Look out Koenigsegg Agera RS, there’s a new fastest car on the block. Almost two years after SSC North America, North America’s first hypercar company, unveiled the 1,750-horsepower Tuatara in the hopes of being the first to hit 300 mph, it now claims the title of “world’s fastest production car.”
Earlier this month, the Tuatara was taken to a seven-mile stretch of highway along State Route 160 outside of Las Vegas to test its limits and hopefully earn a spot in the record books. Of course, the entire road was shut down in order to attempt the potentially dangerous record. Over two runs, with officials and the folks at Guinness World Records looking on, the Tuatara averaged 316.11 mph, smashing the Agera RS’ 277.9 mph average. Consecutive runs must be taken in opposite directions within an hour of each other, to account for wind and elevation, in order for the record to count. More impressive than the average was the fact that the Tuatara reached a mind-blowing top speed of 331.15 mph on the second run, which is the highest speed ever achieved on a public road. This was after the first run earned a top-speed of 301.07 mph.
Piloting the Tuatara was Oliver Webb, a British-born racing driver whose resume includes competing at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. Here’s how it looked to reach 331 mph from Webb’s perspective inside the vehicle:
This isn’t SSC’s first record, however. It comes almost 10 years after the company’s first car, the Ultimate Aero, dethroned Bugatti’s Veyron of the record with an average speed of 253.81 mph. Since then, there have been several other vehicles to do it, the latest of which came just over a year ago when a specially modified Bugatti Chiron averaged 304.8 during two test runs in Germany, though it wasn’t official. At the time, the French company claimed it was the first production car to break the milestone.
Part of the reason the Tuatara was able to achieve the feat – besides the aforementioned horsepower, the flat-plane crank 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8 and a seven-speed automated manual transmission – is because of the vehicle’s aerodynamic profile, with a coefficient of drag at 0.279. Look, there’s a lot of numbers and math but the result speaks for itself.
The only question is, how long before another car manufacturer breaks SSC’s record? Actually, this one might just be here to stay, at least for a handful of years.