How to drive fast legally in the UK

Published: 25 December 2019

► How to get the most of your car
► In a safe legal way
► We list a few options

Not a day goes by that we aren’t reminded just how strict the UK’s road rules are, how mercilessly the police enforce them and, how arguably draconian our speed limits are in a modern world. And that raises the question – what’s the point of having cars that can comprehensively obliterate the national speed limit without even breaking a sweat?

One simple answer is that fast cars still make a lot of sense to many even when they aren’t going fast. There is an immense amount of enjoyment to be had piloting a high-performance car within the speed limit. Sonorous exhaust notes, blistering acceleration, sharp handling and athletic road-holding can all be appreciated when on the right road in the correct conditions.

But what you might not know is that there are a number of ways you can smash the national speed limit in the UK without jeopardising your licence at all. It takes a little more planning than simply jumping in your car and hitting the loud pedal, but here’s how you can get the thrill of going fast legally.

Track day

Track days can be a cost-effective way of getting behind the wheel of your own car on a real racing circuit – without speed limits.

As a bare minimum, all you need is a roadworthy car that’s well maintained, current driver’s license and the track fee.

There’s a bit more to it in terms of preparation but with a little homework and reading up, you could be rolling out on the circuit to see what your car can really do when it’s let off the leash.

Advanced driving course

If you don’t like the idea of pushing the limits on a track in your own car, then perhaps an advanced driving course is your preferred route to legal high speeds. There is a multitude of driving courses available all over the UK for different abilities of drivers and all of them provide use of a car as part of the deal.

This obviously drives up the cost of participation but at least you’ll know you are getting in a car that’s correctly maintained for the purpose of driving fast. It may also be necessary to complete a few mandatory rudimentary courses before graduating to high-performance cars and the higher speeds, but you’ll be honing your car-control skills every step of the way.

Circuit racing on a shoestring

If a taste of the track has left you wanting more, a little competitive fast driving might be what’s missing from your automotive life.

Motorsport is never a cheap pastime in any of its forms, but it can be hugely rewarding and fun, and many amateur racers see the investment as wholly worthwhile.

Drag racing

Still not enough pace? How about drag racing? This relatively simple form of motorsport might seem as daunting as it is fast, but there are countless classes and categories to find a way in and onto the long stretch of asphalt.

Like track days, many drag strips offer ‘off-street’ meetings where curious participants can participate in virtually anything street legal and put in a ‘pass’. If that lights a fire in your tyres, it’s not a big step up to competitive drag racing thanks to the numerous classes.

Take a trip up north

Or if all that seems too involved, daunting or just too complicated, you could head to Germany, where stretches of the Autobahn have no speed limit at all. 

Porsche 918 Spyder Northern Territory

Previously, the NT has offered sections of highway with no speed limits at all, and the various roads are still the subject of conjecture and controversy. More than one car manufacturer grabbed the opportunity to unleash seriously high-performance cars on the road, but the party didn’t last long, with limits reimposed shortly after.