Washington-based SSC shocked the automotive world in October when it announced that its Tuatara supercar had hit 331 mph on a closed Nevada highway and claimed a production car speed record with two-way average of 316 mph, but the doubters were fast behind.
SSC Tuatara Production Car Speed Record, Pahrump NV. Oct 10, 2020 Photo: James Lipman
Several automotive YouTubers analyzed video of the run that was released and found inconsistencies that raised questions of the accuracy of its depiction of the event. These included overlaid GPS speed data not matching up with what was shown by the point-of-view camera; a helicopter seen following it at indicated speeds that it is incapable of reaching; and passing landmarks that offered reference points to compare it with the Koenigsegg Agera that used the same stretch of road to set the unofficial mark at 278 mph, which is the average of two runs in opposite directions to account for wind and other environmental factors.
SSC Tuatara Production Car Speed Record, Pahrump, Nev., Oct. 10, 2020. (Photo: James Lipman)
The $1.9 million Tuatara has a twin-turbocharged V8 that produces a claimed 1,750 hp. For comparison, a Bugatti Chiron that hit 304 mph on a German test track in 2019 used a 1,500 hp quad-turbocharged 16-cylinder motor, which suggests the Tuatara is potentially capable of similar speeds.
SSC owner Jerod Shelby said the issue stemmed from a poorly edited video that was produced by an outside production company and not reviewed before it was published. The company that made the GPS equipment, Dewetron, was not on-site the day of the record attempt and said it couldn’t validate the results.
316 MPH SSC TUATARA OWNER TO RAISE $316,000 FOR CHARITY
Even the driver, British pro racer Oliver Webb, revealed on Instagram that he had no way of confirming what the speed was, but Shelby said has a way to settle things once and for all.
“Nothing we do in the coming days to try to salvage this particular record, it’s always going to have a stain on it,” he said in a YouTube video. “So, as I sat there thinking through — there was just no way to now make this perfect — it hit me: we have to rerun the record. We have to do this again and do it in a way that it’s undeniable and irrefutable.”
Shelby said they’re working to do it in the near future and will equip the car with GPS devices with several companies monitored by representatives from their manufacturers. He has also invited the YouTubers to come to witness the attempt in-person, but hasn’t confirmed who will drive the car. Webb has not yet responded to a request for comment from Fox News Autos.
SSC (formerly known as Shelby Supercars) had previously held the Guinness-recognized world’s fastest production car record from 2007 to 2010 with its Ultimate Aero model, which set a mark of 256.15 mph on a highway in Washington with a 73-year-old pilot named Chuck Bigelow behind the wheel.
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