Shelby’s Tuatara supercar has recorded a new production car record in a private run in Las Vegas, Nevada. It reached a top speed of 331mph and recorded 316mph during a two-way average run.
The record was set on a closed stretch of road outside of Las Vegas and comfortably shaded the previous record set by Koenigsegg’s Agera RS as well as the Bugatti Chiron’s unofficial benchmark set last year.
Koenigsegg’s record stood at 277.87mph to top the official rankings with its Agera RS while the Chiron’s quicker but unofficial effort of 304.77mph was with special tyres designed for the attempt fitted to its pre-production prototype.
British Endurance racing driver Oliver Webb was behind the wheel for the two-way run, taking the SSC Tuatara to 301.07mph before unleashing the twin-turbo V8 for the return trip to top both of them.
While the initial blast was not enough to usurp the Bugatti benchmark, the second took SSC well clear of the mark, with the Tuatara reaching 331.151mph.
The result was a 316.11mph average, comfortably clear of the 304.77mph peak recorded by the Chiron in 2019, but it was a speed that could have been even higher according to its driver.
“There was definitely more in there,” Webb told Top Gear.
“With better conditions, I know we could have gone faster, as I approached 331 mph, the Tuatara climbed almost 20mph within the last five seconds. The car wasn’t running out of steam yet. The crosswinds are all that prevented us from realising the car’s limit.”
The run was filmed as part of a documentary that is ongoing charting the car’s journey from concept to creation and eventual record attempt.
It isn’t the first time that SSC has stolen the record from Bugatti machinery either. Back in 2007, the Bugatti Veyron’s record of 253.81mph was beaten by the SSC Ultimate Aero, with the latter recording a new record of 256.18mph.
The Tuatara is the successor to that car, with development of the latest SSC effort starting all the way back in 2011. The production version of the car was unveiled in 2018 and the first customer car was shown off earlier this year at the Philidelphia Motor Show in February.
It is powered by a bespoke 5.9L twin-turbo, flat-plane crank V8 engine, developed in partnership with Nelson Racing and is capable of producing 1750bhp. The looks are shaped by ex-Pininfarina designer Jason Castriota in collaboration with Peerless Aerodynamics. Their work means the car has a drag coefficient of just 0.279 and maintains a perfect aero balance of 37 per cent front and 63 per cent rear when reaching speeds of 150mph and above.
“It’s been ten years since we held this record with our first car, the Ultimate Aero, and the Tuatara is leagues ahead,” said CEO of SSC, Jerod Shelby.
“Its performance reflects the dedication and focus with which we pursued this achievement. We came pretty close to meeting the theoretical numbers, which is astonishing to do in a real world setting on a public road.
“America’s new claim to victory in the ‘land-based space race’ is going to be tough to beat.”
Production of the car will take place at a purpose-built facility in West Richland, Washington, with a limited run of 100 cars being produced.