In just 2.3 miles of tarmac, the SSC Tuatara – with its new exhaust – achieved the monumental speed of 295 miles per hour on May 14, 2022. Driving the SSC Tuatara was again Dr. Larry Caplin, who already has taken delivery of the very machine that he was controlling. The achievement took place at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Florida. Verifying the data were two Racelogic VBOX GNSS systems onboard the Tuatara, a Life Racing GPS unit, Racelogic technician Mitchell Townsend and independent analyst Robert Mitchell.
“The sheer rate of acceleration that the Tuatara was producing all the way through 295 mph really told us that this car is not even close to reaching its ceiling. All the data and imagery has given us a clear picture that the limiting factor wasn’t the car, but the fact that we ran out of runway,” said SSC North America founder and CEO Jerod Shelby. “Our goal has been to actualize transparent data that shows what the Tuatara is capable of. We have finally achieved that goal, and in a remarkably short distance.”
The Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Florida is famously known as the the Space Shuttle landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center. To achieve a new SSC Tuatara top speed record, the team had to max out every inch of the space, using 1,000 feet of asphalt runoff area on both sides, as well as the runway’s 15,000-feet of saw-cut concrete. 3,800 feet of that space was used for a braking zone.
“This is probably the only record where somebody else, somebody external, has every bit of detail in this car and every bit of detail that has happened to it,” said Racelogic technician Robert Mitchell. “I think this car is a 300 car all day. The sheer acceleration at these high numbers above 250, 260, even into the 280’s, it’s hands down the fastest car that I have seen. The acceleration is there, the top end is there, and I believe that this is the only car that I know of right now that can be verified running 300, especially in such a short distance.”
Not Done Yet
The SSC Tuatara top speed likely has more to give, and while Dr. Caplin holds claim to piloting the hypercar to 295 mph, other customers are collaborating with SSC on what to do next when it comes time to take delivery of their own cars. Will we see a future attempt at 300 mph again? It feels likely, but we’ll have to wait and see, won’t we? The Nürburgring is also on the table.
SSC Tuatara: Details
Over a decade in the making, the Washington-built SSC Tuatara hypercar has the fingerprints of some of America’s automotive greats. Its design was penned by Jason Castriota, while its shape has a drag coefficient of 0.279 in its high-speed configuration. Meanwhile, the SSC Tuatara Striker and Aggressor deliver on higher levels of downforce, and more track-focused capabilities. Behind the cockpit is a twin-turbo Nelson Racing Engines V8 that produces 1,750 horsepower on E85 or Methanol, and 1,350 horsepower on 91 Octane. That power is transferred to a CIMA 7-Speed electronically controlled transmission working, while an Automac AMT system actuates operations, automatic clutch management, and active aerodynamics.