The Tuatara was originally unveiled with much fanfare back in 2011 as a concept, but it wasn’t until Pebble Beach earlier this year when the supercar was shown in a closer-to-production form. Revealed with the desire to join the currently inexistent 300-mph club, SSC North America’s Hennessey Venom F5 rival is now showing off its massive twin-turbo 5.9-liter V8 during testing and calibration.
The orange “1.3 MEGAWATTS” lettering is there for a legitimate reason – when running on E85 ethanol flex-fuel, the engine develops a massive 1,750 horsepower (roughly 1,300 kilowatts). The completely bespoke eight-cylinder unit developed with Nelson Racing Engines generates a still impressive 1,350 hp when feeding on regular 91 octane fuel. If you mix the two, the engine will push out about 1,500 hp.
Gallery: SSC Tuatara
Courtesy of this video, we get to hear the V8 engine at work as the revs go up. Speaking of which, it redlines at 8,800 rpm and sounds positively glorious. Originally, the Tuatara was envisioned with a 6.9-liter before downsizing to a 5.9-liter flat-plane-crank V8 featuring dual injectors per cylinder.
To hit the magical 300-mph mark, the supercar needs more than just a powerful engine. It has to have a sleek body with a low drag coefficient, and a new video (attached at the end) depicts an aerodynamic simulation of the Tuatara and its 0.279 Cd. Underneath the carbon fiber skin is a monocoque also made from carbon fiber keeping the weight in check at only 1,247 kilograms (2,750 pounds) before adding fluids.
As previously mentioned, SSC North America is accepting orders for its high-performance machine named after a reptile originating from New Zealand. Only 100 examples will be built at a new factory in West Richland, Washington. The company has “full confidence” the Tuatara will not only hit 300 mph (483 kph), but actually exceed what would be a record-breaking velocity.
Videos: SSC North America / YouTube