A specially-modified Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid has set a Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) H/PS land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, averaging 186.313 mph (299.842 km/h) over two runs.

The class is for “production cars with engines of less than 1.5 litres that use forced induction” – they couldn’t have been more specific! Apart from beating its previous record by 18.8 mph (30.3 km/h), the car averaged 187.147 mph (301.184 km/h) in the last mile of the second run  – the fastest run recorded by a hybrid at Bonneville.

The production Jetta Hybrid has a 1.4 litre TSI that works with an electric motor to give a combined 170 hp and 249 Nm of torque, but the Jetta Hybrid LSR (as the project car is called) has been fettled by Wolfsburg’s R&D team to give “somewhere around 300 hp,” with drivetrain calibration undertaken by the engineers at Volkswagen Test Centre California.

As per SCTA’s strict guidelines, the suspension was lowered, special salt-running wheels and tyres were fitted, and the stripped-out interior carries a roll cage, racing seat, harness and a full fire suppression system.

“This was a fascinating project for our engineering team in Wolfsburg, who had to integrate the complex hybrid elements and generate a lot of additional power in a very short period of time in order to take the record,” said VW Test Centre California executive vice president Marc Trahan.

“The Jetta Hybrid LSR project shows both the sporty nature of our hybrid offering and the technical excellence of our engineers in Wolfsburg and the Test Centre California,” he added.