Is there a new king of speed in the production car world? Officially, not yet. However, an unofficial report from KPVM-TV in Las Vegas says the SSC Tuatara set a new record over the weekend on the same stretch of road Koenigsegg used for its record run back in 2017. The report further states that SSC will make an official announcement soon, but the big question now is, did it go faster than Koenigsegg, or Bugatti?
Officially, the current Guinness World Record for the fastest production car is held by the Koenigsegg Agera RS at 277.9 mph. That run took place in late 2017 on the identical stretch of State Route 160 in southern Nevada that SSC used this past weekend. To count as an official top speed run, a car must make two sprints in opposite directions to negate the effects of headwinds and tailwinds. The Agera RS actually reached 284 mph on one of its passes, but the average for both directions brought the speed down to 277.9 mph.
Gallery: 2020 SSC Tuatara
As for Bugatti, it broke the 300-mph barrier in September 2019 with a special version of the Chiron that would become the Super Sport 300+. It reached 304.7 mph at the Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany, however, only a single pass in one direction was made. This was reportedly due to the grain of the track surface being potentially dangerous at such speeds when driven in the opposite direction. Video shows the car reaching 304.7 mph, but the single-direction run remains both unofficial and controversal in the world of ultimate speed, especially since Bugatti limits the Super Sport 300+ to 275 mph in production form.
This leads us to the million-dollar question for this million-dollar hypercar. Ever since the Tuatara's official launch, SSC seemingly set its sights on Bugatti. The car was envisioned to go 300 mph, and in fact, the Tuatara's top speed is estimated to be 312 mph. With no less than 1,750 horsepower (1,305 kilowatts) generated from a twin-turbocharged, flat-plane-crank 5.9-liter V8, it should have the power to break the 300-mph barrier. It also weighs just 2,750 pounds and boasts a drag coefficient of 0.279, so on paper at least, the Tuatara looks like a match for Bugatti's unofficial title, never mind Koenigsegg's official one.
As soon as we have an offiical word from SSC we'll certainly provide an update.