You may remember that some time ago I posted up a video concerning the SSC Tuatara‘s epic 331mph record-breaking speed run. Actually, I’m not sure what the true speed was, because SSC claims that the Tuatara can hit 331mph, but the average speed on both runs – forward and back – was 316mph.
Well, some intrepid boffins decided to check on whether that’s what actually happened, and according to them… it didn’t:
It’s all very scientific, mathematical, and data-oriented analysis. There is simply no getting away from a hard mathematical fact:
Given the fact that the calculated distance is 1.44 miles (gah imperial units *eyecross*), and the time taken to cover that distance in the video evidence is 24 seconds, dividing 1.44 by 24 gives you 0.06 miles per second.
There are 3,600 seconds in an hour. So multiply 0.06 by 3,600 and you get… 216mph.
In other words, the average speed of the car over that section of road was incontrovertibly 216mph, based on the evidence given by SSC and Top Gear themselves. Yet both SSC and the Bullshit Broadcasting Corporation claim that the car hit 331mph during that run, over that precise stretch of road, and the speedo never dipped below 290mph or thereabouts.
It doesn’t take a man with two degrees in mathematics (like me) to figure out that something doesn’t add up.
Now I’m NOT saying that SSC or Top Gear or the BBC or whatever are lying about the top speed achieved. (Well… Top Gear, without Jezza, Hamster, and Captain Slow IS NOT Top Gear to begin with, so…)
But the mathematics are absolutely clear. There is simply NO WAY that the Tuatara did that run at that speed.
Three guys did the analysis in two different videos. That video up above is the second of those analyses. All three of them then got together and discussed their findings, and the results make for very compelling viewing:
Now, the people at SSC – specifically, Jerod Shelby – could have responded with anger and indignation at being questioned. They could have gone on a full press offensive – and in fact they did, at first. Perhaps they could have threatened to sue the three YouTubers who picked apart the footage for being asshats, or whatever.
But they avoided going too far down that path. Jerod Shelby acted as a man should. He issued a statement clearly owning up to the problems with that speed run and admitting that he saw exactly the same doubts that other people did when they saw the video:
That was a carefully worded masterclass in taking ownership and responsibility for what could otherwise have proven to be an absolute PR nightmare. In fact, this controversy already is proving to be a huge problem for SSC. They aren’t a very big company and a number of their hypercar customers are severely pissed off at them for possibly falsifying their speed run.
(I am NOT saying that they did falsify the run. I am simply pointing out that the results of their speed run LOOK very screwy. That doesn’t mean that SSC, themselves, actually did anything deliberately wrong or misled anyone.)
This, gentlemen, is how you take responsibility for stuff that goes wrong. You own it and understand very clearly that you, and YOU ALONE, must take steps to fix things.
If you do not do this, then you alone are at fault for the resultant loss of trust and faith in yourself, your product, and your brand.
I do hope that Jerod Shelby and his team can, in fact, crack 313mph with that car. Based on the evidence, though, I seriously doubt that they have achieved something that thus far only the Koenigsegg Jesko or the Bugatti Chiron appear to be even remotely capable of achieving.
That level of speed is simply mind-boggling. When the Bugatti Chiron did its (unofficial) 304.77mph trip around Ehra-Lessien to set the bar for every other hypercar to reach, they had to do so under incredibly specific conditions. The air temperature, pressure, and humidity all had to be exactly right. The car had to be specifically setup for that run – the actual vehicle that made the run is not, strictly speaking, a production model, but is rather a specially designed one-off just for the job. And the VW proving-grounds at Ehra-Lessien provide one of the only places anywhere in the ENTIRE WORLD where you can actually crank a car up to those kinds of insane speeds.
Yet SSC would have you believe that they did this along a road in the desert with nothing more than a production-model Tuatara?
Yeah… something doesn’t quite sit right with me about that.
Again, I am NOT claiming that SSC did anything wrong or untoward. I’m just saying that the numbers don’t add up and the logic doesn’t tie out.
Coming back to Jerod Shelby’s statement – that is how you take ownership and lead from the front. This is a template of masculine behaviour that you must embrace if you are ever in doubt about what is easy versus what is right.
Plenty of idiots will argue that SSC deliberately misled their fans. After watching Mr. Shelby’s statement, I cannot agree with them and I’m willing to give him and his company the benefit of the doubt. Let them redo the speed run with full independent verification. Let’s find out what the Tuatara can really do, free of all doubt and negativity.
We already know that the SSC Tuatara can beat a Bugatti Veyron in a drag race. It is an absolutely incredible machine. Let’s see what it can REALLY do, absent any controversy or doubt.
If they break the Bugatti Chiron’s record, for real this time, then I suspect that the folks at Bugatti will be the very first to congratulate them – because when you give respect and honour to those that you compete with, and they are themselves respectful and honourable, then what you give will be returned to you an hundredfold.