After effectively washing its hands of a claimed 316mph average speed run in Nevada last October when it emerged something was very wrong with the footage, SSC has a lot to prove. The company seems keen to do so, however - it was at the Kennedy Space Center runway formerly used to land the Shuttle late last year, and the team returned on 17 January for a second go.
The initial runs at the airstrip (now called the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds) in 2020 didn’t go according to plan, but the more recent efforts delivered the goods. Although the car didn’t break the 300mph barrier, it did go faster than the Koenigsegg Agera RS did in 2017, both in terms of outright top speed and the average taken from two runs in opposite directions.
It hit 286.1mph heading southbound at 3:28:51pm local time, clocking 279.7mph northbound about 10 minutes later, giving an average of 282.9mph. As a reminder, the Agera’s best one-way speed was 284.55mph, with a slower run in the opposite direction giving an average of 277mph.
SSC seems to have left nothing to chance in terms of data-logging this time. Equipment from Racelogic, Life Racing, Garmin and IMRA (International Mile Racing Association) was installed in the car. Robert Mitchell, one of the YouTubers to have originally pointed out the discrepancies in SSC’s Nevada run, was present as an independent observer following an invitation from company founder Jerod Shelby.
For the latest run, rather than field a racing driver, a customer drove the car. Dr Larry Caplin, who owns Tuatara 001, took to the wheel for the high-speed blasts. “I got a taste of full power in the top of seventh on the last run,” he said, adding “I am excited to come back and break 300mph”. SSC hasn’t said when or where any future attempts might take place, but we’ve asked.
Speaking about SSC’s day in Florida, Jerod Shelby Said:
“We took a different approach this time in accelerating the car to the higher speeds. Larry Caplin, who owns the car, used a ‘drag race’ style of acceleration during the record runs, pulling full throttle and boost for 40-50 seconds.
“Back in October we were leaning into the speed much slower and used only about 20-25 seconds of full throttle and boost during the run. The difference is impressive both performance and operation wise. Larry pulled off a run that was far more difficult, at least by a factor of four, than what we attempted in Nevada.”
There’s no word on any applications for Guinness certification, although it’s worth noting Koenigsegg’s 2017 session in Nevada wasn’t ever recognised by the organisation, nor was the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport’s 304mph one-way effort.