The Controversy of the 331mph SSC Tuatara World Record - Case Closed?

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Shmee150
Published at : 04 Nov 2020
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The SSC Tuatara's 331mph world record top speed run has certainly been a controversial discussion! Following my questions surrounding the published video, Jerod Shelby has now announced that SSC will be doing another run with the Tuatara to set the record straight. However, there are still concerns that haven't been addressed that will play a part in the next attempt.

SSC reported that on 10th October, 2020, the Tuatara in production specification form broke a top speed record with one direction at 331.15mph and the other at 301.07mph for an average of 316.1mph - beating the previous record of the Koenigsegg Agera RS by 38.2mph (from 277.9mph). The runs took place on the very same road, the Nevada Highway 160 from the intersection with Tecopa Road with the Tuatara's fastest direction heading South-East towards Las Vegas and the slow speed on the return.

After the initial questions I raised surrounding the video published by Top Gear, a number of statements, press releases and bits of information have surfaced which introduce further questions to discuss. Equally, the topic has generated all sorts of stories published and discussed at length, some of which have perhaps been incorrect.

With further analysis of the initial record run itself, join me to further establish the particular video footage used, the gearbox within the car through sonic visualisation, and the speed traveled relative to an Airbus H125 helicopter flying alongside.

A huge shout out goes to Kaare for his work starting on the analysis of the audio, and the guidance to continue doing so in a bid to understand the gearbox ratios further.

Robert's analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEB-X4MEsjs

Misha's reply to Jerod Shelby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEUabGGrvk0

Information and data sources:

Jerod Shelby Statement:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrclO1wG2Y8

BBC Top Gear 331mph Record video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N22JfNHiC1k

SSC Tuatara vs Koenigsegg Agera RS head to head video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLoFKcH7zGo

Start location for the run:
https://goo.gl/maps/6ZzK3ZCppWJZqoxL6

Oli Webb confirming 6th gear for the run:
https://youtu.be/bkUuX5TLVes?t=204

SSC Press Releases:
https://www.sscnorthamerica.com/media

Running Data:

SSC Tuatara 331.15mph on 10th Oct 2020
Average run speed of 316.1mph
Faster run SE, slower run NW of 301.07mph

Median Comparisons:

Start to 1st median
Distance: 1.69km / 1.05m
Time: 38.18s = 99.5mph avg

1st to 2nd median
Distance: 1.81km / 1.13m
Time: 22.64s = 179.7mph avg
Entry at 192mph, exit at 307mph

2nd to 3rd median
Distance: 2.28km / 1.42m
Time: 28.24s including a pause
Pause is 3:82
Total time: 24.40s = 209.5mph avg
Entry at 307mph, peak of 331mph, exit at 242mph

1st to 3rd
Total excluding the pause is 47.39s = 195mph
Entry at 194mph, exit at 242mph, 331mph along the way

Thanks for watching, Tim

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