There’s an increasing number of top-end hypercars vying for glory in the race to break the 300 mph (482 km/h) record for a production car, with automakers like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Hennessey, Dubai-based Devel Motors and Croatia’s Rimac Automobili all aspiring to be the first to set that record.

However, there remains a very real and legitimate barrier inhibiting that achievement – tyre technology. Michelin’s product manager for original equipment, Eric Schmedding told Bloomberg “it’s a big game, with fierce competition, and it’s very fast-moving.” The tyre company based in France produced the record-breaking tyres (Pilot Sport Cup 2) used by Koenigsegg and Bugatti.

It’s a crucial piece of technology, because the real limiter to 300 mph isn’t actually engine power; 1,200, 1,500 horsepower or even more can be achieved. More often than not, it boils down to downforce and friction, where the wheels meet the road. If anything goes wrong, even below the 300 mph mark, things can turn fatal if anything goes wrong with a tyre.

The challenge right now is to mitigate heat, pressure and wear. The tyres used on a 300 mph attempt must be able to repeatedly withstand high speeds for minutes at a time, because the official record is awarded after taking the average speed of several runs over a set course. The good news is, Schmedding said, “we are knocking on the door of 300 mph.”

Currently, the race to 300 mph features a star-studded line-up, starting with the Bugatti Chiron (1,479 hp, 1,600 Nm), Koenigsegg Agera RS (boosted to 1,360 hp, 1,369 Nm) and Hennessey Venom F5 (1,600 hp targeted output). McLaren on the other hand, will soon join the party with its own hyper-GT, the BP23.