SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph, but fails to set new land speed record

The SSC Tuatara and Dr. Larry Caplin had been fairly probably on tempo to reset the production-vehicle land-speed document they themselves set, in keeping with SSC founder and CEO Jerod Shelby. It didn’t occur.

An error, which induced hesitation, value them their likelihood at breaking the 300-mph barrier throughout their most up-to-date run. However the automotive nonetheless went quicker than ever earlier than.

On Saturday, Might 14, over the course of two.3 miles at Florida’s Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, the SSC Tuatara hit 295 mph. That bested the 282.9-mph two-way common pace the Tuatara reached when it set the document in January, 2021.

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph throughout pace document try, Might 2022

The scene: Errors had been made

The Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds is a three-mile runway forming a part of Area Florida’s LLF positioned on the Kennedy Area Middle. The primary 1,000 ft of runway the crew used is asphalt that transitions to fifteen,000-feet of saw-cut concrete, which then transitions again to 1,000 ft of asphalt.

The braking zone is the final 3,800 usable ft, which implies it begins on concrete and transitions to asphalt. The transitions from the primary, and final, 1,000 ft of asphalt on the runway are about ¾ of an inch to an inch, which jars the automotive at pace.

To get extra space, and a rolling begin, the crew used an OSR—which stands for Oh Shit Street–that lead off the ends of the runway for planes to make use of in case they will’t cease on time. These bumpy asphalt roads aren’t maintained. SSC launched a video of the run, and you may see the Tuatara shifting up and down on the OSR. On the transition from the OSR to the primary 1,000 ft of asphalt runway there’s a few 1.5-inch step up and the automotive should straddle an in-ground runway mild.

Shelby’s crew arrange braking cones for each instructions, moderately than shifting the cones for every run as they might usually do. This alteration proved to be a mistake.

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph during speed record attempt, May 2022

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph throughout pace document try, Might 2022

The automotive: Tweaked and improved

The black Tuatara that hit 295 mph was the identical automotive that set the 282.9-mph production-vehicle land-speed document on the identical runway a yr in the past. However adjustments and refinements have been made to the powertrain, which resulted in a cleaner, extra highly effective, and extra dependable setup.

SSC refined {the electrical} system and moved the lithium-ion batteries to make sure the system might preserve excessive voltage; there could be no voltage drops throughout high-speed pulls from the alternator.

The crew additionally upgraded a number of suspension sub assemblies to deal with the stress of going full throttle for 40 to 45 seconds. All Tuataras will function the upgraded sub assemblies.

Tuatara engineers additionally designed a brand new exhaust system, not for energy (it provides perhaps 1 or 2 hp) however to vary the sound of the automotive’s 5.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 constructed by Nelson Racing. The tone change is because of the Z sample of the exhaust system, which mixes the exhaust from each side of the engine. The system provides about 4 lb of weight.

Whereas in addition they carried out higher venting for the crankcase, Shelby informed Motor Authority the one largest change to the Tuatara was the implementation of ten lab-quality oxygen sensors. The Tuatara now options one O2 sensor per cylinder plus two major sensors moderately than simply two major sensors. The crew needed to recalibrate the engine because of the new O2 sensor readings, which modified the motor’s timing and air-fuel ratio. The end result was barely extra energy. The Tuatara made 1,350 hp on 91-octane pump gasoline and as a lot as 1,750 hp on E85. It now makes a bit over 1,861 hp and 1,522 lb-ft of torque on methanol and E85, however the crew hasn’t dynoed the up to date powertrain on pump gasoline. The Tuatara ran methanol on Might 14.

Max enhance stays unchained at 27 lb. However the automotive is programmed to not method full enhance in gears 1 via 4. Extra enhance comes on in fifth gear, with gears 6 and seven beginning to push enhance into the 20 lb vary. Full energy and enhance are programmed to reach on the finish of sixth gear and into seventh gear. When the Tuatara hit 295 mph in seventh gear, full enhance was simply beginning to become visible.

A 7-speed automated handbook transmission in-built Italy by CIMA sends energy to the rear wheels. The automotive initially ran a 2.92 closing gear ratio, however that modified to a shorter 3.167 ratio after the primary document try in October 2020 to get extra pace in a shorter distance.

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph during speed record attempt, May 2022

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph throughout pace document try, Might 2022

Validation: Verified and tracked

To keep away from validation errors, the Tuatara was geared up with a number of satellite tv for pc monitoring gadgets, together with two Racelogic VBox GNSS programs and a Life Racing monitoring system.

