American hypercar manufacturer SSC North America has obliterated the record for the world’s fastest production car, its SSC Tuatara recording an average speed of 508.73km/h over two runs on State Route 160 in Nevada on 10 October, 2020.
The SSC Tuatara was driven by British Racing driver Oliver Webb on an 11km stretch of the highway, closed for the record attempt.
On his first run, Webb hit a top speed of 484.53km/h but it was his return run of 532.93km/h that secured the official world record. To claim the mantle of world’s fastest production car, two runs must be completed, one in each direction and within an hour-long time frame.
The SSC Tuatara’s two-run average speed of 508.73km/h shattered the previous record of 447km/h, held by the Koenigsegg Agera RS.
To add some cream on top, Webb’s run also saw the Tuatara grab a couple of other world records: Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road (503.92km/h) and Fastest Flying Kilometre on a Public Road (517.16km/h).
Amazingly, Webb believed he could have gone even faster.
“There was definitely more in there,” he said. “And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster, as I approached 331mph (532km/h), the Tuatara climbed almost 20mph (32km/h) within the last five seconds. The car wasn’t running out of steam yet. The crosswinds are all that prevented us from realising the car’s limit.”
So what is the SSC Tuatara? It’s an American built hypercar weighing a svelte 1247kg. Powered by a twin-turbo 5.9-litre flatplane crank V8 making either 1007kW at 6800rpm on regular fuel or a mind-boggling 1305kW at 8800rpm on E85. Torque is rated 1735Nm at 6800rpm.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automated manual transmission operated by paddle shifters. The Tuatara sits on 20-inch carbon-forged wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport 2 rubber measuring 245/35 YR20 at the front and 345/35 YR20 out back.
The full list of criteria to claim an official world record include:
- Be completed in a production vehicle; it must be identical to the same vehicle anyone can buy
- Drive the same route in opposite directions, and average the two speeds. This allows for winds and road grade that may have favoured the vehicle while traveling in only one direction
- Achieve this feat on a public road
- Have its speed tracked by a certified GPS measurement system, and have two world-record sanctioned witnesses on site for verification.
- Run on street tyres
- Run on non-race fuel
This isn’t the first time SSC has held the record for world’s fastest production car, with the SSC Aero TT claiming the mantle in 2007 with an officially-recognised 410km/h.
And what of the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport’s run of 490.48km/h at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in 2019? Not recognised because Bugatti didn’t complete two runs, and nor was the single run conducted on a public road as per the criteria for claiming such records.
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