SSC Tuatara sets a new 500+ kph world speed record

SSC Tuatara sets a new 500+ kph world speed record

The speed barrier of 500 kph is a dream many car manufacturers aspire to breach, but none has ever reached there with a production car. Until now. Shelby SuperCars from the USA came up with the SSC Tuatara a couple of years ago with some bold claims. But unlike many small-time hypercar manufacturers, they did not just ramble about some unrealistic simulated numbers and left it there. They went on the tarmac and came back with a world record. The SSC Tuatara is the new “Fastest Production Car in the World.” But, there is a catch.

The modern hypercar speed race is wild and an area where smaller manufacturers trump the big guns over and over again. Shelby SuperCars came into the limelight when its SSC Ultimate Aero took ownership of the “Fastest Production Car” pedestal back in 2007, averaging 412.22 kph. Since then, many new hypercars took over that throne, the latest of them being the Koenigsegg Agera RS with a top speed of 447.19 kph. Now, the SSC Tuatara defeated Agera RS with a colossal certified top speed of 508.73 kph, measured as an average of two runs in opposite directions.

If that does not sound impressive, the SSC claims that the Tuatara has managed to hit a peak speed of 532.93 kph in one of those runs. Oliver Webb, the professional racing driver who bravely piloted the Tuatara to this milestone commented that the hypercar was “still pulling well” at those speeds. He believes that the Tuatara can go even faster if not for the crosswinds. The SSC Tuatara ran on street tyres and sipped non-race fuel during the record run.

Powering the Tuatara is a twin-turbo 5.9-litre V8 flat-plane crank engine that pumps out 1,750 hp when it is fuelled with E85-blend petrol. When filled with regular 91 octane petrol, it will still produce 1,350 hp which is quite a huge output for a car that weighs just 1,247 kg dry.

The catch is a controversy that began due to certain errors in the videos SSC published of the record run. These errors were pointed out by renowned investigative Youtuber Shmee150, who noted some inconsistencies between the telemetry data and the data displayed on the screen. He also did some calculations based on the distance between the breaks in the median of the Nevada highway. This brought to light some further inconsistencies in the video.

This kicked up a massive storm of criticism for SSC, which the brand has taken cognisance of. SSC admitted that the videos published had incorrect data due to editing errors. They added that the data logger information was overlaid at the wrong point, creating a discrepancy in the readings. But SSC maintains that the world record still stands and the errors in the video were just editing errors. SSC is now working with the video production company Driven Studios to re-release the accurate footage “in its simplest form.”

It is to be noted that two world-record sanctioned witnesses were present during the run and SSC had also utilised certified GPS measuring equipment to measure the speed accurately. The firm Dewetron, who supplied the GPS equipment and speed sensors, maintains that their devices are accurate. They add that the company is yet to independently verify the data collected by the equipment during SSC’s record run.

Shelby later announced that they will re-do the record run just to clear doubts. The date for that has not yet been announced.

For now, given the company’s confidence, we have a new speed king. With Bugatti officially retiring from chasing speed records apparently, it will now be down to the Hennessey Venom F5 or the Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut to try and beat the Tuatara.

Update: With the backlash from the internet mounting up, SSC’s founder and CEO released a “personal statement” in which he states “The more we looked, the more we tried to analyse, the more we were concerned there were doubts in the relationship between the video and the GPS. I took that very seriously.” He also added that the record attempt will be repeated and this time, the run will be “undeniable and irrefutable”. But, with dependable sources on the internet doubting the capability of the engine and transmission to reach the claimed speeds, the odds are stacked against SSC. But, their confident approach towards the re-run speaks a different story. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the coming days. Will we have a 500 kph production car and a new speed king? Or will the Agera RS keep its throne? 

What do you think?



  1. This article is a bit late dont you think? We should wait until they do the run again as there is too much indicating that their numbers are not accurate.

  2. you guys rock. The internet is buzzing with people disproving the SSC’s speed record. Even SSC accepted that their attempt were not salvageable and would do a rerun.

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