Shelby Supercars has more or less given up on the title of the world’s fastest car, according tomedia reports, as sharp-eyed YouTubers point to some embarrassing and potentially costly discrepancies in the video of its SSC Tuatara allegedly driving in both directions at 316mph. Two weeks ago, the SSC team was overjoyed when they broke the existing record for overshooting speeds on a highway outside Las Vegas.
The previous record was set by Koenigsegg Agera in 2017 at a speed of 277.87 mph (447.19km/h). Bugadi’s claim that Chiron broke the 300mph record never counts, because when all these types of records require two-way measurements to offset the effects of wind assistance, Chiron only completes one-way driving. So when Tuatara announced a speed of 331.15 mph (532.93km/h), it was almost 20 per cent of the jump, an absolutely shocking figure.
The company later released a video to support its claims.
But things got even weirder when YouTubers Shmee 150 and Misa Charoudin and many others began digging further.
Because Tuatara runs the same path as Agera, when netizens can put these videos together and clearly see — thanks to the landmarks passing by — who runs faster. As a result, It looks like Agera is running faster. An analysis of the SSC engine and transmission ratio also seems to show that it is indeed unable to achieve the claimed top speed set in sixth gear. Measuring the distance between known landmarks and Tuatara’s time between landmarks produces a lower average speed than the data that GPS reads at that distance.
Things are still fermenting, and in another 360-degree video a helicopter can be seen cleared from the right side of the passenger window. The car was approaching 200mph (322km/h). The helicopter shown in the video is the Airbus H125, which has a cruising speed of 162mph (260km/h) and will never exceed 178mph (287km/h), and no sensible pilot will let the plane go at that speed even without a large stable camera in front of it. So the helicopter couldn’t catch the 200mph car at all.
In response, the SSC took control of the damage, first saying that the company that made the video had confused the synchronization point of GPS data, and then that Dewetron, the GPS speed-tracking manufacturer, had verified the speed record.
That seemed to be news for Dewetron, which quickly issued its own statement saying it had neither endorsed nor verified any test results that SSC Tuatara had attempted to set a world record. What’s more, Dewetron said, the equipment in question is sensitive to installation and calibration, and that not only did Dewetron’s representatives supervise the operation of the SSC on site, but the company’s employees were not consulted about the installation before attempting. So even if Dewetron receives all the GPS data, they can’t verify it.
Finally, SSC founder and CEO Jerod Shelby released a three-minute video of the “personal statement.” In the video, he more or less admits that he can’t answer the questions he’s asking — “The more research we do and the more we try to analyze, the more we worry about the relationship between video and GPS.” I take this very seriously. “
Shelby says his perfect impression of the speed record has disappeared, and whatever they do in the future to salvage it is still there, but even then they need to retake the record drive, “we have to do it again.” Do it in an undeniable and irrefutable way. So the next time we do this — and we’re going to do it in the near future — we need to make sure that our cars are equipped with GPS equipment. I want to make sure we have their staff on site to monitor us, analyze every run and every detail. “
So the current speed record doesn’t exist, and if YouTube detectives are right, Tuatara is probably not even as fast as Koenigsegg in 2017. Note that previous GPS calibration records may also be wrong, but they have not been detected and analyzed to this extent. Perhaps some standard is needed to dispel all doubts.
While the SSC has yet to release the original GPS data and may not have done itself any good in responding to criticism, no one has accused the company of lying or deceiving in the matter. This seems more likely to be a simple calibration error, exaggerated due to the number of exceptions involved.
In a sense, who cares? There is no denying that Tuatara is an extremely fast and powerful car. Now, the speed record for overstrip is so dangerous and far from conventional ground car usage that the whole thing can easily be seen as a gasoline-powered engineering runway monster. But for those who buy these multi-million dollar toys, prestige is everything. Reputation and excellence are important. Such a car could sell for 10 times its original price and be given a proper story; a famous owner and the appearance of a film could make headlines around the world as the fastest car of its time.
There is no doubt that SSC’s next attempt will be completely public. It will be done under close supervision, from every point of view that can be imagined. If it ends up breaking Agera’s record (not 300mph), it will be the least exciting “world’s fastest car” in history. If it ends up slower than Agera, it could be a big blow to the SSC.