Bugatti is beaten: SSC Tuatara just went over 500 km/h

Darnell Taylor
October 21, 2020

Picked your jaw up off the floor yet? Still cheaper than a Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, though! Just like it did way back in 2007.

SSC chose the same seven-mile stretch of the State Route 160 outside of Las Vegas near Pahrump to set its record, which is also where the Agera RS made history in November 2017.

The supercar, built by Shelby SuperCars North America, hit a top speed of 331mph on the second run.

In addition to the title of "Fastest Production Vehicle", the SSC Tuatara broke a bunch of other world records at the same time.

Notably, SSC is one of the most obscure vehicle makers in the world. Shelby SuperCars has seemingly achieved what no other auto-manufacturer could, knocking Bugatti off the top of the podium for the world's fastest production vehicle. SSC has just around 64kph on top of that average. The first effort was a more modest, albeit blindingly fast 301.07 miles per hour, so the number going into the record book is 316.11, or 508.73 km/h.

The SSC Tuatara is powered by a twin-turbo 5.9-litre V8 engine with 1305kW when fueled with E85, an ethanol blend. The Tuatara's insane Vmax comes in no small part from the outlandish design of its carbon-fiber bodywork.

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From the outset, Castriota stressed the focus on delivering a insane 0.279 drag coefficient and an aero-centric philosophy. Now, check out Bugatti's run-where the Chiron is headbutting an aerodynamic wall.

Oliver Web, the record-setting race auto driver, said he felt like the vehicle still had a lot more to give. "And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster, as I approached 331mph (532km/h), the Tuatara climbed nearly 20mph (32km/h) within the last five seconds".

Watching this film and processing the numbers, it's hard to imagine it ever being bettered. 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. "This record is so extremely sweet, knowing that our small organization just achieved something that much more established brands, with much larger engineering and development teams, and obviously larger budgets, have not been able to achieve", said Jerod Shelby, founder, SSC Tuatara. "Its performance reflects the dedication and focus with which we pursued this achievement", said Shelby.

The SSC Tuatara also set new world records for fastest flying mile on a public road (503.92km/h), fastest flying kilometre on a public road (517.16km/h) and highest speed achieved of a public road (532.93km/h).

"People may look at SSC and ask if we belong in the hypercar realm, with such stalwart competitors".

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