255.83 mph: SSC Ultimate Aero Breaks Speed Record
Source: SSC | Published: September 17, 2007
Shelby Supercars (SSC), manufacturer of the ultra high-performance Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo, set the new "World’s Fastest Production Car" record with an average top speed of 255.83 mph. Confident of the 1183 bhp vehicle’s abilities, SSC set out to validate their top speed claim in accordance with the strict guidelines set by Guinness World Records. Among other requirements, in order to meet Guinness’ approval, a vehicle testing for the top speed record must drive down the course, turn around, and make a second pass in the opposite direction within one hour. The vehicle’s official “top speed” is calculated by averaging the top speeds of each pass in order to negate any favorable road or weather conditions. In September 2007, on a temporarily-closed 2 lane stretch of public highway in Washington State, the Ultimate Aero posted a top speed of 257.11 mph (413.83 km/h) on its first pass and 254.55 mph (409.71 km/h) on its return pass, yielding a new top speed record: a staggering 255.83 mph (411.76 km/h). The data, collected by Dewetron's world-renowned GPS tracking system, will be verified by Guinness before the Ultimate Aero is officially crowned the "World's Fastest Production Car." This breaks the current official record held by the Koenigsegg CCR at 242 mph by 11.83 mph and the Bugatti Veyron's unofficial speed of 253 mph by 3.11 mph.
SSC’s high-speed durability and aerodynamic test runs started in March on a 12-mile stretch of Highway 93 in Elko County, Nevada. After the scouting team discovered a more appropriate test site testing moved to open roads in SSC’s home state of Washington. Unlike these previous tests, which encompassed various durability trials of the Ultimate Aero’s drivetrain and powertrain, the record-braking session was dedicated solely to determining the vehicle’s top speed capabilities. A recently repaved two-lane section of Highway 221 in Washington was ultimately selected for the task, though navigating the road’s slight elevation changes and mid-way S-bend proved to be a challenge. Test driver Chuck Bigelow, 71 of Richland, WA, had to pass through the S-bend at a minimum of 210 mph in order to attain record speed during the following straightaway (with only 1.5 miles before braking was required); after the record-breaking run, Bigelow stated "if there was additional straight pavement on which to accelerate, the top speed would have been considerably higher and if anyone challenges your record there is tons left on the table".