Why The SSC Tuatara’s 331 MPH Speed Record Is Being Questioned

The latest world record set by the SSC Tuatara is causing controversy across the internet. Some are saying the numbers were reported inaccurately.

The Tuatara ran 331.15 mph in its fastest run in one direction and 301.07 mph in its second-fastest run in the opposite direction, which is required for top speed records. That is how the average top speed of 316.11 mph was figured and made the Tuatara the fastest production car.

The speed was recorded by a Dewetron GPS measurement instrument which is the same tools used by others attempting top speed records. There were also two independent officials were on-site as witnesses to the run.

All sounds correct until a group of YouTube and internet investigators dug up ome inconsistencies with the video. To do this, they used the same stretch of road that Koenigsegg ran the Agera RS’s top speed on which is outside Pahrump, Nevada, to compare the two runs.

On the same road, they used landmarks to track the distance and time elapsed in the video between each landmark to track a rough average speed estimate. That information compared to the telemetry data that SSC has overlaid on its video is what raised questions. Several YouTubers did the math for you if you’re curious exactly how they came to that conclusion. Basically, the data and footage provided don’t add up.

The writers at Jalopnik reached out to the PR firm working for SSC, which confirmed that there is, in fact, an issue with the video and the description.

Dewetron (the GPS manufacturer) released a statement confirming the company hadn’t examined the specific data, but that SSC did indeed use the company’s recording system for the testing. The Dewetron statement is below.

“Despite the information published on the website of SSC North America as well as on several related and non-related YouTube channels, DEWETRON did not validate any data from world record attempts or preceding tests. Nobody of DEWETRON’s employees was present during the test drive or involved in the associated preparations. Since the results of measurement data highly rely on the right setup, on the regular calibration of the systems and sensors in use as well as on many other parameters, we are not able to guarantee the accuracy or correctness of the outcome. As of this moment, DEWETRON did not receive the measurement file of the test drive. As a result of the absence during the test drive paired with the missing data, DEWETRON is not able to make any further statements about the world record attempt under question.

“However, DEWETRON knows that SSC uses the company’s test and measurement system–just like many other customers worldwide. As a part of DEWETRON’s customer service, we deliver all our systems with extensive training for future users. In the case of SSC, this happened remotely. Nevertheless, this training only includes the general use of the system, the software as well as the initial configuration.The training does not include the creation of any setup related to any given test. DEWETRON is a manufacturer of DAQ systems–the correct use underlies its customers. This means that our customers are responsible for all test setups including this one.”

Everyone questioning the record has come to the conclusion that something just doesn’t add up. Jerod Shelby, released a statement to clear things up and said that the discrepancy came from a simple editing mistake.

The good news: we did it, and the numbers are indeed on our side. The bad news: only after the fact did we realize that the depiction of the speed run, in video form, had been substantially incorrect.

The statement is quite thorough and states all the numbers and data used if you want to check it out. So as of now, it’s chalked up to an editing error and the record stands.

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