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CEO Jerod Shelby Addresses SSC Tuatara Top Speed Run Controversy

It’s been just over a week since a video of the SSC Tuatara surfaced on YouTube. The American hypercar allegedly reached a top speed of 331 mph. However, a response by YouTuber Tim Burton, aka Shmee150, calls into question the top speed run’s legitimacy. Since then, both SSC and the company that produced the telemetry system have made official statements.

How did the SSC Tuatara controversy start?

The controversy surrounding the SSC Tuatara began with Tim Burton’s video calling into question the record’s legitimacy. In his video, Tim looks over SSC’s official footage in detail and claims to have found several issues.

The first problem had to do with the speed at which the Tuatara was crossing various landmarks. As Tim’s video suggests, the hypercar takes too long to cover the measured distances. The result is that if the video is accurate, the telemetry is likely inaccurate.

SSC’s video provides a great basis for comparison with the previous record holder, the Koenigsegg Agera RS. Thanks to both videos taking place in the same location, Tim could use various landmarks to sync the videos. Despite registering a lower speed in the telemetry, the Koenigsegg was taking less time to cover the same distance.

There were two main explanations as to why the car was moving so slowly in the video. Either the video is significantly slowed down, or the telemetry system is off. Regardless, something wasn’t quite right.

Did the Tuatara actually set a world record?

On October 26th, the same day Tim’s video was published, SSC issued an official statement. According to SSC, “DEWETRON, a globally respected GPS data-measurement manufacturer, has validated SSC North America’s claim that its Tuatara hypercar had averaged a top-speed run of 316.11mph.”

If the provided data is valid, the record could stand regardless of the video inconsistencies.

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However, an official statement by DEWETRON on October 28 states: “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.”

As a result, we now had a video that didn’t look quite right and a telemetry company denying claims that it validated any of the data. As it stands, the validity of the record is in the air. However, SSC also took a turn making an official statement.

Here is Jerod Shelby’s official response

In an official statement posted on October 28, SSC‘s CEO, Jerod Shelby, gives his side of the story. Jerod states, “we did it, and the numbers are indeed on our side.” However, Jerod does address the video controversy by stating, “only after the fact did we realize that the depiction of the speed run, in video form, had been substantially incorrect.”

A black 2020 SSC Tuatara on a road with mountains in the background
2020 SSC Tuatara | SSC North America

According to Jerod, “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.”

Jerod does a great job of outlining how the Tuarara’s transmission, weight, and tires should allow it to reach the claimed figure via an extensive list of specs. Jerod also stated that the company is working on releasing an accurate video depicting the actual run. For now, all we can do is wait and see if the upcoming video and newly released data is enough to validate the record.