Final October, Jerod Shelby, founder and proprietor of SSC North America (previously Shelby SuperCars), took a 1750-hp Tuatara hypercar to the Nevada desert and claimed a production-car file with a 316.11-mph common pace. Then the web went to work, digging into the runs and digging up inconsistencies within the measuring and monitoring of the automotive’s efficiency. Whether or not the Nevada try was sloppy or underhanded stays debatable, however the outcomes did not stand as much as scrutiny.
Establishing in Florida on the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds on the Kennedy House Heart on January 17 to take one other run at a file held by the Koenigsegg Agera RS since 2017, Shelby and SSC introduced alongside loads of backup.
“We had Racelogic there with their VBOX tools, we had Life Racing, we had Garmin, and we had IMRA, which is the Worldwide Mile Racing [Association],” Shelby mentioned. “We used tools from all 4 teams and had employees there from three of these teams. However when it got here all the way down to it, it appears that evidently everybody within the automotive group appears to be like at Racelogic and VBOX as probably the most revered measurement device, so they’d a number of redundant methods within the automotive, and so they had a gentleman named Jim Lau, their American consultant, current for all of the assessments.”
Lau despatched us a signed certification of the outcomes, vouching for the truth that the Tuatara hit 279.7 mph on its northbound run and 286.1 mph on its southbound run, that each runs have been accomplished inside an hour of one another, and that the common of the 2 runs was 282.9 mph, adequate to interrupt the prior file of 277.87 mph (common run) and the prior single-run file of 285 mph.
SSC supplied us with all of this knowledge for evaluation.
“Like many automotive fans, I noticed SSC’s unique video, had questions in regards to the pace claims, and questioned why they didn’t use a VBOX to validate their extraordinary prime pace,” Lau mentioned. “In contrast to many automotive fans, I discovered myself on a runway in Florida with our tools put in on that very automotive only a few months later.”
Throughout the October try, Shelby and his group—together with profitable race-car driver Oliver Webb and designer Jason Castriota—celebrated in entrance of banners declaring “Life Begins at 300,” as in, mph—however the automotive did not even strategy the magic quantity this time. Requested why, Shelby defined that this run differed from the prior try in quite a few methods.
“We had solely 2.3 miles for the acceleration zone,” Shelby mentioned of the NASA runway, evaluating it to the six or seven miles of paved public street within the Nevada desert. “And we solely have 0.7 miles to decelerate. So, if you’re at 287 mph, you actually must be on the brakes on the braking zone,” lest you run out of runway.
Shelby mentioned in addition they restricted the top-end energy of the automotive on the primary run due to a 3rd issue. After getting behind the wheel of the Tuatara in Nevada, Webb mentioned, “I hope to by no means try this once more. I truly don’t assume anybody is loopy sufficient to try it anytime quickly. I believe it’s unwise to even attempt.”
SSC North America
So the choice was made to permit an inexperienced driver—the proprietor of the check automotive, SSC buyer Dr. Larry Caplin—to pilot the automobile on this newest try. Shelby mentioned that apart from follow runs over the previous few months, Caplin did not have a lot seat time in any automotive above 200 mph. They wished to assist him acclimate.
“We have been nonetheless down about 300 horsepower once we did the primary of the 2 file passes,” Shelby mentioned. (It’s value noting that the Tuatara solely makes 1750 horsepower on E85; on 91-octane the twin-turbo 5.9-liter V-8 makes 1350 horsepower.)
The automotive’s gearing was modified from the prior runs as effectively, to accommodate for the restricted acceleration distance. “After we have been going to a shorter runway, and operating in, like, a drag-race mode, with full throttle full increase for 40 to 50 seconds as an alternative of bringing the automotive up slowly to 200 mph good and straightforward after which at 200 mph, full throttle, full increase for 20 to 30 seconds, we wished to ensure we may use all seven gears and hold the gearing nearer collectively,” Shelby defined. “So we went with a decrease gearbox ratio setup.”
SSC supplied us with these ratios for evaluation.
Regardless of repeated requests for a proof of what went improper in October, what the outcomes have been of SSC’s inside evaluation, or how inconceivable it was that the errors that occurred have been merely an “oopsie,” Shelby wouldn’t cop to any wrongdoing. “All I can say is, there have been a number of issues that didn’t line up, and within the warmth of the day, with a big movie crew there, and all types of individuals round,” he mentioned. “And we’re attempting to make sense out of the information, issues weren’t including as much as us, and we could not make sense of it. We couldn’t provide you with clear-cut solutions of precisely what went improper.”
SSC North America
That is lower than a mea culpa, and is probably not sufficient to slake the thirst of the web viewers that challenged the validity of SSC’s earlier runs. Shelby claimed that they did not file any knowledge within the October run, which is suspicious.
“Actually, all that is only a progress report on the standing of our top-speed testing,” Shelby mentioned, “and we’re nonetheless on that journey. We’re nonetheless transferring ahead; we will be doing additional runs sooner or later.” And he believes his automotive can surpass the 300-mph barrier. “The query is whether or not we are able to break 300 in 2.3 miles,” he mentioned.
Within the meantime, he’s using all of this publicity to abide the fading auto trade maxim, “Race on Sunday, Promote on Monday.” Although maybe not precisely to the capability he’d hoped. “We have bought extra vehicles for the reason that final run,” he says. “Most likely not as many as we’d have. However, sure.”
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