“Fastest Production Vehicle” is a coveted title in the world of hypercar manufacturers. Since 2017, the title has been held by the Koenigsegg Agera RS, with a top speed of 277.9 mph. (There’s some debate about the legitimacy of a 304.77 mph mark set by a modified Bugatti Chiron in Germany during September 2019.) The previous record-holder was the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, with a measured top speed of 267.9 mph. On the morning of Saturday, October 10, 2020, the SSC North America Tuatara set a stunning new mark, clocking in two consecutive high-speed runs of 301.07 mph and 331.15 mph (in opposite directions within one hour) for an official top speed of 316.11 mph.
The record-setting run took place on a seven-mile stretch of State Route 160 near Pahrump, Nevada with professional race driver Oliver Webb behind the wheel.
In addition to “Fastest Production Vehicle,” the SSC Tuatara set additional new records:
· 313.12 mph – “Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road”
· 321.35 mph – “Fastest Flying Kilometer on a Public Road”
· 331.15 mph – “Highest Speed Achieved on a Public Road”
SSC North America plans to produce 100 examples of the Tuatara, which carries a $1.9 million price tag. The Tuatara uses twin turbocharged 5.9-liter V8 engine with a flat-plane crank, tuned to deliver 1,750 hp using E85 fuel to send power through a CIMA seven-speed computerized manual transmission and Automac MAT system.
“We see ourselves as a piece of history that we hope inspires others to break their own boundaries,” said Shelby in a statement to the press. “The only way we got to where we are today is by breaking our own. Accomplishing a feat of engineering that pushes the limits of a road-legal car by a margin this large is both exciting and inconceivable, even to me. We are entering a time where we are no longer faced by the limit of machines, but by the human factor.”
The Tuatara was designed in partnership with Jason Castriota of Castriota Design, and measures a sleek 0.279 coefficient of drag for exceptional aerodynamic performance. It is built around a carbon-fiber monocoque for light weight and driver safety, and incorporates additional crash structures across the car. “We validate our engineering by building a car capable of going 330 mph. We validate our passion by accomplishing this, despite years of setbacks and challenges,” Shelby continued. “And we validate our values by making sure Oliver’s safety was the first and foremost important goal of the day.”
This is not the first time that SSC North America has held the top speed record.
Jerod Shelby founded Shelby SuperCars in 1998 in Richland, Washington, and first came to international notice when his first supercar, the Ultimate Aero, swiped the production car record from the Bugatti Veyron with a mark of 256.18 mph. Shelby quickly renamed his company SSC North America in order to avoid any confusion with the car companies named for automotive legend Carroll Shelby, as Jerod Shelby is not related to the icon.
The Tuatara record-setting run was filmed by Driven Studios, as part of an ongoing documentary film project following the development, testing and production of the new hypercar.