SSC Tuatara becomes first production car to break the 500km/h barrier

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Oct 20, 2020

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LAS VEGAS - US hypercar maker SSC is not exactly a household name like Bugatti, but it now officially produces the world’s fastest car, with the 1305kW Tuatara having broken the world record for the fastest production car.

Put through its paces by racing driver Oliver Webb on an 11km stretch outside Las Vegas, the SSC Tuatara achieved an average top speed of 508.73km/h following two consecutive high speed test runs of 484.53km/h and 532.93km/h. In accordance with the record criteria, the two runs took place in opposite directions and within one hour. SSC says that officials were on site to verify that all of these criteria were met.

The new record comes three years after the previous top speed record was broken by the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which clocked an average speed of 447.1km/h on the same stretch of road in Nevada back in November 2017.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that an SSC product has had the honour of being the fastest production car in the world, with the Ultimate Aero having held the record for three years after averaging 411km/h back in 2017.

“It’s been ten years since we held this record with our first car, the Ultimate Aero, and the Tuatara is leagues ahead,” said SSC boss Jerod Shelby.

“Its performance reflects the dedication and focus with which we pursued this achievement. America’s new claim to victory in the ‘land-based space race’ is going to be tough to beat.”

Driver Oliver Webb feels that with better conditions, the SSC Tuatara could have been even faster.

“There was definitely more in there. As I approached 331mph (532km/h), the Tuatara climbed almost 20mph within the last five seconds. It was still pulling well. As I told Jerod, the car wasn’t running out of steam yet. The crosswinds are all that prevented us from realising the car’s limit.”

For the record, the SSC Tuatara is powered by a 5.9-litre twin-turbo V8, designed in collaboration with Nelson Racing Engines. It produces 1007kW when running on regular petrol and 1305kW when the tank is filled with an E85 ethanol blend.

The hypercar’s body and monocoque structure are fabricated entirely from carbon fibre, while the aerodynamic systems were devised in conjunction with Ferrari designer Jason Castriota. The Tuatara also boasts a number of advanced automated systems that allow the driver to adjust the suspension, ride height, road holding, acceleration and gear shifts.

IOL Motoring

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