SSC North America is determined to showcase the highly advertised 300 mph (483 km/h) potential of the Tuatara, getting closer to its goal with a new record run. The US-built supercar managed to achieve 295 mph (474.8 km/h) in the 2.3-mile stretch of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US, and it appears that it would go even faster if it had more space to do so.
In order to avoid any reasonable doubt, the speed was recorded by Racelogic using dual VBOX GNSS systems and an additional Life Racing GPS unit. The record run took place on May 14, 2022. Driving the SSC Tuatara was its owner, Larry Caplin, who broke his previous record.
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For those who are not following the story, the supercar has made several attempts to break the 300 mph barrier. It all started in October 2020 with the initially claimed 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h) speed proving to be inaccurate. Another run was organized in December 2020 where the Tuatara managed to do only 251.2 mph (404 km/h) due to heat-related issues in the engine. In January 2021, an average of 282.9 mph (455.3 km/h) gave it the title of the world’s fastest production car, however, SSC was still not satisfied. An additional record run would take place in May 2021, but the truck carrying the Tuatara crashed and damaged the supercar. And this leads us to the May 2022 record which is probably not the last.
The SSC Tuatara is based on a carbon-fiber monocoque and has a drag coefficient of 0.279 cd. The supercar is fitted with a twin-turbo 5.9-liter V8 engine producing up to 1,750 hp (1,300 kW / 1,768 PS) when running on methanol. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a CIMA seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Jerod Shelby, SSC North America founder and CEO, said: “The sheer rate of acceleration that the Tuatara was producing all the way through 295 mph really told us that this car is not even close to reaching its ceiling. All the data and imagery has given us a clear picture that the limiting factor wasn’t the car, but the fact that we ran out of runway”.
Mitchell Townsend, independent analyst and Racelogic technician who was present during all speed testing sessions of the Tuatara, said: “No road car I’ve seen pulls like that. I believe that this is the only car that I know of right now that can be verified running 300, especially in such a short distance.” His comments are obviously referring to the SSC Tuatara’s rivals including the Hennessey Venom F5 that recently achieved 271.6 mph (437 km/h) during test runs on the same runway.
Another contestant for the speed record is Koenigsegg who recently built the first Jesko Absolut development car, which is capable of a theoretical top speed of 330 mph (531 km/h). As a reminder, Bugatti dropped out of the speed record business following the 304.77 mph (490.48 km/h) one-way run of the Chiron Super Sport 300+ that took place in the Ehra-Lessen track in September 2019.