There’s a new claimant to the world’s fastest car title this week: a petrol V8 machine that achieved an incredible 295mph in the US. A record? Maybe…or maybe not.
Video: SSC Tuatara hits 295mph... Legitimately
It’s a simple thing, top speed – or so you might think. Finding the power, designing the aero and driving down a straight bit of road at a very great rate of knots are the (relatively) easy bits. Getting the speed authenticated, now that’s tough.
Just ask American hypercar maker and would-be top speed champion SSC. Its Tuatara contender for the fastest car title boasts a 1,770PS (1302kW) 5.9-litre twin-turbo V8 and looks that wouldn’t be out of place in Top Gun. Fast? It looks supersonic.
And that’s what it has virtually proved to be. An extraordinary in-car video of it being driven by Le Mans racer Oli Webb in 2020 showed it to hit a one-way v-max of 331mph on the old Space Shuttle runway.
That got plenty of headlines but no cigar – the way they measured the speed was just too dodgy. SSC later acknowledged it was a fake.
They had another go with the Tuatara and this time clocked a more believable (and still hugely impressive) 286mph. They even did the runs in both directions, as the rules require, and got a 282mph average.
That was enough to show a clean pair of heels to Koenigsegg (277mph) and Bugatti (267mph) and sufficient to go into the official record books as fastest production car. Which it might well have done had the car actually been in production. The guardians of the top speed record book said it wasn’t.
After that run, both SSC founder and CEO, Jerod Shelby, and the car’s owner, Larry Caplin, vowed to put pedal to the metal again and prove the machine really is the fastest thing in the world on four wheels. Last week they did exactly that.
The result? 295mph. Mind-blowing in other words, but not 300mph and not destined for the record books because this time they didn’t take a two-way average. Bugatti knows the feeling: its Chiron Super Sport 300 has clocked 304mph but only in one direction.
So, what is the world’s fastest production car? Your guess is as good as ours…
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