Eclipsing not only the 447 km/h set by the Swedish marque’s Agera RS three years ago, the Tuatara also betters the 490 km/h set by the prototype Bugatti Chiron last year in becoming not only the first car to breach 500 km/h, but officially the first to exceed 300 mph as its run was calculated over the required two-ways whereas the Bugatti achieved its top speed over a single distance.
Driven by British racing driver Oliver Webb on a stretch of public road outside Las Vegas using conventional tyres and pump fuel, the 1 247 kg Tuatara, which is motivated by a twin-turbocharged 5.9-litre V8 outputting 1 007 kW and 1 735 Nm of torque, achieved an initial V-max of 484 km/h before hitting 532 km/h on its record run. The eventual average of both came to the mentioned 508 km/h.
According to Webb though, the final speed could have been higher with the Brit telling Top Gear magazine after the run that, “the crosswinds are all that prevented us from realising the car’s limit.”
“There was definitely more in there. And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster, as I approached 331 mph (532 km/h), the Tuatara climbed almost 20 mph (32 km/h) within the last five seconds. The car wasn’t running out of steam yet,” Webb said.
“It’s been ten years since we held this record with our first car, the Ultimate Aero, and the Tuatara is leagues ahead. 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,” SSC CEO Jerod Shelby told the publication.