That SSC Tuatara world record video was misleading

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,692   +124
Staff member
A hot potato: SSC could solve all of this simply by releasing raw data from even one of its cameras pointed at the road and the GPS equipment used to log the run. Don't try to make a big, Hollywood-style production of it, just show us the raw data to back up the claim.

American hypercar company SSC North America last week claimed to have broken the record for the world’s fastest production vehicle. With an average speed of 316.11 mph between two consecutive runs (the faster of which was reportedly a blistering 331.15 mph), it seemed as though SSC had indeed shaken up the hypercar world.

A video (or perhaps, more than one) was even supplied of the feat, but upon further inspection, Internet sleuths found some inconsistencies with the footage. SSC has since responded.

YouTuber Shmee150 published a video on the matter earlier this week in which he points to several bits of evidence that seemingly discredit what we were shown in Top Gear’s “exclusive” video (the very one we shared here). It brings up a lot of interesting points, such as the fact that the vehicle’s speedometer is blurred for much of the run.

Shmee150 also gets into the math, calculating how the run possibly couldn’t have happened as depicted based on landmarks in the video cross-referenced with Google Maps data of the stretch of road the run took place on. Conveniently enough, it’s the same bit of road that Koenigsegg used for its Agera RS run in 2017.

SSC founder Jerod Shelby said in a press release that the “depiction of the speed run, in video form, had been substantially incorrect.”

On October 19, the day the news broke, we thought there were two videos that had been released -- one from the cockpit, with data of the speed run overlaid, and another video of b-roll running footage. The cockpit video was shared with Top Gear, as well as on the SSC and Driven+ YouTube pages.

Shelby went on to note that there was a mixup on the editing side, “and I regret to admit that the SSC team hadn’t double checked the accuracy of the video before it was released. We also hadn’t realized that not one, but two different cockpit videos existed, and were shared with the world.”

When hypercar fans cried foul over the discrepancies, SSC didn’t immediately respond because they had not realized the inconsistencies – that there were two videos, each with inaccurate information – that had been shared.

At first glance, it appears that the videos released have differences in where the editors had overlaid the data logger (which displays speed), in relation to the car's location on the run. That variance in ‘sync points’ accounts for differing records of the run.

While we had never intended for the video captured to play the role of legitimizing the run, we are regretful that the videos shared were not an accurate representation of what happened on October 10.

The company SSC partnered with for the video work, Driven Studios, does reportedly have extensive footage of everything that transpired on that day and is working to “release the actual footage in its simplest form.” That’ll be shared as soon as it is available, we are told, but no date for when that might happen was provided.

Shelby also posted information about the vehicle’s gear ratios and the tires used, as well as other aerodynamic specifications.

In a follow-up with Top Gear, had the following to say when asked about the speedometer, the telemetry feed and what can (at times) be seen on the laptop screen in the vehicle:

“We became aware during testing the week leading up to the record attempt that the driver display was off by approximately 14-15mph at 200mph. We were not sure how inaccurate the display would be at 300mph and beyond and we had always planned on relying solely on the precision of the satellite data to record and display speed since we knew the driver display speed would not be as accurate at those speeds. The original design specification for the driver display had a maximum top speed reading of 301 because beyond our record run we never envisioned someone trying to go that fast! But rest assured, regardless of whether or not our customers will ever try to achieve over 300mph, chassis #1 and all future Tuataras will be programmed to read up to 350mph.”

I also have to question why the video they shared (the one from Top Gear’s YouTube channel) was from a 360-degree camera. In my experience, these cameras produce terrible image quality which is exactly what I’m seeing in the video. It’s so bad that you can’t even hardly make out what is on the laptop screen most of the time.

Dewetron, the company that makes the GPS equipment used in the run, had the following to say in a press release published on its website:

Despite publications on several websites and social media channels, Dewetron neither approved nor validated any test results for the world record attempt by SSC Tuatara captured on the video. No Dewetron employee was present during the record attempt or its preparations.

