SSC Tuatara breaks world speed record

SSC Tuatara breaks world speed record

Will Lipman / SSCNA

Shelby started SSC North America in Richland Washington in 1998. The company produced Ultimate Aero from 2004 to 2013, and in 2007 the 6-liter supercharged V8 sports car “has an average top speed of 410 km/h (256.18 mph). Aero held the title for three years until the appearance of the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which hit 267.856 miles in 2010, and was eliminated by the Koenigsegg Agera RS at 277.87 miles in 2017.

Ultimate Aero “was a great test bed to see what type of assembly works, what it can do, the actual setup, and so on,” Shelby said. “When we went to Tuatara I really wanted to have a blank piece of paper.”

“It won’t be based on anything else,” he continued. “Forget what it looks like, what do you want to achieve with this car? Then, internally, the philosophy of the engineering and design team was’transcendence’.”

The process began when Shelby hired former Pininfarina stylist Jason Castriota. According to Shelby, the two sets are what makes a “aesthetically pleasing vehicle”. This includes an aerospace-grade carbon fiber skin that lowers Tuatara’s curb weight to 2,750 pounds.

Then the design was passed on to the team. Podium engineering, An Italian aerodynamics company that aims to reach at least .280 in regular cooperation with the F1 crew Drag coefficient And, as Shelby said, “a balanced downforce at 150 miles per hour with this car’s top speed.”

SSC North America Tuatara Speed ​​Test

Will Lipman / SSCNA

After massaging the design for almost three years, including the addition of an active rear aero wing, the Podium team has a .279 drag coefficient (nearly Pole star 2) And achieves a balance of 37% forward-63% with rear aero at speeds in excess of 150 mph.

“We are very proud of the design we have done,” Shelby said. “We feel it’s a timeless design that’s still cutting edge, yet very safe and stable for high-speed driving, ten years from now.”

SSC North America Tuatara Speed ​​Test

Will Lipman / SSCNA

Shelby teamed up with Tom Nelson Nelson racing engine In Chatsworth, California, famous for its extreme twin turbo motor design, Tuatara’s 1,750 HP 5.9 liter twin turbo V8 engine was designed. “We learned in the early 2000s that a lot of people could build a forced induction motor or a turbo motor,” Shelby explained. “The big difference is live, You can get maximum speed and maximum boost for a few minutes at a time. “

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“We put together a package that we think is absolutely bulletproof,” he continued. “And then we spent several months on the Dino, and tried to cut off this motor. It literally worked at full throttle, and it worked at full boost until it glowed orange, but it still didn’t break. Knocking on the wooden desk here but [of design] In the last year of the actual test, no engine failure or gearbox failure occurred yet. “

The engine sound was also the most important. “I wanted flat crankyness,” Shelby said. “I wanted something that sounded different from the others. I didn’t want the Ferrari howl, and I certainly didn’t want the muscle car howl.”

The third pillar of Tuatara’s triumvirate is the air intake system. As Shelby points out, “whether you’re on a road race track or at full speed, the intake air temperature is probably one of the most important factors for us.” Excluding the rest of the engine, the system, which had to be developed over the years, keeps the intake air temperature within 15 degrees Fahrenheit ambient. “It doesn’t matter what the outdoor temperature is or how hard you run this car, it was very important when you just ran this last ride,” Shelby said.

SSC North America Tuatara Speed ​​Test

Will Lipman / SSCNA

Saturday’s attempts were over 10 months old. The crew had to work with local and state authorities to safely block the length of Highway 160 over the weekend, and were required to repeatedly drive the seven-mile length, recording the location of asphalt seams and other hazards that could leave the vehicle course. . After finding a professional driver from Oliver Webb in the UK who can comfortably drive in Tuatara while traveling at nearly five times the speed limit, you get down the road at absurd speeds. SSC NA even took over a private airfield. Tonopa airport The aircraft hangar was used as an HQ and the runway was used as a warm-up track for Webb.

Pahrump Nevada

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“We wanted to check out the straight line tests we got. [Webb] A little seating time before this record was because we were very concerned about safety as well when we talked about these extreme speeds,” Shelby said.

