Ever since the invention of the car people have used it to set records. Many of these records were set on race tracks and closed areas like the Salt Flats or beaches in England. But some of these records involve public roads.
One of the first records document on video was the 1976 film Rendezvous by Claude Lelouch. Claude Lelouch drove from one end of Paris to the other early in the morning setting a record that will never probably never be improved.
In the late 80’s bankers and workers from the City in London used the M25 orbital highway around London to set time trial records on the 188km long lap. Record times of under 1 hour were achieved with an average speed of 120mph. Later the police cracked down on the illegal events and the record hasn’t been broken since.
In 2001 Alex Roy set a record for fastest lap around Manhattan as described in his book ‘The Driver’ (must read if you haven’t yet). Alex later broke the transcontinental record from New York to Los Angeles in 31 hours 4 minutes.
In 2010 a group called the CBC took on Alex Roy’s record for the fastest lap around Manhattan. After three weeks of reconnaissance and test runs CBC drove the same route as Alex drove for his record in 2001 with a start and finish at the bottom of Manhattan. The total length of the run is 24 miles or roughly 38 kilometers. Without traffic and following the speed limit this can be done in roughly 40 minutes. Especially the 54 traffic lights along the west side of Manhattan cause delays in the record attempt as the CBC doesn’t run any lights to prevent getting stopped by the police.
After 26 minutes and 3 seconds they cross the finish line setting a new record for fastest driven lap of Manhattan. With an average speed of 56.1mph and top speed of 111mph. If CBC hadn’t stopped and managed to keep the same pace it could have been done in under 23 minutes. Upping th pace to over 73mph average would even make a sub 20 minute lap time possible, so unlike Rendezvous in Paris we might see another record attempt in Manhattan in the next few years.