331 MPH: Watch the SSC Tuatara Claim a Bugatti-Crushing Speed Record [UPDATE]
The SSC Tuatara has been flying under the radar for a bit. It's been made in very limited numbers by a somewhat unknown company, and it has a rather conventional—when compared to a Bugatti, at least—turbocharged V8 engine. However, there have been rumors floating around that it had eclipsed the production car speed record previously set by the Bugatti Chiron, though details of the secret test in Nevada were scarce. Until today, that is, when a video of the Tuatara hitting an unbelievable 331 miles per hour surfaced on YouTube.
UPDATE 10/31: SSC CEO Jerod Shelby released a video admitting the ongoing controversy over video inconsistencies and a lack of data regarding the top speed run have made it impossible for the company to make a legitimate claim to a world record. Shelby claims SSC will make another attempt in the near future, this time with "undeniable and irrefutable" safeguards in place to ensure proper recording. The original story continues below.
Posted to the Top Gear channel, it's probably the least dramatic 331-mph run we've ever witnessed.
Weighing just 2,750 pounds and packing a 1,750-horsepower turbocharged V8 from legendary engine builder Nelson Racing, it's almost unsurprising the Tuatara can go as fast as it does. What is surprising about it is how easily it does so. It rips past the previously unbelievable 267-mph of the Bugatti Veyron, crushes the Bugatti Chiron's unfathomable 304-mph, and crests at 331, looking as if it still has some juice left to keep going.
Indeed, the driver behind the wheel, Oliver Webb, claims in the press release that the vehicle was still pulling strong. The only thing preventing the team from attaining even higher speeds was a strong crosswind.
The run was not completed at a private test track either, not even a runway. It was done on Nevada's Highway 160 between Pahrump and Las Vegas. Traffic was closed on the road for the attempt, of course.
SSC's website claims the vehicle has a top speed of 316-mph, which is the average of the two runs the vehicle made on the arrow-straight highway, the slower run only clocking in at 301-mph. According to the company, the speed was verified by Dewtron GPS, using an average of 15 different satellites. In addition to now being the fastest production car ever, the SSC Tuatara also claims the record of fastest speed ever attained on a public road, as well as two closely-related others. The company's press release did not make it clear if a third party was present to verify the speed—typically somebody like Guinness or Germany's TÜV.
So it looks like every hypercar manufacturer now has some catching up to do. Bugatti has previously stated it is done chasing lofty speeds, however, a company like Mclaren or Koeneiggsegg may be chomping at the bits to retake the production car speed record. But at 331-mph with more still left to give, the SSC Tuatara will certainly be a tough nut to crack.
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