Doubts arise about recent record-speed run

Video analysis indicates SSC Tuatara well short of 300 mph

2
SSC Tuatara
A small jet plane was used along with a helicopter and a drone to follow the SSC Tuatara's progress along the roadway | SSC photo

Back in mid-October, we were among the news outlets reporting that the SSC Tuatara “hypercar” had exceeded 331 mph in a record-setting run  on a closed straight stretch of Nevada highway. 

Since then, several people have studied the video of the run and come to the conclusion that the vehicle didn’t actually achieve that speed, and faced with such evidence, SSC North America founder Jerod Shelby has issued a video statement saying that he, too, doubts the claimed achievement and is making plans for another run in hopes to verifying his car is the fastest production car in the world.

The problem appears to be discrepancies between what the GPS equipment used to time the recent run reported and what the video of the run actually shows. 

Side-by-side comparison of the SSC Tuatara run and that by the Koenigsegg Agera on the same roadway shows the Swedish car to be clearly faster, reaching 277.87 mph. 

Julian Thomas, founder of Racelogic, software which logs data from moving vehicles, calculated that the Tuatara’s top speed on its run was actually 223.75 mph.

But, he adds, based on the data, the car is capable of considerably higher speeds.

Jerod Shelby’s video response follows:

And then there is this from technology website newatlas.com:

RELATED:  Why there are two differently timed laps on the Nürburgring Nordschleife

“Who cares? There’s no denying the Tuatara is a fiendishly fast and powerful car, whose owners will likely never get the chance to push it to five times highway speed. Hypercar speed records are now so dangerous, and so far removed from regular Earthly use cases, that the whole thing can easily be viewed as a petrolheaded engineering circlejerk that’ll one day have lethal consequences for some gallant test driver caught by an unlucky gust of wind.

“But to buyers of these multimillion-dollar toys, prestige is everything. Reputation and excellence matter. Cars like this can sell for 10 times their original price with the right story attached to them; a famous owner, a movie appearance, a moment in the global headlines as the fastest car of its time.”

Advertisement
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. “…that the whole thing can easily be viewed as a petrolheaded engineering circlejerk that’ll one day have lethal consequences for some gallant test driver caught by an unlucky gust of wind.”
    Yep.

  2. Jeez, and I thought Texans had stones, “Jimmy”.
    I’ve run over 160mph- not kph- in Europe and the Kingdom (Saudi Arabia) on a daily basis.
    I’ve tooled a built LS1 ’04 Holden made Pontiac GTO averaging- not peaking, averaging- over 140mph between Grand Forks, ND and my home Fargo several times (thank you Mr. Valentine).
    I’m not gallant, a test driver, nor a circle jerker (happily married, donchakno); oh, and not a Debbie Downer.
    North Dakota? Windier than TX, been there, live there, done that… yet I survive.
    Explain.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here