Earlier this month, race car driver and TV host Tanner Foust piloted a tuned Mercedes R63 AMG to a new, record-setting top speed. The minivan, a type of car Foust has never raced, hit 165.5 miles per hour (266.3 kilometres per hour) over a mile of road for Optima Batteries. It happened on August 7 during this year’s Sandhills Open Road Challenge 1-Mile Shootout.

There’s a super-short video of the MPV crossing the finish line with the white 165.5 blazing on the board situated on the other side of the road. Stock, the R63 came with a hand-built 6.2-litre V8 making 503 bhp (375 kilowatts) and 465 pound-feet (630 Newton-metres) of torque. However, in Foust’s race car, the mill produces 700 bhp (521 kW). The extra horsepower comes from a Stage 2 M156 supercharger from Weistec Engineering, which helped with the build.

Gallery: Weistec-tuned Mercedes-Benz R63 race car by Optima Batteries

We don’t know what other modifications were made to the MPV, but earlier this year, a Weistec-tuned R63 hit the Bring A Trailer vehicle auction site that also featured the tuner's Stage 2 supercharger, making the same 700 bhp. Other upgrades to that R63 included an upgraded intercooler and exhaust system, a lowered suspension, SLS valve-lifter buckets, Brembo brakes, and more. We expect there were additional safety features added to the racer before the event.

The record-setting top speed isn’t that much higher than the R63’s stock 155-mph (250-kph) limit, though it’s still fast enough to set a new record. Go-fast MPV aren’t that common. Even Mercedes struggled to find buyers for the R63 when it was on sale, discontinuing the oddball after just one model year in 2007. The company only made 200 examples, and at least one of them is now a race car, which would make it difficult for someone to build their 165-mph tribute R63.

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OPTIMA® Batteries, a leading brand of Clarios, set the record of the Fastest Street-Legal Minivan. Recent OPTIMA PowerPro Ambassador addition Tanner Foust drove a Mercedes Benz R63 AMG, powered by an OPTIMA Batteries YELLOWTOP H6, for a 1-mile stretch to the title of the Fastest Street-Legal Minivan on August 7th. Foust drove the minivan to a record speed of 165.5mph. Weistec Engineering helped to engineer the street-legal minivan, which included their Stage 2 M156 Supercharger, producing 700 horsepower.

“I’ve raced in all types of car, but never a minivan. I can’t wait to get out there and prove that minivans can burn some serious rubber too,” said Foust, a four-time X Games gold medalist for RallyCross and Gymkhana, and a two-time Formula Drift champion. “I’m bringing my full book of dad jokes for this ride!”

The attempt at the title for the Fastest Street Legal Minivan will take place this year at the Sandhills Open Road Challenge 1-mile Shootout on August 7th. The Sandhills is a remote location that also includes a 55-mile rally-style open road race through the scenic sandhills in Arnold, Neb.

“We can’t wait to see if this minivan, powered by OPTIMA Batteries, has got what it takes to make the new record for the Fastest Street-Legal Minivan. It’s been a big year for OPTIMA and to further showcase all the power our products have on the performance of your vehicles with this latest example in the new record-breaking minivan attempt,” says Cam Douglass, Director of Marketing, OPTIMA Batteries, Clarios.

In addition to attempting the title, OPTIMA Batteries will be hosting two Ride Shotgun winners, a promotion that offered enthusiasts a once-in-a-lifetime chance to “Ride Shotgun” with their racing heroes. Two lucky winners will get to ride out their experience the weekend of the Sandhills Open Road Challenge. Winners were announced last year at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Winner Yvonne Juergens will be traveling to Nebraska to ride shotgun with OPTIMA PowerPro Ambassador Betim Berisha in his Porsche GT3 Cup. Berisha is the owner of BBi Autosport and has helped create a wide range of track-ready components for modern Porsches. In 2019, BBi Autosport’s 900-horsepower, twin-turbo OPTIMA Sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 made a record run at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, setting a new record at the event

The other Ride Shotgun winner, Skip Reagan, will be traveling from Texas to ride shotgun with OPTIMA PowerPro Ambassador Mike Weiss. Weiss leads his California-based Weistec Engineering team in Mercedes-Benz research, development, and design to break records and set high performance standards.

The events at Sandhills come amidst OPTIMA’s new website launch and the release of OPTIMA’s H7 battery later this year. 2020 hasn’t slowed OPTIMA Batteries down.