The driver, Oliver Webb, released the following video in Instagram about the event.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

World record attempt

A post shared by Oliver Webb (@oliverjameswebb) on

One last thing I'd like to comment on is how effortlessly the Tuatara hit 331 mph. Even if the footage is stitched together as SSC claims, the telemetry -- whether captured at that exact moment or from a different run -- should still be from that vehicle.

Based on that telemetry, the car still appears to be climbing in speed at a fast rate. Why stop there? Why not shift into the next gear and keep going higher for an even more impressive run?

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,744   +3,636
Of course it was.

We already went through this with the Hennessey Viper Venom and the the Koenigseggsegg whatever.

In order to claim the "world's fastest most powerful street-legal production car" you have to be a car that is "in production" (30 or more units produced) and you need to be street legal.

Bugatti wins this title because their Super Sport 2020 is able to exceed 300 MPH straight out of the factory. This car does 330 by using E85 in a tuned version of the production car.

Hennessey's Venom wasn't production either and neither were the Koenigseggeseggs.

These things are backyard tuner cars by comparison.

Bugatti is mass producing 300 MPH capable cars you can buy off the lot and drive to 300 MPH.
 
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Of course it was.

We already went through this with the Hennessey Viper Venom and the the Koenigseggsegg whatever.

In order to claim the "world's fastest most powerful street-legal production car" you have to be a car that is "in production" (30 or more units produced) and you need to be street legal.

Bugatti wins this title because their Super Sport 2020 is able to exceed 300 MPH straight out of the factory. This car does 330 by using E85 in a tuned version of the production car.

Hennessey's Venom wasn't production either and neither were the Koenigseggeseggs.

These things are backyard tuner cars by comparison.

Bugatti is mass producing 300 MPH capable cars you can buy off the lot and drive to 300 MPH.
Bugatti's run (304 mph) doesn't even count as valid. According to Guinness, a car has to run at the same speed going both directions on the same road within 60 minutes in order to qualify for the record. Bugatti only ran in one direction. At the moment of the run, Bugatti used a prototype built with the sole purpose of breaking the top speed record, sporting a modified version of the Chiron's engine, so it was not a mass production vehicle. Currently the record is held by the Koenigsegg Agera.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,744   +3,636
Bugatti's run (304 mph) doesn't even count as valid. According to Guinness, a car has to run at the same speed going both directions on the same road within 60 minutes in order to qualify for the record. Bugatti only ran in one direction. At the moment of the run, Bugatti used a prototype built with the sole purpose of breaking the top speed record, sporting a modified version of the Chiron's engine, so it was not a mass production vehicle. Currently the record is held by the Koenigsegg Agera.

You're wrong.

The Agera doesn't hold the record.

And as for the new Super sport, Bugatti needn't argue with you.
 
You're wrong.

The Agera doesn't hold the record.

And as for the new Super sport, Bugatti needn't argue with you.
No problem if you are a Bugatti fanboy. It's just facts. No need to argue with me either, Bugatti's run is not the top speed record holder according to Guinness, and was made with a pre-production vehicle... not mass produced as you said. It's the way a manufacturer teases their customers about an upcoming vehicle. Just take a few clicks to educate yourself before posting.

So I repeat in case you didn't get it. The current top speed record holder, is the Koenigsegg Agera.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,053   +1,426
No problem if you are a Bugatti fanboy. It's just facts. No need to argue with me either, Bugatti's run is not the top speed record holder according to Guinness, and was made with a pre-production vehicle... not mass produced as you said. It's the way a manufacturer teases their customers about an upcoming vehicle. Just take a few clicks to educate yourself before posting.

