With footage from the Tuatara’s 331mph run in Nevada called into question by a couple of prominent YouTubers earlier this week, SSC released a statement claiming its high-speed efforts had been validated by a firm called Dewetron. So, case close? Not quite.
The Austrian data measurement company has issued a press release distancing itself from the run. It states:
“Despite the information published on the website of SSC North America as well as on several related and non-related YouTube channels, Dewetron did not validate any data from world record attempts or preceding tests. Nobody of [sic] Dewetron’s employees was present during the test drive or involved in the associated preparations.
“Since the results of measurement data highly rely on the right setup, on the regular calibration of the systems and sensors in use as well as on many other parameters, we are not able to guarantee the accuracy or correctness of the outcome. As of this moment, Dewetron did not receive the measurement file of the test drive”
Dewetron concedes that SSC uses its test and measurement system, and as with all its customers, training was provided. In the case of SSC, it says, this was done remotely. This training consists of “general use of the system, the software as well as the initial configuration”.
Separately, Dewetron also confirmed to Car Throttle that it was not, as suggested in a statement put out by Jerod Shelby yesterday, involved in “four out of five” of the last top speed records.
We’ve asked SSC’s press representative for a comment on this latest development, and have been told to expect an official response soon. We’ve also contacted Michelin to see what its take on the affair is - for the Koenigsegg Agera’s 284mph run, the company confirmed its Sport Cup 2 tyres were safe to run at those speeds. The Tuatara ran on the same tyres, but so far the company has not - as far as we know - commented publicly about the supercar’s use of the boots.
Update: Oli Webb, who drove the Tuatara in Nevada, has since reacted to the questions surrounding the run on his Instagram account. He confirmed that he knows “nothing other than what I’m finding out online,” and clarified that he isn’t an official SSC test driver, nor is he under a promotional contract with the company. He thanked SSC for the chance to drive the car, and has pledged, “as soon as I know anything new, you guys will know.”
Update 2: SSC’s Jerod Shelby has released a new statement which finally addresses issues in the footage it released. Shelby said that “we did it, and the numbers are indeed on our side…[but] only after the fact did we realize that the depiction of the speed run, in video form, had been substantially incorrect”.
“Somehow, there was a mixup 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. We also hadn’t realized that not one, but two different cockpit videos existed, and were shared with the world.
Hypercar fans have quickly cried foul, and we hadn’t immediately responded, because we had not realized the inconsistencies — that there were two videos, each with inaccurate information — that had been shared. This was not our intention. Like me, the head of the production team had not initially realized these issues, and has brought on technical partners to identify the cause of the inconsistency.
At first glance, it appears that the videos released have differences in where the editors had overlaid the data logger (which displays speed), in relation to the car’s location on the run. That variance in ‘sync points’ accounts for differing records of the run.”
Driven Studios, the company behind the video side of the endeavour, is said to have “extensive footage of everything that transpired and is working with SSC to release the actual footage in its simplest form”.
Although SSC is no longer stating that Dewetron validated the run, Shelby noted that a letter confirming the “accuracy of the equipment and speed sensor” issued by the company has been used as part of the evidence submitted to Guinness for the world record application. Two independent witnesses who are not affiliated with either SSC or Dewetron are said to have been on-site “to view the speeds measured by the Dewetron equipment.”
Gear ratios were also spoken about in the original two video analyses from Shmee150 and Misha Charoudin, and most likely in response, the ratios of the Tuatara have all been listed in the release:
(Gears 1-6 have 8,800 RPM REV LIMIT)
1st Gear: 3.133 / 80.56mph
2nd Gear: 2.100 / 120.18mph
3rd Gear: 1.520 / 166.04mph
4th Gear: 1.172 / 215.34mph
5th Gear: .941 / 268.21mph
6th Gear: .757 / 333.4mph @8800 *
7th Gear: .625 / 353.33mph (Estimated max @7,700RPM in 7th gear - Designed as mainly an overdrive highway cruising gear)
The statement still leaves questions regarding the original footage, however. It focuses mainly on syncing between its two videos, with no mention of distance/time and the overlay comparison which has been made with the Koenigsegg Agera’s 2017 run on the same road.
However, speaking to Top Gear, Shelby said there were “timing, syncing and coding issues and we are still trying to get to the bottom of what videos, overlays and audio were used”. He also noted that the submission to Guinness had not yet happened, since SSC was still waiting on “third-party pieces of information”.
We’ll bring you any further developments as we get them.