The rear-wheel drive Tuatara is powered by a 5.9l twin-turbo V8 engine with up to 1,300kW of power. Picture: SUPPLIED
The rear-wheel drive Tuatara is powered by a 5.9l twin-turbo V8 engine with up to 1,300kW of power. Picture: SUPPLIED

The SSC Tuatara has become the world’s fastest production car, setting a record top speed of 455.3km/h.

Driven by its owner, Dr Larry Caplin, the American sport scar set the record on January 17 at the Johnny Bohnmer Grounds at Space Florida’s Shuttle Landing Facility in the US, beating the previous record of 447.2km/h set by the Swedish-built Koenigsegg Agera RS in 2017.

A Bugatti Chiron Supersport achieved 490.48km/h on a German test track in 2019, but it was a single-direction run that didn’t count as an official record.

In October 2019, the Tuatara had set a two-way average of 508.7km/h but there was controversy about how it was measured, which prompted SSC CEO Jerod Shelby to return for another try, and this time the car was fitted with multiple satellite tracking systems to ensure the runs were properly validated.

The car hit 450.1km/h in a northerly direction, and 460.4km/h on its return run to record the 455.3km/h average.

The rear-wheel drive Tuatara is powered by a 5.9l twin-turbo V8 engine with up to 1,007kW of power on 91 octane petrol and as much as 1,305kW on E85 petrol-ethanol blend.

Caplin and the Tuatara reached the top speed of 460.4km/h in a distance of just 3km.

The Tuatara is named after the reptile, endemic to New Zealand, which has a rate of molecular evolution that is among the fastest of any animal.


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