A little-known American automaker has just snatched the title of world’s fastest production car.
SSC North America announced Monday that its Tuatara hypercar reached an average speed of 316.11 miles per hour during two record-breaking dashes outside Las Vegas.
The vehicle, which was tested on a seven-mile stretch of a Nevada highway on Saturday, also reached the highest speed ever achieved on a public road, at 331.15 miles per hour, according to the company. The official top speed of 316 miles per hour is the result of two runs in opposite directions, to account for wind and road variations.
SSC said that two independent witnesses were on site to verify the world records.
The Tuatara, which has butterfly doors and produces 1,750 horsepower from a turbocharged V-8 engine, is the second vehicle built by SSC to earn the title of world’s fastest production car, according to the company. It says the model’s aerodynamic design was inspired by fighter jets, taking more than a decade of research and development.
SSC, which bills itself as “America’s first hypercar company,” was founded in 1998 in Richland, Washington. SSC CEO Jerod Shelby, who is not related to legendary auto designer and racer Carroll Shelby, said the team’s performance exceeded his own expectations, and was especially gratifying after “years of setbacks and challenges.”
The company is currently planning to produce 100 Tuatara hypercars to sell to customers.
SSC isn’t the only company pushing the envelope for production cars.
Just over a year ago, Bugatti was able to get a specially modified Bugatti Chiron to average 304.8 miles per hour during two test runs on a German track.
At the time, the French company said that it was the first production manufacturer to make a car that exceeded 300 miles per hour. (Cars built solely to compete for speed records have gone as fast as over 700 miles per hour.)
In 2017, a Koenigsegg Agera RS averaged 277.87 miles per hour over two runs in Nevada.
SSC believes its car can go even faster.
“There was definitely more in there. And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster,” driver Oliver Webb said in a statement.
— Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report.