The supercharged 2015 Kawasaki H2R lit the Internet ablaze as soon as its first teaser surfaced last year. Not to be confused with the street-legal H2, the race-only H2R features staggering stats: $50,000 price tag, ultra-limited production, 998cc, liquid-cooled supercharged inline-four engine, claimed 300hp, 476 lb. curb weight = fastest production hyperbike ever. Immediately, I started putting the wheels in motion to get this wild creation in the same room as acclaimed supercars for a top speed comparo.
Teaming up with Sport Rider Magazine and Omega Motorsport, a half-mile roll race came together in a mere two weeks. The location: Minter Airfield in Shafter, CA. Challengers: million-dollar Bugatti Veyron with a 1200hp Super Sport Tune, 1350hp SP Engineering R35 Nissan GT-R, and six-figure McLaren MP4-12C. Each supercar highlighting a different level of speed.
Gaining dibs on the first-ever Kawasaki H2R use in America was not easy. Kawasaki U.S.A. only has one and it was broken in on the dyno the day before the airstrip event. Respected moto editor Kent Kunitsugu of Sport Rider Magazine was instrumental in this process and also the rider featured in the videos below.
At the airstrip, time was limited as were the available side-by-side runs. Airport regulations did not allow any tire-warming burnouts on the tarmac. Each car would get three chances with a 50mph roll-on into half-mile run. A radar system at finish line logged trap speed – note that speedos often read high as compared to radar or GPS-based systems. Kent took the H2R on its first-ever pulls the morning of – this was also the rider’s first time on the race model. WATCH the 3 below vids in succession!
Race 1: McLaren MP4-12C vs. H2R
Trap Speed: 192mph H2R | 162mph 12C
First up, the McLaren. Kent had only three solo shakedown runs under his belt at this time. That did not stop the H2R from running away from the 12C each time. Decisive victory. Wheel lift at initial first/second gear WOT kept bike trap speed down.
Race 2: Bugatti Veyron 16.4 vs. H2R
Trap Speed: 194.5mph H2R | 180mph Veyron
The Veyron is one of the most expensive and wild supercars ever created. Released in 2005, the base model price tag topped $1.2 million dollars – upgraded models surpassed $2 million dollars! It features an 8.0L turbo-quad W-16 engine and AWD. According to owner Travis Ellis, the Veyron seen here recently received a Super Sport tune bumping power to 1200hp. It was found more tuning is required to fully dial it in.
The H2R won each of the three runs, including a dig start featured in video. As you can see, the H2R started late. This was due to it being the first time Kent had ever tried drag launching the boosted beast. Either way, the H2R caught up mid track and pulled away. Note, the Bugatti began to claw back near finish, showing its top speed character.
Race 2: 1350hp SPE GT-R vs. H2R
Trap Speed: 208mph GT-R | 204mph H2R
Finally, two Japanese heavyweights squared off under the mid afternoon sun. In one corner, a parachute-equipped 1350hp SP Engineering R35 Nissan GT-R and in the other a warmed up H2R rider that found starting in second helped keep the wheel down and up trap speed.
The GT-R rules the straight-line speed world ( see TX2K 2015) and this R35 is by no means a daily driver. SPE used much of the day to dial in the tune.
The first two runs saw the GT-R limp out due to clutch pressure issues. The final run though was clean and a clear win for SP Engineering. Go-Go Godzilla!
For those interested, Super Street Network lined up the world’s most powerful production bike of 2012 (Kawasaki ZX-14R) against tuners at the same airstrip during the 2014 Top Speed Shootout: