While car manufacturers a decade ago were chasing 250 mph (402 km/h), the target has since moved to 300 mph with the likes of Hennessey and Koenigsegg all eager to reach it. With the long-awaited SSC Tuatara, there’s a new kid on the block.
Speaking with Top Gear, SSC chief executive Jerod Shelby said he is very confident in the vehicle’s performance.
“We wanted the engineering to exceed anything we had done before and what our competitors are doing. But the overarching goal was 300mph.
“The knowledge I have of our competitors, I feel that we’re the only ones that really have a legitimate shot because of the drag numbers and the horsepower that we’re producing.”
Speaking of drag numbers, the Jason Castriota-designed bodywork of the Tuatara not only looks good but is quite slippery. According to the company, the drag coefficient currently sits at 0.279 when the special ‘aerodish’ wheels are fitted. According to the famous designer, however, refinements to the vehicle’s exterior are still being done and drag will be reduced further.
“We have so much velocity coming into [the side intakes] because we got so clean around the front wheel, that we’re actually losing drag counts.
“So we can actually now change the internal ducting on the rear radiator, play a little bit more around the front wheel and rear wing profile to which will lower [the drag coefficient] a bit more while still dialing in more downforce.”
In terms of the grunt needed to reach 300 mph, SSC believes it has the goods. Powering the Tuatara is a twin-turbocharged flex-fuel 5.9-liter flat-plane crank V8 that revs all the way to 8800 rpm. This engine delivers 1350 hp on 91 octane fuel and no less than 1750 hp on E85.
SSC wants to complete testing of the Tuatara in May 2019 and start deliveries three months later.