SSC has hit the road in its Tuatara hypercar for a third attempt at securing the world production car speed record (and keeping it), following two previous efforts that were fraught with problems and controversy.
Determined to avoid the flak from its previous two attempts, the US car maker this time enlisted multiple timing partners and introduced a number of contingencies to convince its audience that the record was legitimate. Did it work? You be the judge.
Staged this time at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, SSC claims its 5.8-litre twin-turbo V8 supercoupe managed a 455.3km/h two-way average at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, with a massive 460km/h V-max on the southbound run.
That monster figure is enough to finally hang the production car speed record on SSC’s wall and snatch the title from the previous victor, the Koenigsegg Agera RS, held since 2017.
However, while an impressive feat, it’s some way below the contentious 508.73km/h figure the company claimed in its bungled record attempt on a Nevada public road last year, and not enough to steal the outright speed record set by a lightly modified Buggati Chiron and a blistering 490.5km/h.
This time around, SSC contracted four parties – Garmin, IMRA, Life Racing and Racelogic – to monitor the attempt and accurately measure the velocity achieved by the 1350kW machine. In a statement, Racelogic has officially certified a two-run record of 450.1km/h and 460.4km/h.
Other changes to the proceedings this time included swapping out independent professional racing driver Oliver Webb from the first attempt and Robert Mitchell from the second in favour of Tuatara owner Larry Caplin.
The most recent attempt took place on January 17, 2021, and no Guinness representatives were invited to officiate.
In October last year, SSC launched its first assault on the production car speed record with a run on closed roads in Nevada’s desert. But a discerning and sceptical audience noticed numerous inconsistencies in the company’s video documenting claims it had broken the 300mph (483km/h) barrier.
SSC subsequently admitted an error had been made by the video editing team but made no attempt to detail the nature of the mistake nor explain how it related to the apparent inconsistencies.
Then again, in December 2020, a second attempt to set a new record ended in technical difficulties including overheating problems.
Now the North American brand appears to finally have a legitimate speed record in the bag. But is it too little too late and a very high-speed case of the boy who cried wolf? Either way, SSC says it has its eye on officially cracking 300mph (482km/h).