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Is the World’s Fastest Production Car Actually a Fraud?

Just last week, we saw the Koenigsegg Agera RS dethroned, losing the title of world’s fastest production car. The SSC Tuatara hypercar allegedly shattered the world record with an average speed of 316 mph. We even got an in-cabin video of the top speed run complete with a full array of telemetry data. However, a new video from Shmee150 points out several inconsistencies, calling in question the legitimacy of the world record.

Here’s the official SSC Tuatara top speed run

Let’s start with what we know. For the SSC Tuatara to officially claim the title of world’s fastest production car, it needs to complete two runs. The two runs have to happen in the same stretch of road headed in opposite directions. The average of those speed runs is taken, and that becomes the new world record.

According to SSC, the Tuatara managed to achieve 331.15 mph on its first run and 301.07 mph on its second, for an average of 316.11 mph. Aside from achieving the world record, it surpassed the Agera RS’ 276.36 mph average speed by a considerable margin.

To record this data and establish a legitimate record, SSC employed a DEWETRON telemetry system. According to SSC, DEWETRON also recorded the data for the SSC Ultimate Aero’s top speed run.

What inconsistencies did Shmee150 find?

Firstly, the SSC Tuatara completed its top speed run in the same stretch of road as the previous record holder, the Koenigsegg Agera RS. As a result, Shmee150 can directly compare the speed at which both cars pass various landmarks and determine their average speed.

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In the video, the SSC Tuatara passes by some clearly defined medians in the center of Nevada Highway 160. Shmee150 used Google Maps to estimate that the distance between the first two medians is around 1.13 miles. The distance between the second and third mediums is around 1.42 miles.

Shmee150 shows how in the video, the Tuatara took approximately 22 seconds to cover that distance, resulting in an average speed of about 179 mph. However, the video’s telemetry shows the Tuatara reaching the first medium at around 192 mph and the second at around 307 mph. The resulting average speed would be closer to 249 mph if accurate.

The Agera RS’ video also serves to shed some additional light on the Tuatara’s record. Shmee150 points out that the Koenigsegg covers the distance between the second and third median quicker than the Tuatara despite registering considerably slower speeds. If the two videos are accurate, it would be impossible for the Tuatara to move quicker while taking longer to cover the same distance.

What has SSC said in response?

As of writing, the manufacturer behind the SSC Tuatara has not made an official statement. SCC recently published a press release stating that DEWETRON, the company behind the telemetry system, has confirmed the record’s status.

2020 SSC Tuatara side doors and covers up | SSC North America

As it stands, there are three possible explanations for these inconsistencies. The first is that the Google Maps distance data is incorrect, and the distance between the points is actually significantly shorter. The second is that the official video is slowed down, affecting the time required to cross the various medians. Lastly, the in-car telemetry itself could be inaccurate, potentially resulting in a faulty record. So while at this point, the SSC Tuatara is not clearly a fraud, there certainly seem to be some inconsistencies worth investigating.