SSC Tuatara Clocked 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h), Becoming the Fastest Production Car Ever
The production car speed record has captured the imagination of automotive enthusiasts for over a century. Moreover, manufacturers and even countries used it as a bragging right, showing superior engineering and technology. Now, we have a new record holder – the SSC Tuatara, a hypercar from the US.
Some would argue that the Tuatara is not homologated for road use and doesn’t deserve the record. Nonetheless, the American hypercar will undoubtedly get into the history books since it’s the first one that broke the 500 km/h (310 mph) magical barrier. Moreover, it’s the first vehicle from the US to shatter the world record.
The car must make two runs on the same road in opposite directions to attack the world record. Then, the median value of both runs is taken as genuine. This is done to account for going downhill or uphill. The SSC Tuatara achieved 301.07 mph (484.53 km/h) on the first run and exceptional 331.15 mph (532.93 km/h) in the second run. Thus, both runs’ average speed is 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h), enough for a new world record.
SSC did some clever engineering to achieve that mind-blowing number. Firstly, thanks to the extensive use of carbon-fiber, the Tuatara weighs only 1,247 kg. Then, Nelson Racing Engines provided a 5.9-liter flat-plane crank twin-turbo V8, producing 1,750 hp, enough to F1 racing cars to bed.
The most impressive feature, though, is the aerodynamics. The company aimed for a 0.28 drag coefficient while also producing enough downforce to keep the vehicle on the ground. That’s no small feat – supercars usually have much worse drag coefficients.
Fortunately, SSC handed that part to Podium Engineering, an Italian company that specializes in aerodynamics. The guys there managed to come up with an even better number – 0.279 cd. Meanwhile, they also achieved a 37% to 63% front- to -rear aero balance, enough to keep the car glued to the road.
“We’re extremely proud of the design we ended up with. We feel like it’s a timeless design that 10 years from now is still going to be cutting edge, and at the same time very safe and stable for high-speed runs,” stated Jerod Shelby, founder, and owner of SSC.