On February 7, the 2020 SSC Tuatara hypercar was finally unveiled at the Philadelphia Auto Show. This revolutionary car pushes the boundaries of automotive engineering on various fronts. The development of the vehicle began in 2009 under the code name “Exceed.” with the goal of being the successor to the SSC Ultimate Aero.
The power plant of the car received a lot of attention from the engineering team. To create it, the SSC North America team worked with Tom Nelson of Nelson Racing Engines. They came up with many unique engineering innovations such as a flat plane crank configuration and a groundbreaking air intake system.
Under the hood, the car is fitted with an SSC Twin Turbo V8 engine that delivers an incredible 1,350 horsepower with 91 octane. This can be boosted to 1,750 horsepower with E85. The engine is mated with a CIMA 7 speed transmission, that is integrated with an AMT system. This results in sub-100-millisecond shifting when in Track Mode.
The aerodynamics and body of the hypercar were designed in partnership with Jason Castriota, who is no stranger in the car design world. He has been involved in the design of many cars from some of the most popular brands, including Ferrari and Maserati. The resulting design of the Tuatara is a truly unique and artful car. It has a drag coefficient of 0.279 while also being able to maintain aerodynamic balance from 100mph to over 300mph.
Under the carbon-fiber exterior of the car is a carbon-fiber monocoque designed to be durable, safe, and aesthetic while maintaining top performance. This monocoque brings all the sub-assemblies together while helping to contour the shape of the cockpit. The frame is made purely of carbon fiber to keep it light and safe.
With all the engineering feats it could achieve, the SSC North America team wanted to ensure drivers could access all of these capabilities at the touch of a button. This automation allows drivers to completely alter the handling, acceleration, shifting, ride height, and general drivability. The car comes in three modes, which are the Sport Mode, Track Mode, and Front Lift mode. In the Front Lift Mode, drivers can lift the front suspension an extra 40mm, which allows better clearance over speed pumps and other raised surfaces.