At the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, SSC (formerly Shelby Super Cars) unveiled its newest hypercar, the Tuatara that will take on top-rung carmakers like Bugatti and Koenigsegg.
The battle for the top spot is on. Following the end of production of the Ultimate Aero, SSC North America is back with its successor. The concept Tuatara first broke cover at the 2011 Dubai International Motor Show and was titled the “Crown Jewel” of the event. Eight long years later, it will finally taste tarmac. Interestingly, it was, and is, named after a small reptile endemic to New Zealand. Irony, as you are about to find out.
The 2019 SSC Tuatara uses a twin-turbocharged 5.9-litre V8 capable of redlining at 8,800RPM. It’s mid-mounted on the carbon fibre chassis, providing optimum weight distribution. The V8 features dual injectors per cylinder. Calibrated for 91 octane fuel, the Tuatara produces 1,350hp. However, replace regular fuel with E85 flex fuel, and the Tuatara will belt out 1,750hp. That’s more than the Bugatti Chiron, and more than both the Koenigsegg Regera and Agera RS.
The power is sent to the rear wheels by a ‘computerised manual’ seven-speed gearbox. SSC hasn’t revealed any performance stats yet except the power output. However, the Tuatara is insanely light. Thanks to the carbon chassis as well as the carbon fibre bodywork, SSC claims the hypercar weighs in at 1,247kg dry and free of all fluids. That is lighter than the lightest Bugatti Chiron-based Divo. And of course, lower than the Koenigsegg One:1. Rivals must indeed take dietary advice for their hypercars from SSC.
SSC has also made the Tuatara as minimalistic as possible while maintaining a purposeful, fetching design. The result of the aero-focused design is that this American hypercar boasts the lowest drag coefficient of its competitors at 0.279. That makes it more slippery than the Chiron, Agera, and the Hennessey Venom F5.
Now you have all the stats, you can begin to see what sort of destruction the 2019 SSC Tuatara can lay on any strip of tarmac in the world. A car which makes 18 per cent more power than the Chiron while being 36% lighter ought to have some serious pace, right? The game of hypercars is heating up fast, and the previous benchmark has a lot to measure up to.