Them's fightin' words from Jerod Shelby
There's a race heating up between the world's hypercar manufacturers to see who can reach 300 mph first. One of the contenders is SSC, which recently revealed its new Tuatara at Pebble Beach. And according to its creator, it's the only one with a real chance at cracking the triple-century mark.
“The knowledge I have of our competitors, I feel that we’re the only ones that really have a legitimate shot because of the drag numbers and the horsepower that we’re producing,” Jerod Shelby claimed to Top Gear. Those are some fighting words considering the competition from Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and Hennessey.
They're all manufacturers with an established history of creating world-beating, record-breaking hypercars. But so to does SSC. Its previous Ultimate Aero was officially certified as the world's fastest production car (at the time) when it clocked 256 mph back in 2007. It held that record until the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport beat it in 2010, reaching 259 mph. We've yet to see what the Chiron can do flat out, but it already set a record for running 0-400-0 km/h (249 mph) in under 42 seconds – since beaten by the Koenigsegg Agera RS.
“The aerodynamics have already exceeded where we want to be," said the Tuatara's designer Jason Castriota. "Currently [the drag coefficient] is 0.279 when we’re running the aerodish wheel,” but there’s "still work to be done."
Of course the twin-turbo V8 also plays a crucial role. Downsized from the 7.0 liters to 5.9 to rev higher, it kicks out 1,350 horsepower on 91-octane gasoline, 1,700 hp on E85 , and 1,500 hp on a mix of the two. By comparison, the Koenigsegg Agera generates as much as 1,341 hp, the Bugatti Chiron 1,479, and the Hennessey Venom F5 even more at 1,600. Looks like this'll be a good fight to watch.