So I repeat in case you didn't get it. The current top speed record holder, is the Koenigsegg Agera.
You are 100% correct as this information is easy to find on the internet.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,069   +897
Based on that telemetry, the car still appears to be climbing in speed at a fast rate. Why stop there? Why not shift into the next gear and keep going higher for an even more impressive run?
The article format makes it unclear whether or not the author is seriously asking this question, but there are many reasons to not exceed a specific speed, even if the horsepower was there for it. Excessive lift forces, road imperfections, wheel stresses -- a lot of things can go wrong at these velocities. Remember Richard Hammond from Top Gear, who had a wheel disintegrate on him at 288mph, and barely survived the experience.
 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 374   +393
I sometimes wonder what the point of the land speed record is. It's expensive, dangerous, and at the end of they day, all it does is give people something to talk about. I'm never going to buy this thing (and I'm pretty sure that nobody else here will either) so, while it's cool to look at the cars, I'm not all that worried about it. Let's be honest, how many "world records" do we have that are actually fake? Probably a good number of them. LOL
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,597   +6,112
I sometimes wonder what the point of the land speed record is. It's expensive, dangerous, and at the end of they day, all it does is give people something to talk about. I'm never going to buy this thing (and I'm pretty sure that nobody else here will either) so, while it's cool to look at the cars, I'm not all that worried about it. Let's be honest, how many "world records" do we have that are actually fake? Probably a good number of them. LOL
If it is certified and listed by the Guinness Book you can count on it being real .... all others have a measurable amount of doubt. I've been out at the salt flats several times to watch the attempts and they are pretty impressive but a tremendous effort is put forth to insure safety, as much as can be done. As to why? Well, you've got to have the willingness and the spirit of adventure to try and frankly, if you don't have that, why are you taking up the previous air the rest of us want to breath? JK LOL
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 374   +393
If it is certified and listed by the Guinness Book you can count on it being real .... all others have a measurable amount of doubt. I've been out at the salt flats several times to watch the attempts and they are pretty impressive but a tremendous effort is put forth to insure safety, as much as can be done. As to why? Well, you've got to have the willingness and the spirit of adventure to try and frankly, if you don't have that, why are you taking up the previous air the rest of us want to breath? JK LOL
Well, it's funny that you mention air... I LOVE speed but I know that the only way to go REALLY FAST is to fly. My screen name is "Avro Arrow" and has been since 1992 (started with my BBS back in those days). Most people outside of Canada don't know what "Avro Arrow" means. It's a stunning interceptor that was made back in 1957. It was so ahead of its time that it doesn't even really look dated today:

And boy, could she fly, and she could fly FAST! As a prank, one of the test pilots flew across Lake Ontario and buzzed the USAF base at Buffalo, NY. The people there had never seen ANYTHING like the Arrow before and thought that they were under alien attack or something (remember, it was 1957) and scrambled their Sabres to intercept it. By the time the first F-86 had left the ground, the Arrow was already back on the other side of Lake Ontario and getting ready to land. The Arrow could break the sound barrier effortlessly so it didn't even matter if the Sabres got up in time, they didn't have the speed, range or service ceiling to threaten the Arrow.

So yeah, don't get me wrong, I ADORE speed. I just don't understand the point of being the fastest "on the ground". I wanna see Mach 8 hypersonic baby! :p
 
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Nobina

Posts: 2,722   +2,369
I sometimes wonder what the point of the land speed record is. It's expensive, dangerous, and at the end of they day, all it does is give people something to talk about. I'm never going to buy this thing (and I'm pretty sure that nobody else here will either) so, while it's cool to look at the cars, I'm not all that worried about it. Let's be honest, how many "world records" do we have that are actually fake? Probably a good number of them. LOL
That's what setting records is all about, chasing numbers and pushing the limit. It must be exciting for people involved.

So yeah, don't get me wrong, I ADORE speed. I just don't understand the point of being the fastest "on the ground". I wanna see Mach 8 hypersonic baby! :p
Do you even feel speed so high up in the air?
 

Morphine Child

Posts: 78   +90
Nothing will ever beat James May chasing the speed limit in a Veyron. Simple, honest run that set the record that was thrashed off camera on the same day by Bugatti test driver if my memory serves me.
 
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Athlonite

Posts: 178   +55
I'm of the opinion that the speedo was correct and the GPS data was out ie: reading higher so they chose to use it's data rather than the accurate data from the speedo
 

Athlonite

Posts: 178   +55
I though I heard the speedo only went up to 300, so *if* they got higher than that it would have been wrong regardless.
Beats me, I mean why would you build a car capable of more than 300 and have the speedo top out at less and seeing as it's digital showing speeds more than 300 is possible