In case you haven’t heard at this point, the SSC Tuatara is now officially the fastest car in the world. Smashing past the likes of Bugatti and Koenigsegg, The 5.9L twin-turbo V8-powered Tuatara was able to lay down an impressive two-way average of 316.11 MPH. Crazier still, the car reached a one-way top speed of over 331 mph. In an interview following the attempt, SSC’s own Jerod Shelby let Car Throttle in on the fact that the run was made using street tires.
Some of you may be asking what the big deal is here, but believe us when we say this is a bit surprising. Every tire comes with a speed rating as given by the manufacturer, based on the design of the tire and the heat it can withstand. As you can probably imagine, tires are under a lot of load on a tire when traveling at speeds equivalent to 485 feet every second. Currently, there are no street tires that are rated to even come close to the speeds SSC achieved in Nevada.
In fact, before the Bugatti Chiron made its own attempt at 300 mph, the automaker reached out to a fellow French company in Michelin to ask if they could help. The two worked together to design a carbon fiber reinforced tire carcass. The two companies then tested their design at speed via some airplane landing gear.
On the contrary, the SSC Tuatara simply wore a set of off-the-rack Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The kind on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, GT500, and others. The company independently tested the tires and felt that they were safe up to the record-breaking speeds they had projected for themselves. Perhaps Bugatti and Michelin tried to pull a fast one on all of us.
Now, it is important to note that the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires were indeed filled with nitrogen for the speed run, and were running at a higher pressure than standard. Shelby noted that the team only used one set of tires during the entire day of attempt runs, which just speaks volumes about modern tire technology. It’s impressive nonetheless for SSC to claim the record with a customer car right on down to the rubber.