Crosswind was one of Webb’s major safety concerns. When moving at speeds close to 300 miles per hour, even a slight gust can push the vehicle along the lane and potentially off the road. Webb said, “I spent time on phone calls. [Niklas Lilja], His racing friend [drove the] Koenigsegg in 2017,” said Shelby. “They had a wind problem in the desert in 2017, causing a terrifying moment.”

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The weather was almost perfect throughout the week, according to Shelby, with clear skies and little wind. So, of course, they had an affair as soon as the SSC NA team arrived at the scene on Saturday morning. Nevertheless, the wind was considered favorable enough for the team to move forward.

Shelby recalls: “We had world record certification witnesses there. “They put the satellite equipment in the car and made sure everything was ready and recorded. [Webb] I made the first pass, he went down and came back, and when I went inside, he ran 287 miles per hour.” That alone was enough for SSC NA to reclaim the title of “World’s Fastest Production Vehicle”, but not enough for Jerod Shelby. “When we started this project in 2010, our ultimate goal was 500 kilometers per hour or 312 kilometers per hour,” he said.

SSC North America Tuatara Speed ​​Test

Will Lipman / SSCNA

After cooling the tires for about 20 minutes (because the site temperature hovered around 98 degrees even in the early morning), the team decided to make another pass. “We installed satellite equipment and went in the opposite direction,” Shelby said. “When he returned he said,’I was a little scared because the wind was getting worse and worse. I went over the lane.’ Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ There are only a handful of vehicles that can break 300.

“Suddenly Oliver said,’Hey, can we talk really fast in the transport?’ Shelby recalled. “He said,’I’ll run one more time. I hated it when the wind blew and was hit by that surprise [gust]. As you know, I’m sorry. I know we have a high goal here, but I can’t do it. ‘”

“I understand,’I fully understand. I understand.’ But internally I’m thinking,’If you can get another pass for just over 300, you’ve done something here.’ At the same time, the ship sank a bit because the target of 500 km/h or 312 miles/hr was now off the table,” admitted Shelby.

With the wind still blowing, Webb and the team finally get ready for Tuatara when Shelby jumps into a chase vehicle to meet the hypercar at the other end of the track.

When we get into the car, the car sits there, the hood goes up, there are technicians checking the tire temperature and everything. [Webb] He sits on the floor in front of the car and holds his head in his hand. It just doesn’t seem right. I wasn’t feeling right.

When I walked he said,’It’s over, I’ll never do this again. I got it with two different gusts and it moved me to two lanes and put me on a rumble strip. I got a really intimate call. ‘

And he was shaking. It was emotional. There is one part he is so excited and relieved to be safe. But we are done. I’m also realizing that it probably wasn’t a good run for speed. When that feeling hit me, Webb suddenly looked up and said,’Jerry, I saw a really big number on the display.’

331 miles per hour. Oliver Webb aboard SSC Tuatara did not break the ground speed record, but completely destroyed it. The average speed of his two fastest runs came out at 316 and changed, breaking the previous record to 38 mph, and surpassing Shelby’s goal of 312 mph. Webb has a record of’fastest flight on public roads’ at 313.12 km/h,’fastest flight on public roads’ at 517.16 km/h (321.35 mph) and’top speed achieved on public roads’ at 331.15 mph. I built it. .

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“He is currently the fastest production vehicle on the planet,” said Shelby. “It’s just one of those moments in my life I’ll never experience again. It was incredible.”

SSC North America Tuatara Speed ​​Test

Will Lipman / SSCNA

But don’t expect SSC North America to be successful-the company is already considering future design improvements and potentially even electric Tuatara.

Shelby said, “The record we just achieved would have been really hard to do with an electric car.” “I mean, they may have beaten us at 80 or 100 miles per hour, but they will challenge our current EV to reach 330 like we just did.”

“I really like the combustion engine and acceleration and I know this won’t last longer,” concludes Shelby. “I’m seeing what’s going on out there. I really want to see where EV technology is going. And at the right time it will be part of the company’s future.”

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