Will the Tuatara be remembered as a cheat or a victor?
If you didn’t know already, SSC (Shelby SuperCars) recently ‘broke’ the world record for production-car speed record with their latest car, the Tuatara. Breaking the record with a 316 mph two-way average recorded, the Tuatara beat the previous official record set by the Koenigsegg Agera RS which recorded an average speed of just under 278 mph. Or so we thought.
The average speed of 316 was recorded in October 2020 and received a lot of backlash as various things simply didn’t add up. It was found by Shmee and many other enthusiasts that the speed record was a lie thanks to some clever comparisons to video footage from the Tuatara run and the Koenigsegg run in 2017 on the same road. Both had cockpit-view footage of the whole run which allowed Shmee to compare the times at which various landmarks were passed and calculating the speed from them.
Essentially, it boiled down to the Tuatara taking longer to pass the distance between landmarks than the Agera RS, which was odd considering the Tuatara was allegedly going over 300 mph and the Agera RS travelling at speeds less than 280 mph.
Things got even worse when SSC said the speed and GPS data was recorded by the supplier of its GPS equipment, rather than an independent verifier. The owner of SSC, Jerod Shelby, even said after the run that ‘there was definitely more in there’ claiming that the Tuatara could go even faster than the claimed top speed on one of its runs of 331 mph.
After the controversy, however, Jerod issued a new statement somewhat admitting a discrepancy between the GPS data and the video footage but also not admitting to any intentional cheating. Many praised his honest approach whereas others called him and the company cheaters.
More recently, in January of 2021, Jerod and the SSC crew took the Tuatara out once more for a shot at redemption and hoping to record another record-breaking run but this time, with more GPS devices and more experts on hand to verify it all.
The record was broke once again but not with a two-way average of 316 mph, instead the average was just 282.9 mph, some 33 mph less than the first run and just 6 mph faster than the Koenigsegg Agera RS.
After being accused of lying on a record-breaking run of well over 300 mph and to then return to prove the world run but only achieving 283 mph is a bit awkward, to say the least. Anything under 300 mph is bound to disappoint after the controversy of the first run.
Moreover, the January run was in actuality the 3rd time the car had attempted the speed record, as the Tuatara was taken out in December 2020 but the attempt was halted due to engine failure.
What is impressive, though, is that the Tuatara was able to go faster than the Agera RS in around half the distance (2.3 miles) but will SSC’s supercar be remembered as the fastest car in the world, or perhaps as the car that cheated on its first run? Let us know what you think, in the comments section below!
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Header image credit: Corbin Harder, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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