>> Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The invitation was brief, but intriguing. “Philanthropist and businessman David McMahan unveils the world’s newest, fastest, street legal supercar, officially certified by the World Records Academy. Please join us for breakfast and viewing this remarkable, beautifully crafted, one-of-a kind car, harnessing over 1600 horsepower.” Three eye-popping numbers that suggested that, if not the fastest, the G-Force might be one of the quickest cars in the world: 0–60 in 2.134 seconds; 0–100 in 4.541 seconds; 0–100–0 in 8.861 seconds.
We’re not sure if there is a real good way to harness 1600 hp, but if any car is going to be able to snatch “world’s fastest” status from the current titleholder, it’s going to need all the horsepower it can get. The record is currently held by, depending on who you ask, either the 1001-hp, 253-mph Bugatti Veyron 16.4 or the 1183-hp SSC Ultimate Aero (built by Shelby Supercars), the latter of which the Guinness Book of Records certified as the world’s fastest production car when it hit 256 mph in 2007. The 2009 Ultimate Aero now makes 1287 hp, for what it’s worth.
We arrived at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, stood around the car’s satin-draped form, and waited, ready with questions. What is Maxximus? Where is it based? What exactly is under the hood of the G-Force? How much will it cost? How many will be built? And of course, when do we get to drive it? Within minutes, the regal Dr. McMahan wafted in, accompanied by Marion Kirby, the builder of the G-Force, to give us the answers.
The Ultimate Ultima
How does one build a car that beats the fastest cars in the world? Well, for an outfit as “mini” as Maxximus, starting with a solid basis was key. Kirby chose as his starting point Great Britain’s featherweight, mid-engine Ultima GTR720, which has been available as a kit or turnkey car in more or less the same form for a quarter of a century. The Ultima GTR is hardly new, but it’s always been quick. Our most recent GTR test happened way back in April 2000. An expensive car at $152,150 as tested, that example’s 345-hp Corvette-sourced LS1 V-8 powered the 2314-pound skateboard to a 3.3-second 0–60 time and an 8.2-second 0–100 time. It also pulled 0.98 g on the skidpad. Those are all impressive figures, even today. The later GTR720 uses a 720-hp small-block Chevrolet engine to generate acceleration figures that are among the best of all “production” street cars in history: 0–60 in 2.6 seconds, 100 mph in 5.3 seconds, and 0–100–0 in 9.4 seconds, according to Ultima.