The SSC Tuatara did not break the 300 mph barrier. But it did break a record.
As founder and CEO Jerod Shelby promised, SSC would have another go at the production car top speed record, following a run involving a wide open Nevada highway, a helicopter, and even a plane when the helicopter was no longer fast enough. The first attempt took place last fall, but the record was scratched after several discrepancies surfaced.
Regardless, Shelby and company were bent on proving that they’d built the fastest production car in the world.
Driving the SSC Tuatara this time was not racing driver Oliver Webb, but the supercar’s very first customer: Dr. Larry Caplin, CEO of DOCS Health, and avid supercar aficionado. And, things went well.
The new speed record attempt took place at Florida’s Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds at the monolithic Kennedy Space Center space shuttle landing facility. The recorded top speeds of the SSC Tuatara are as follows:
Northbound pass: 279.7 mph
Southbound pass: 286.1 mph
This comes to a two-way speed average of 282.9 mph for the SSC Tuatara. Which bests Koegnigsegg’s average speed record of 278 mph. But based on details shared to us, it’s unclear if representatives from the Guinness World Records were on hand to verify the feat. However, SSC noted that multiple speed validation equipment was used. Including: Racelogic (VBox), Life Racing, Garmin and IMRA (International Mile Racing Association) systems.
During last year’s run, the seven miles of open highway allowed for a more gradual easing towards the top speed of the SSC Tuatara, where Oliver Webb held full throttle and boost for only 20-25 seconds of the entirety of the run. However, on the three-mile runway, Caplin had to use a drag race style dig start, holding the Tuatara’s 5.9-liter, twin-turbo V-8 wide open and pushing full boost for 40–50 seconds. As a result of the aggressive run, SSC claims that the Tuatara hit 244 mph within one mile of its standing start.
Robert Mitchell, a YouTube personality that runs Apex Nürburg, was on site to verify the results. Mitchell was one of the folks that blew a whistle on the first record run, leading to SSC to audit what happened, and taking it upon themselves to re-do the attempt. This successful effort seemed to have taken place after a botched attempt, which stemmed from poor mounting of all the telematics equipment.
Nevertheless, Jerod Shelby and company still plan to take the SSC Tuatara to 300 mph, and from the looks of how the latest speed run went, all they’ll need is a longer road.