SSC to re-run top speed record attempt | Top Gear
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SSC to re-run top speed record attempt

Jerod Shelby doubts the relationship between video and the GPS data so the Tuatara will try again

Published: 31 Oct 2020
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Last night SSC’s CEO Jerod Shelby posted a personal statement on YouTube stating that the Tuatara will be making another attempt on the production car speed record.

Clearly something has gone very wrong. In his statement he said: “We immediately requested the video files – we hadn’t possessed any of them yet – and we got our hands on a couple of them and the first couple from the same run, we all of a sudden were seeing the same doubts. We were seeing different speeds for the very same run. And the more we looked and the more we tried to analyse the more we were concerned there were doubts in the relationship between the video and the GPS.”

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Although Shelby doesn’t say it in as many words, it looks highly likely that the Dewetron GPS sensors were incorrectly calibrated by SSC’s engineers. As a reflection on that, Shelby states that when they do rerun the record, “we need to make sure we have multiple GPS companies' equipment in the car. I want to make sure that we have their staff on-site looking over our shoulders and analysing every run, every detail of this".

When will this happen? In the very near future, claims Shelby. It’s obviously in his interest to get this situation put behind him as soon as possible.

Will it go as fast next time out? The internet's analysis suggested it was doing somewhere around 280mph, rather than 330mph. Who knows, although it’s worth pointing out that in the original film it was still hauling hard at the end of the run, and the driver – Oli Webb – had one more gear to left to go. That by itself is indicative that there was more to come, as well as being a warning sign that all may not have been as it seemed. Speed has never been that easily accrued at such velocities.

It’s interesting to note that Shelby made no attempt to justify the current record attempt based on the third piece of the puzzle: the Tuatara’s gearing and revs. It would have been a weak leg to stand on.

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Naturally, we’ll be keeping you informed of the latest developments and, Covid permitting, will be in attendance when the Tuatara runs again.

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