Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to All Our Content

SSC Tuatara’s 331 MPH Record Invalidated Due To Misleading Video

A New ‘Biggest Oof’ World Record?

You can’t lie to the internet. Actually, let me preface that by saying we have no way to tell if it was just an error on the editors part as they claim (more on that later on the post) or if they were caught bold-faced lying by the internet police.

A week ago I covered the Tuatara word record run hailing it as an unbelievable success. I was very excited, but as we know all good things must come to an end; and boy, did this ever end tragically.

Famous supercar youtube Shmee150 got technical with the numbers and distances in his most recent video exposing the record-setting run, using google maps to measure road markers and entry/exit speeds to calculate the real average speeds of the Tuatara run.

He also compares it to the Koenigsegg Agera record run on the same strip of highway synced to one another, and you can clearly see that the Agera was LIGHTYEARS faster than the SSC Tuatara. 

SSC has been lying through their teeth since this video surfaced, releasing a statement last Monday claiming that t “globally respected GPS data-measurement manufacturer” Dewetron confirmed the top speed and had records of it. Hilariously enough, Dewetron came out and said this is simply not true.

Here is Deretron’s statement on the matter:

Despite the information published on the website of SSC North America as well as on several related and non-related YouTube channels, DEWETRON did not validate any data from world record attempts or preceding tests… Nobody of DEWETRON’s employees was present during the test drive or involved in the associated preparations. Since the results of measurement data highly rely on the right setup, on the regular calibration of the systems and sensors in use as well as on many other parameters, we are not able to guarantee the accuracy or correctness of the outcome. As of this moment, DEWETRON did not receive the measurement file of the test drive. As a result of the absence during the test drive paired with the missing data, DEWETRON is not able to make any further statements about the world record attempt under question.

Jerod Shelby, head-honcho over at SSC put out his own statement in an attempt to maximize damage control (this is very long, so if you aren’t interested in reading a light novel on your lunch break turn around now). Here’s the entire statement below:

“On October 10, 2020, SSC North America realized a dream that was a decade in the making, when our Tuatara hypercar achieved an average top speed of 316.11 MPH.

In the days since, there has been a swirl of interest and speculation about how and whether the Tuatara had achieved that speed.

The good news: we did it, and the numbers are indeed on our side.
The bad news: only after the fact did we realize that the depiction of the speed run, in video form, had been substantially incorrect.

The following is a long explanation of what and how this happened, to the extent we now know. I hope it will serve to build trust in the SSC team, and in the exceptional feat the Tuatara has earned.

The video
Three years ago, SSC began working with Driven Studios, a video team to document what seemed like every waking moment of the Tuatara hypercar and those who’ve created it. They’ve since interviewed virtually every team member and consultant, captured the car in build and throughout extensive testing, and have played a key role in not only capturing but in producing the record run on October 10 in Pahrump, Nevada. They have become a trusted partner of the SSC family.

On the big day, October 10, there were video cameras everywhere — in the cockpit, on the ground, and even secured on a helicopter a low-flying T33 to capture the car at speed. The morning of the run, the record was achieved, we were over the moon. We kept the news under embargo until October 19, with hopes of releasing a video to accompany the press release. On October 19, the day the news broke, we thought there were two videos that had been released — one from the cockpit, with data of the speed run overlaid, and another video of b-roll running footage. The cockpit video was shared with Top Gear, as well as on the SSC and Driven+ YouTube pages.

Somehow, there was a mixup on the editing side, and I regret to admit that the SSC team hadn’t double-checked the accuracy of the video before it was released. We also hadn’t realized that not one, but two different cockpit videos existed, and were shared with the world.
Hypercar fans have quickly cried foul, and we hadn’t immediately responded, because we had not realized the inconsistencies — that there were two videos, each with inaccurate information — that had been shared. This was not our intention. Like me, the head of the production team had not initially realized these issues, and has brought on technical partners to identify the cause of the inconsistency. At first glance, it appears that the videos released have differences in where the editors had overlaid the data logger (which displays speed), in relation to the car’s location on the run. That variance in ‘sync points’ accounts for differing records of the run.

While we had never intended for the video captured to play the role of legitimizing the run, we are regretful that the videos shared were not an accurate representation of what happened on October 10. Driven Studios does have extensive footage of everything that transpired and is working with SSC to release the actual footage in its simplest form. We’ll share that as soon as it’s available.

The Car
On the day of the speed run, SSC used Dewetron equipment to track the Tuatara, and verify its speed, as measured by an average of 15 satellites across the two runs. We chose Dewetron for the sophistication of its equipment, and using that has given us confidence in the accuracy of the car’s measured speed.

People have sought additional details, which hadn’t provided in earlier press materials, and those technical specifications are listed below:

Tutara (Top Speed Model) Tech Specs
Ratios/Speed, using the 2.92 final-drive ratio
Gear Ratios/Top Speed (Gears 1-6 have 8,800 RPM REV LIMIT)
1st Gear: 3.133 / 80.56 MPH
2nd Gear: 2.100 / 120.18 MPH
3rd Gear: 1.520 / 166.04 MPH
4th Gear: 1.172 / 215.34 MPH
5th Gear: .941 / 268.21 MPH
6th Gear: .757 / 333.4 MPH @8800 *
7th Gear: .625 / 353.33 MPH (Estimated max @7,700RPM in 7th gear – Designed as mainly an overdrive highway cruising gear)
* FYI: Cross reference validations from data log-

Oliver is traveling at 236mph when he shifts from 5th to 6th at 7,700RPM (which tracks almost exactly to the gear-ratio data) and he pushed close to the top of 6th achieving 331.1 MPH at 8,600 RPM which tracks with our theoretical of 333.4mph @ 8800 RPM.

Aerodynamic Specs:
Drag goes from 0.279 up to 0.314 at 311mph (500kph)
Car is producing approx. 770lbs of downforce at 311mph
It is calculated that car needs 1,473HP to achieve 311mph (500kph)
In order to calculate the required power the following assumptions were made:
• The rolling resistance coefficient of the tires has been obtained from the manufacturer (Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2) declared energy class: E.
• The overall drivetrain efficiency (from crankshaft to wheel) has been set to 94%.
• The air density has been set to 1,205 kg/m3 (which is found at 20°C at sea level).
• The vehicle mass has been set to 1474 kg = 1384 kg curb weight + 90 kg driver.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
Rear Tire Diameter / Circumference: 345/30ZR20
Normal Running Pressure = 35psi
88.5” Circumference
28.185” Diameter
89.125” Circumference
28.38” Diameter

How the Speed Was Measured
The SSC team received a piece of Dewetron equipment for its use in the speed run. The SSC team was trained remotely (due to COVID) on the use of that equipment. The Dewetron equipment includes sensors placed in the vehicle, that tracked an average of 15 satellites over the course of the Tuatara top speed run. Two independent witnesses, not affiliated with SSC nor Dewetron, were on-site to view the speeds measured by the Dewetron equipment. SSC intends to submit proof of what those witnesses had seen on the Dewetron equipment to Guinness for verification. On October 22, Dewetron sent a letter to SSC confirming the accuracy of the equipment and speed sensor they had provided to SSC, and that letter will also be submitted to Guinness as part of application for the world top speed record.

As an additional step, SSC is in the process of submitting the Dewetron equipment and speed sensor for further analysis and verification of that equipment’s accuracy.”