SSC North America: Beyond 500 Km/h

Super-fast hypercars represent only 1% of the world’s cars but are still classified as production vehicles. SSC North America, America’s first hypercar company, recently reclaimed the coveted title of world’s “Fastest Production Vehicle,” with its 1,750hp Tuatara, having previously held the record from 2007 to 2010 with its Ultimate Aero.

 

Blink and you’ll miss it

 

If you were driving on State Route 160, near Pahrump outside Las Vegas on 10 October this year you probably missed it. It was so astonishingly fast that the driver is called a “pilot” even though it was a speeding car, not a plane, that you missed. To all intents and purposes an “ordinary” car, the Tuatara is a “production vehicle.” The event was its winning of the coveted title of world’s “Fastest Production Vehicle.” Constructed by America’s first hypercar company, SSC North America, the Tuatara was piloted by professional racing driver, Oliver Webb. Webb achieved an average speed of 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h) following two consecutive high-speed runs of 301.07 mph (484.53 km/h) and 331.15 mph (532.93 km/h). Fifteen satellites tracking the runs confirmed the new record.

“We see ourselves as a piece of history that we hope inspires others to break their own boundaries.”

Don’t try this at home

 

Ironically, pictures of the record-breaking run on a flat, straight seven-mile stretch of State Route 106 include a highly visible 70 mph speed limit sign. That was no hindrance to Webb who felt he could have gone even faster: “There was definitely more in there. And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster.” To claim the title the Tuatara met strict criteria. It had to be a production vehicle, identical to one any customer might purchase. It had to drive up, as well as down, the road so driving in one direction did not favor the vehicle. And it had to run on street tires and non-race fuel. Drivers of other production cars like Volkswagen Golfs, Skoda Octavias or Peugeot 208s, would be unwise to try this on their local high street!

 

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

 

The elegance of the Tuatara when its butterfly doors are open belies the car’s aerodynamic potential: Once battened down the car delivers peerless aerodynamic balance. An all-time best coefficient of drag at 0.279 for a production-hypercar ensures precision downforce across all four wheels. The Tuatara’s sting comes from its bespoke 5.9L twin-turbo, flat-plane crank engine that produces 1,750 horsepower. Its robust, carbon-fibre monocoque structure, while lightweight enough to ensure peak performance, provides vital shock-absorbing protection to the driver for someone setting a new world record.

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