SSC Tuatara Surpasses Own Top Speed Record – Designed by Saab’s Designer

SSC Tuatara Surpasses Own Top Speed Record

If you haven’t followed the developments in the world of hyper-cars, you should know that the new speed champion in the “World’s Fastest Production Car” class is SSC Tuatara – a car created by the former great Saab’s head of design Jason Castriota. This speed record was broken in October 2020, but it is certainly an interesting story behind this feat. The brain behind the hypercar is Saab’s former design manager Jason Castriota.

Then, on State Route 160 near Las Vegas, American driver Oliver Webb had enough courage and confidence in the car to dethrone Koenigsegg Ager RS, which entered the speed record books on the same section of road in 2017 with an average of 412.22 km/h. After breaking this record, the same company “SSC North America” with the same car broke its own record again in January last year.

SSC Tuatara and the team that set the latest speed record
SSC Tuatara and the team that set the latest speed record

New Record – Tuatara Surpasses Own Top Speed Record, Hits 295 MPH

Just yesterday, this American company announced that it had set a new record, which was set on May 14.

American hypercar collector and Tuatara customer Larry Caplin piloted his SSC Tuatara with Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds at Space Florida’s LLF, Kennedy Space Center Merritt, Florida on May 14th, 2022, where he previously broke the speed record for world’s fastest production vehicle on the 2.3 mile stretch of runway.

SSC Tuatara interior
SSC Tuatara interior

A top speed of 295.0 mph (474.8 km/h) was recorded by data and performance logging firm Racelogic with dual VBOX GNSS systems onboard the Tuatara, as well as a Life Racing GPS unit for additional data acquisition. Present during the top speed run was Racelogic technician Mitchell Townsend and independent analyst Robert Mitchell, ensuring extra levels of transparency and validation measures that SSC North America has integrated into its testing process.

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Apparently, this record will be broken very soon, because the team points out that this hypercar has more reserve power for better achievements. All the data and imagery has given team a clear picture that the limiting factor wasn’t the car, but the fact that we ran out of runway.

Saab’s Legacy in the Hypercar

Almost anyone can come up with a great engine with crazy power – but the SSC Tuatara is much more than that.

2018 SSC Tuatara by Castriota Design
2018 SSC Tuatara by Castriota Design

With a drag coefficient of 0.279, the car cuts off airflow and minimizes air resistance. Behind the shape of SSC Tuatare stands Saab’s former design manager Jason Castriota. It was his experience from working on Saab PhoeniX prototype, as well as other cars, that enabled this designer to create such a good and aerodynamic shape.

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Aerodynamics first and foremost

On this hypercar, we see some design hints from the PhoeniX concept. On the rear fenders are two small wings that stabilize the car and allow it to be maneuvered at extreme speeds. Large air intakes on the sides ensure that the turbochargers get the right cooling without slowing down the air flow too much.

Designed in partnership with world-renowned designer Jason Castriota of Castriota Design, the Tuatara’s design achieved an all-time production-hypercar best coefficient of drag of 0.279. From 150 – 295 mph, the car maintained a perfect aerodynamic balance of 37% front and 63% rear, ensuring precision downforce across all four wheels. The progressive aerodynamics are achieved through an active wing system that provides variable control surface profiles to maximize speed and dynamic performance.

Commitment to performance in every detail

The bespoke twin-turbo engine produces 1,750 horsepower on E85 or Methanol, and 1,350 horsepower on 91 Octane. That power is transferred to a CIMA 7-Speed electronically controlled transmission working in unison with a state-of-the-art Automac AMT system that actuates operations, automatic clutch management, and active aerodynamics.

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The power ratio is an incredible 700 grams per horsepower thanks to the car weighing only 1247 kg. To save weight, both the chassis and the flat body are made of carbon fiber laminate. Additional weight is saved by the fact that the rims are also cast in carbon fiber.


The car was driven on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, the same tire used for SSC’s customer cars. After thoroughly testing the tires, SSC was able to establish that they held for higher speeds than they were approved for. The same tire was used all day during the record trials. However, the tires were inflated with nitrogen instead of air to raise the tire pressure.

The ardent entrepreneur and zealot behind SSC Tuatara is Jerod Shelby, who founded his company after being inspired by Koenigsegg and Pagani. For over ten years he has fought to break the record.

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Goran Aničić
the authorGoran Aničić
For over 10 years, Goran Aničić has been passionately focused on Saab automobiles and everything related to them. His initial encounter with Saab cars took place back in 2003 when the first Saab 9-3 and sedan version were introduced. At that moment, he was captivated by the car's Scandinavian design logic and top-notch engineering, and everything that followed stemmed from that first encounter. Later on, through his work at the editorial team of the Serbian automotive magazines "Autostart" and later "AutoBild," he had the opportunity to engage more closely with Saab vehicles. In 2008, he tested the latest Saab cars of that time, such as the Saab 9-3 TTiD Aero and Saab 9-3 Turbo X. In 2010, as the sole blogger from the region, he participated in the Saab 9-5ng presentation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Alongside journalists from around the world, he got a firsthand experience of the pinnacle of technological offerings from Saab at that time. Currently, Goran owns two Saabs: a 2008 Saab 9-3 Vector Sportcombi with a manual transmission, and a Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin Sport Sedan from the last generation, which rolled off the production line in Trollhättan in December 2011.

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