Useless? Maybe. But do we love it? Absolutely!
This lightning in a bottle all-electric sports car from the Croatian manufacturers Rimac Automobili, the Rimac Nevera has just conquered another Guinness World Record title — highest speed achieved by a production car… when going backwards.
— Guinness World Records (@GWR) November 7, 2023
The record, held for over two decades by the super lightweight sports car Caterham 7 Fireblade, was sent tumbling down when the Nevera hit 171.34 mph at the Automotive Testing Papenburg facility in Germany. Yes, you read that right. 171 mph, or 275 km/h, when going backwards. We bet your Golf can’t do that.
Jokes aside, this hypercar with boundless downforce and mind-bogglingly rapid acceleration, seems like it’s coming for every other record imaginable. The insane balance of the car was on display a few months ago when it claimed the fastest EV lap record at Nürburgring, outpacing the likes of Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan by a staggering 20 seconds (some believed an even faster time was possible).
The Papenberg facility, which features two 4km straights and is often used by other German automotive giants like Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen for high-speed development and tests, was chosen by the Rimac as it’s also the site where the Nevera broke over 20 other acceleration and braking records in just one day, including the blistering 256mph top-speed run.
Matija Renić, chief engineer for the Nevera, said the Croatian EV company is now entering “uncharted territory”.
He said: “It occurred to us during development that Nevera would probably be the world’s fastest car in reverse, but we kind of laughed it off. The aerodynamics, cooling and stability hadn’t been engineered for travelling backwards at speed, after all.
“But then we started to talk about how fun it would be to give it a shot. Our simulations showed that we could achieve well over 150mph, but we didn’t have much of an idea how stable it would be.”
The record-breaking Nevera wore the same green-and-black Time Attack Edition livery as previous record-breakers, 12 of which are available for customers to buy.
Rimac test driver Goran Drndak, who took the Nevera on the record-setting reverse run, said: “You’re facing straight out backwards watching the scenery flash away from you faster and faster, feeling your neck pulled forwards in almost the same sensation you would normally get under heavy braking.”
He spoke of how demanding it was to manage each and every variable, from moving the steering wheel so gently as to not upset the car’s balance to being mindful of his braking point and keeping an eye on his speed.
The Nevera, launched in 2021 with 1877bhp and already the fastest production car in the world, capable of doing 0-100mph in 3.2sec and 0-200mph in just under 11sec, can hit top speeds of 219mph, but you can theoretically reach 256mph, although in controlled conditions at Rimac-supported events.
All this is, of course, when driving forward. We think the backwards top speed of 171mph should be enough for the average driver.