The SSC Tuatara has returned to the headlines once again after allegedly beating its former record (the real one, not THAT one) by 8.9mph, reaching an impressive top speed of 295mph. We’re all aware of SSC’s history of “mixing up” their hypercar’s top-speed figures, and it wouldn’t be a Tuatara run without a hint of controversy.
The latest Tuatara high-speed run was completed on the 14th of May at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds at Space Florida’s Shuttle Landing Facility, the same venue SSC previously hosted to complete the infamous 331.15 mph Tuatara run, which was surrounded in controversy and later proven to be inaccurate. This time, the car was fitted with Racelogic VBOX GNSS data recording systems alongside a Life Racing GPS to ensure accuracy, while Apex Nuerburg’s Robert Mitchell and Racelogic technician Mitchell Townsend were also in attendance. The final recordings show that SSC Tuatara customer Larry Caplin set a new Tuatara record top speed of 295mph.
Record-breaking high-speed runs are complicated, with car manufacturers deploying a range of tactics to claim the illustrious title of the world’s fastest roadcar. Some manufacturers record the average of two high-speed runs, one in each direction, while others use ‘near-production ready’ versions of their cars, which can include a range of non-road legal performance upgrades to break records. Officially, a production-spec version of the car must record an average across two high-speed runs, one in each direction of the runway, for a record to be valid. For this ‘record’, SSC is talking about the outright top speed achieved by the Tuatara during a series of attempts up and down the runway. This means that the previous 282.9mph average is still the only official top speed listed in the record books.
Nevertheless, SSC’s latest feat is still mighty impressive, with their car beating out the 271.6mph top speed set by the Hennessey Venom F5 at the same American venue back in February. The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ recorded a mind-boggling top speed of 304.773mph at the Volkswagen owned Ehra-Lessien test facility a couple of years ago, though the Chiron used wasn’t a production-spec version of the car. The road-legal version of the Chiron Super Sport 300+ is capable of an impressive 273mph but way off the mark of the highly prized 300+mph figure.
The SSC Tuatara first made headlines back in October 2020, when the manufacturer boldly claimed that the Tuatara reached an incredible top speed of 331mph and averaged 316.11mph travelling in both directions of the runway. However, that attempt was surrounded by controversy, and, following some detective work by YouTubers Schmee150 and Misha Charoudin, the claim was later proven inaccurate. The company would set an official 286mph record in a re-run, before breaking the unofficial top-speed record during the latest attempt.