An obscure American car manufacturer can now boast that it has produced the fastest car in the world, putting rivals such as Bugatti, Lamborghini, and McLaren to shame.
SSC North America, an American automaker, announced on Monday that its SSC Tuatara hypercar has shattered the world speed limit for cars and gained the much-coveted title of “Fastest Production Vehicle.”
The beast of a vehicle was tested Saturday on a seven-mile stretch of highway just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, and managed to accelerate to the highest-ever speed achieved on a public road, maxing out at 331.15 mph (532.93 km/h).
The vehicle’s average speed was 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h), which was the result of the Tuatara traveling in opposite directions to take into account variations in wind and road conditions.
Independent officials were on site to witness the world record-setting achievement.
Shelby SuperCars, or SSC, was founded in 1998 in Richland, Washington, by current CEO Jerod Shelby with an aim to become “America’s first hypercar company.” Since then the team’s performance has exceeded the founder’s expectations despite a few years of setbacks and challenges.
Since 2005, Shelby has been hyper-motivated by his own rivalry with Volkswagen’s elite division, Bugatti, to attain the title of the world’s fastest car, with the entrepreneur comparing himself to “David” versus the “Goliath” luxury sports car brand.
Indeed, the SSC Tuatara boasts some major hardware. The hypercar manages to pump out 1,750 horsepower from its turbocharged V8 engine, making it the second vehicle built by the plucky automaker to earn the title of world’s fastest production car.
“It’s been ten years since we held this record with our first car, the Ultimate Aero, and the Tuatara is leagues ahead,” said Shelby. “Its performance reflects the dedication and focus with which we pursued this achievement.”
However, just last year, Bugatti managed to reach 304.8 mph with a specially modified Bugatti Chiron in two test runs on a German track. The French subsidiary of Volkswagen said that it was the first auto manufacturer to make a car exceeding 300 miles per hour (an important distinction from cars built solely to beat speed records, which have exceeded 700 mph in some cases).
Shelby has now achieved the upper hand over the French competitor, at least for the time being.
“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,” Shelby added.
The butterfly-doored Tuatara has an aerodynamic design inspired by fighter jets that is the product of over a decade of research and development, according to the company.
The company plans to produce 100 Tuatara hypercars to sell – and it’s positive that its car can exceed even the record-breaking speeds it reached in its weekend test run.
“There was definitely more in there,” said driver Oliver Webb. “And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster … the car wasn’t running out of steam yet – the crosswinds are all that prevented us from realizing the car’s limit.”
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