SSC takes Bugatti’s crown with a new 316mph production car speed record
On October 9, SSC North American took the production speed record away from Bugatti with a 331mph top speed run in the SSC Tuatara. [credit: James Lipman ]
If you want a car that can go really, really, really fast, forget about ordering that Bugatti and give the people at SSC North America a call. On October 10, racing driver Oliver Webb got behind the wheel of one of SSC’s new Tuatara hypercars and, on a closed stretch of Nevada State Route 160, reached a top speed of 331.15mph (532.93km/h). When averaged with his 301.07mph (484.53km/h) run in the opposite direction, SSC North America set a new world speed record for production vehicles at 316.11mph (508.73km/h).
Until now, the record for the world’s fastest production car belonged to Bugatti, which claimed it in 2019. Andy Wallace was behind the wheel for that attempt, driving a 1,578hp (1,177kW) Bugatti Chiron Super Sport to top speed of 304.77mph (490.48km/h) at Volkswagen’s massive test track in Ehra-Lessien, Germany. The SSC Tuatara packs even more power than the Chiron: 1,750hp (1,305kW) of power on E85, and it all gets sent to just the rear wheels, too. The Tuatara also has a more slippery shape, with a smaller frontal area than the Chiron (1.672m2 vs 2.072m2) and a lower drag coefficient (0.279 vs 0.319).
Those were conscious decisions during the Tuatara’s design—SSC’s founder Jerod Shelby has had his sights on the production speed record for some years now. “My goal was always to beat this record by such a substantial amount that maybe it’s going to stand in for a little while. I felt like that’s what McLaren did back in the late nineties, and they held that record a long time because they just smashed the record. That was my dream in a perfect world,” Shelby said.