know the names of the classic hypercar manufacturers: Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Aston Martin and Bugatti (sorry, Rolls-Royce, your vehicles are too sedate to be considered hypercars; Porsche and Jaguar , you’re too common!).  However, there are a number of new players on the hypercar track.  We all got rather interested back at the turn of the century or thereabouts when Swedish manufacturer Koenigsegg came onto the scene and then picked up the record for the fastest production car in 2005 with the CCR – and things have just accelerated in more ways than one from there, with Bugatti and Koenigsegg battling it out for the title fastest production car, top acceleration, etc. Another name to keep an eye on is Hennessey, which put out the Venom F5.

There is also a player in the world of hypercars: Corbellati.  Corbellati hopes that its new Missile (the prototype debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show) will be the one to take the title of fastest production car when it actually finishes the production process some time in 2019.  It’s certainly got the specs to make it a serious contender: a 9-L V8 biturbo that has a legion of horses under the somewhat retro-styled bonnet (1800 hp) and so much torque that I looked twice and in several places to make sure that I hadn’t missed a decimal point: 2350 Nm.  Honestly, that’s more than a very good farm tractor produces, and when this is applied to something styled for low drag and has the weight reduced thanks to aluminium, carbon fibre and titanium, we’re talking about serious speed: over 500 km/h is what it’s tipped to do. Have a good drool at the official website  if you want!

In the world of hypercars, speed limiters do not exist.  Top speeds over 400 km/h are common.  And forget about 0–100 sprint times: some of these hypercars brag about their 0–300 km/h times: the Hennessey Venom F5 can do it in under 10 seconds.

At the time of writing, the hypercars have a tendency to make you think that concepts like “peak oil” and “carbon footprint” and “fuel economy” don’t exist or at least aren’t a problem.  However, if the trend on the racetrack is anything to do by – and if Tesla decides to go upmarket rather than downmarket from its supercars – then this will change.  Koenigsegg have a hybrid hypercar in production in the form of the Regera, and some of their models (e.g. the Trevita) have biofuel variants.

Every car enthusiast has his or her favourite hypercar, even if we will never get the chance to drive them in real life and will have to make do with computer games.  Being a sucker for Swedish cars as well as admiring their token gesture towards sustainability, I’m a fan of Koenigsegg.  However, some of those Bugatti models look pretty hot…

If you have been lucky enough to ride or even drive in a hypercar, please share your experience in the comments – we’d love to hear all about it!

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