Shelby Supercar Tuatara gets non-speed record in record time

James Raia

The SSC Tuatara speed record was a non record in record time.

The need for speed has resulted in the Shelby Supercar Tuatara crossing a line it hadn’t hoped to cross — in a blur of doubt.

Two weeks ago, the SSC touted with documentation a record of 316.11 miles per hour by its production car.

With the mph record, the Tuatara also set “Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road” and “Fastest Flying Kilometer on a Public Road” records.

The Shelby Supercar Tuatara speed record was a non-record in record time.
The Shelby Supercar Tuatara speed record was a non-record in record time.

As expected, the accomplishment gained plenty of attention, including millions of views on various YouTube videos.

Shelby Supercar Tuatara: MPH askew

But it was also YouTube viewers who pointed to discrepancies in the company’s record-claiming, two-way run.

The claimed record was read off a high-precision Dewetron GPS measurement device. It shattered the previous ratified record, established when in 2017 a Koenigsegg Agera was timed at 277.87 mph on the same route. The Tuatara reached as high as 331.15 mph.

But as many have pointed out, 25 seconds into the video, the GPS speed data appears to show the car doing more than 20 mph before the timing starts.

Since the Shelby Supercar Tuatara and Agera runs were done on the same stretch of road, side-by-side analysis the Agera going faster the new record claim SCC.

Here are the criteria:

*Be a production vehicle; it must be identical to the same vehicle a customer might purchase.

* Drive the same route in opposite directions, and average the two speeds. This accounts for winds and road grade that may have favored the vehicle as traveling in only one direction.

* Achieve this feat on a public road; this ensures ‘real world’ driving conditions that a race track or runway might not offer.

*Have its speed tracked by a certified GPS measurement system, and have two world-record sanctioned witnesses on site for verification.

* Run on street tires and non-race fuel.

According to analysis reports, the Shelby Supercar Tuatara engine and gearbox ratios appear incapable of achieving the claimed top speed.

Another oddity: In a 360-degree video, a helicopter can clearly be seen out the right side passenger window keeping pace at 200 mph with the car up to around after about 1 minute and 17 seconds.

The Airbus H125 helicopter has a fast cruise speed of 162 mph and a “never exceed speed” of 178 mph.

Following other issues, Jarod Shelby, the SSC founder and CEO Jerod Shelby, released the three-minute “personal statement.”

“The more we looked, the more we tried to analyze, the more we were concerned there were doubts in the relationship between the video and the GPS,” Shelby stated. “I took that very seriously.”

“The perfect view I had of this record is now gone. And no matter what we do in the coming days to try to salvage this particular record, it’s always going to have a stain on it … There’s just no way to now make this perfect.

“It hit me. We need to re-run the record. We have to do this again. And do it in a way that it’s undeniable and irrefutable. So the next time we do this – and we’ll prepare to do it in the very near future – we need to make sure we have multiple GPS companies’ equipment in the car. I want to make sure we have their staff on-site looking over our shoulders and analyzing every run, every detail of this.”

For now, the record has been rescinded.

As one report questioned, are previous records also in question?

Did SCC lie? Was it deceptive? Or was a simple calibration mistake

If SSC makes another record attempt, how will that intense scrutiny unfold?

Further, if a record is or isn’t established, to whom will it be relevant?


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Article Last Updated: November 2, 2020.

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