Jim Lau, technical director for Racelogic North America, couldn’t be on-site for the Might pace run because of a scheduling battle. His Colleague, Mitchell Townsend, was current and represented Racelogic whereas Lau has inspected, validated, and introduced a letter confirming the info to MA.

Nürburgring taxi driver Robert Mitchell, who was current for the December 2020 and January 2021 pace runs, was additionally readily available to witness the Might run.

The info file has been independently checked and verified for MA by Eddie Nakato, founder and CEO, of AR Motorsports.

“All the info appears right. They did what they mentioned they did. I’ve no doubts,” Nakato informed MA.

Run 1: Hitting 295 mph

Dr. Larry Caplin, proprietor of the automotive used for the pace run, took off down the OSR headed north and hit the runway and the 1.5-inch transition at 47 mph. On the 1,000-foot mark, the place the asphalt runway turns to concrete, the Tuatara was touring at 130 mph.

“The transitions are fairly wild,” Nakato mentioned after watching the footage from the run.

As Caplin crossed into the braking zone he went for a cut up second longer than he ought to have and hit 295 mph earlier than lifting off the throttle. The speed of acceleration at 295 mph was nonetheless climbing shortly, in keeping with Shelby. Primarily based on the info, the crew believes it solely wanted about two extra seconds to hit 300 mph, however the automotive ran out of runway.

“Hitting that (pavement) transition (through the braking zone) at about 200 mph must be hair-raising at that pace,” Nakato informed MA.

The crew had an hour, most, earlier than it might make a second run in the other way to get the two-way common wanted for a brand new document.

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph during speed record attempt, May 2022

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph throughout pace document try, Might 2022

Run 2: By no means carry

Caplin took off for the second run headed north down the OSR. Shelby mentioned Caplin determined to begin farther down the OSR to attempt to purchase far to extend the Tuatara’s pace earlier than hitting the braking zone. That made the manager nervous. The aim was to hit the runway at about 60 mph and purchase an additional 10 mph of top-end pace.

This time, the Tuatara hit the 1.5-inch transition to the airstrip from the OSR at 81 mph, 34 mph quicker than the primary run.

On the 1,000-foot transition from asphalt to concrete on the runway, the Tuatara was going 146 mph in third gear, 16 mph quicker than the primary run.

“No street automotive I’ve seen pulls like that.” Townsend mentioned.

Then it went fallacious. Caplin lifted.

The primary run’s braking cones had been nonetheless in place. Caplin noticed the cones and momentarily lifted off the throttle as he hesitated within the title of security for the braking zone. It wasn’t.

In the meanwhile when Caplin lifted off the throttle the Tuatara was going 258 mph and two miles had been left earlier than the braking zone. The info indicated the automotive was on tempo to interrupt 300 mph, in keeping with Shelby. However Caplin misplaced momentum when he lifted, successfully killing the run.

Shelby shared the in-car video footage and Racelogic VBox information of the second run with MA, however is not going to launch it publicly. Caplin’s frustration with the position of the braking zone cones is obvious within the video.

After wanting via the info and pictures Nakato mentioned, “This automotive is silly quick.”

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph during speed record attempt, May 2022

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph throughout pace document try, Might 2022

Run it once more?

The crew didn’t get the possibility to run north once more as a result of the winds picked as much as 13 mph by the point the automotive was prepared.

Shelby mentioned the rule of thumb is it’s secure to run with wind speeds of 9 mph or much less.

Caplin pulled the plug and made the decision. The try was over.

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph during speed record attempt, May 2022

2021 SSC Tuatara hits 295 mph throughout pace document try, Might 2022

The crew is finished

Primarily based on the info introduced from these two runs Nakato informed MA, “Sure, this can be a 300-mph automotive.”

Shelby mentioned SSC is finished chasing pace information for now. The chief says he’s happy with how the automotive has carried out. It holds the pace document, and he now feels assured he can look a buyer within the eye and say the automotive’s able to 300-plus mph primarily based on the info. That was the aim, and for him it’s been achieved. Nonetheless, he mentioned he loses sleep over what might have been on that second run.

If two or three of SSC’s opponents had been prepared to fulfill up on a runway for a multi-car public pace run, Shelby could be in. “I believe it could be very clear and evident that this automotive is the quickest automotive on this planet,” Shelby proclaimed.

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