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The Name of the Game is Speed

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What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven your production vehicle? Asking this question of this crowd, I’m probably safe in assuming it’s pretty damn fast! In college, on my way home from Albany, NY to Rochester, NY, I did 125 mph on I-90. Let me tell you, in my 2003 Honda Accord, I had blurred vision. I also didn’t want to press my luck with cops or with the car being able to go much faster!

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I also did 135 mph in a Ferrari 488, but that was on Speed Vegas’ road course, and it felt a whole heck of a lot better than my Honda! The reason I ask is because the SSC Tuatara recently broke the top speed record for fastest production vehicle – not on a closed course – but on a public street. The Tuatara is now the fastest production car on Earth, beating out the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ by nearly 12 mph.

The record was set back on November 10 on a seven-mile stretch of Nevada’s State Route 10, outside of Las Vegas. It’s the same place where Koenigsegg set its 277.9-mph top speed record back in November 2017. Unlike Bugatti, which only recorded speed in one direction, SSC ran in both directions consecutively to account for wind resistance, setting speeds of 301.07 mph and 331.15 mph, calculating to an average of 316.11 mph.

In addition to the production car top speed record, the Tuatara also set records for the fastest flying mile on a public road (313.12 mph), fastest flying kilometer on a public road (517.16 km/h), and highest speed achieved on a public road (331.15 mph).

If I thought I was going fast in my Honda, try imagining going 331 mph on a regular street!!! I frankly can’t, and driver Oliver Webb reportedly said he thought he could have gone faster if not for the crosswind.

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Helping the SSC Tuatara achieve these speeds is a mid-engine 5.9L twin-turbo V8 making 1,750 horsepower on E85 fuel. Nelson Racing Engines’ mirror image turbos were a large factor in helping power the SSC to the record. It also doesn’t hurt that the car weighs just 2,750 lbs. thanks to carbon fiber bodywork and has a drag coefficient of just 0.279. 

In fact, this isn’t the first time an SSC-built car has set the production car top speed record. Back in 2007, the SSC Ultimate Aero became the fastest production car on Earth after it was clocked at an average speed of 256.14 mph on a closed two-lane road in Washington, beating the then king of speed, Bugatti Veyron.

These kinds of records are only achievable thanks to folks like all of you who keep pushing the limits of engines, components and machining tolerances and capabilities. Which brings us to the heart of this issue all about machining. Enjoy!  EB

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