SSC Claims It Set a New Top Speed World Record With 282.9-MPH Tuatara Re-Run
The hypercar company was forced to redo its top speed run after the company acknowledged that its last attempt wasn’t recorded accurately.
We may finally be able to call the 1,750-horsepower SSC Tuatara hypercar the fastest production car in the world—for good this time. American hypercar manufacturer SSC claims that it re-did its production car top speed world record run on January 17, 2021, hitting a record-setting two-way average speed of 282.6 mph.
Things were different this time. Instead of running in Nevada again, the SSC team took to the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In place of racing driver Oliver Webb behind the wheel was the owner of Tuatara No. 001, Larry Caplin. As for validating the speed, SSC claims that it used equipment from Racelogic (specifically, a VBox), Life Racing, Garmin and the International Mile Racing Association.
In order for a production car top speed record to stick, the car has to set an average speed in both directions. At 2:38:09 p.m. local time, Caplin set a northbound speed of 279.7 mph. Shortly afterwards at 3:28:51 p.m., he set a southbound speed of 286.1 mph. Together, these two runs averaged 282.9 mph.
The car had a total of 2.3 miles to run on the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds and took nearly all of that length—1.9 miles—to hit its highest top speed of 286.1 mph. The acceleration was absolutely brutal all the way, with the Tuatara rocketing up to 244 mph across one mile and taking 2.87 seconds at the end of its faster southbound run to go from 274 to 286 mph, per stats released by the company.
In a press release announcing the new record time, Shelby explained that Caplin even approached the record run differently than Webb did in October, driving the Tuatara more like a drag car:
“We took a different approach this time in accelerating the car to the higher speeds. Larry Caplin, who owns the car, used a ‘drag race’ style of acceleration during the record runs, pulling full throttle and boost for 40-50 seconds. Back in October we were leaning into the speed much slower and used only about 20-25 seconds of full throttle and boost during the run. The difference is impressive both performance and operation wise. Larry pulled off a run that was far more difficult, at least by a factor of four, than what we attempted in Nevada.”
The previous production car top speed record holder was the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which hit an average top speed of 277.9 mph. The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ prototype later hit 304.77 mph, but because that speed was only achieved in one direction, it didn't count as a new record.
SSC hopes its do-over will stick this time after questions regarding the accuracy of its previous 316-mph top speed record claim in October forced the company to admit that there were problems with its data. Company founder Jerod Shelby promised the Tuatara would re-run its record attempt with more accurate recording. The YouTubers who teamed up on a detailed analysis of how the Tuatara's October run couldn't be as fast as SSC claimed—Robert Mitchell, Misha Charoudin and Shmee150—were even invited to watch. Mitchell even appears in the video Shelby released today of its top speed do-over to break down the key stats from the run.
SSC didn't break 300 mph this time, as it claimed it did in October, but that's still the company's goal to hit, and Caplin seems confident that it's possible.
“I got a taste of full power in the top of seventh [gear] on the last run," Caplin explained in a company press release. "I am excited to come back and break 300 mph.”
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