SSC responds to cheating claims

Published: 03 November 2020

► New record of 316.11mph
► 38mph faster than previous
► But did it happen? 

SSC has answered calls from the media and fans alike to explain the inconsistencies in its Tuatara production car speed record video, in which the hypercar appears to fall short of the claimed record-breaking speed.

According to the US car maker, an error in the video’s production is the cause of the apparently impossible speed of 508.73km/h, although the company has not detailed the exact nature of the problem.

‘Somehow, there was a mix-up on the editing side, and I regret to admit that the SSC team hadn’t double checked the accuracy of the video before it was released,’ said SSC founder Jerod Shelby.

Once again, this either means the editing team intended to deceive and deliberately inserted the footage of the laptop reading a different figure to the speed the Tuatara was actually travelling at, or the speed measuring telemetry was inaccurate.

Measuring equipment supplier Dewetron was quicker to respond than SSC and has already commented on our story below, distancing themselves from the test but assuring the dependability of its hardware when correctly used.

‘We neither take any responsibility for the parameters shown in the video above nor for their accuracy,’ it commented. ‘Dewetron did not have the opportunity to analyse the measurement data or to confirm its accuracy yet. Therefore, Dewetron has not made a public statement yet’.

Professional racing driver Oliver James Webb.

The hired gun at the wheel of the Tuatara during the record attempt, Oliver Webb, has also responded to the controversy, explaining he is not employed as a test-driver for the company and is unable to shed any extra light on the inconsistencies.

While acknowledging the mistake in editing and admitting it mislead anyone who assumed the video was an accurate representation of the historic run, SSC assures that the speed was indeed achieved.

Furthermore, the hypercar maker has promised to get to the bottom of the mistake and deliver the true video of the run.

Until then, we will remain skeptical.

Everything you need to know

Just when you thought the game was over, the SSC Tuatara has reset the world’s fastest production car benchmark, wrestling the title from the grasp of Koenigsegg and kicking Nevadan desert sand in the face of Bugatti in the process.

The Tuatara hasn’t just broken existing records, it’s completely obliterated them, recording a two-way average of 316.11mph,  a whopping 38mph faster than the previous mark recorded by the Koenigsegg Agera RS in 2017.

State Route 160 in Pahrump Nevada.

Like Koenigsegg, SSC used an 11km stretch of the State Route 160 highway outside of Las Vegas, setting the record on the morning of Saturday, October 10.

In order to claim an official world record two speed runs must be made in opposing directions within an hour of one another, which is why the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport‘s mark of 304.77mph set at its Ehra-Lessien test track was not officially recognised.

SSC Tuatura top speed record run.

The Tuatara’s first run of 301.07mph was backed up by a mind-blowing second run of 331.15mph, allowing it to not only break the outright speed record but also the record for Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road (313.12mph) and Fastest Flying Kilometre on a Public Road (321.35mph).

And it could’ve gone even faster. Racing driver Oliver Webb was at the wheel and said: “There was definitely more in there and with better conditions I know we could have gone faster.

“As I approached 532km/h the Tuatura climbed almost 30km/h within the last five seconds. It was still pulling well. As I told Jerod, the car wasn’t running our of steam yet. The crosswinds are all that prevented us from realising the car’s limit.”

Jerod refers to Jerod Shelby, the 52-year-old founder of SSC. While no relation to Carroll, Jerod clearly has a similar love of horsepower, saying in a statement: “It’s been 10 years since we held this record with our first car, the Ultimate Aero, and the Tuatara is leagues ahead.

SSC founder Jerod Shelby and Oliver Webb.

‘Its performance reflects the dedication and focus with which we pursued this achievement. We came pretty close to meeting the theoretical numbers, which is astonishing to do in a real-world setting on a public road. America’s claim to victory in the ‘land-based space race’ is going to be tough to beat.’

In 2007 the SSC Ultimate Aero claimed the title of World’s Fastest Car when 71-year-old Chuck Bigelow piloted it to a two-way average of 256.18mph on a public road in Washington.

The SSC Tuatara is much more exotic in its construction, using a carbonfibre monocoque that allows for a dry weight of just 1227kg. Power is produced by a 5.9-litre twin-turbo V8 that revs to 8800rpm and produces 1350bhp on regular fuel and 1750bhp on E85.

SSC Tuatura is the world's fastest car.

A seven-speed CIMA automated manual transmission sends the power to the rear wheels, the suspension is height adjustable with remote damper reservoirs while its tyres are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s measuring 245/35 front and 345/30 rear.