Shelby SuperCars' (SSC) Ultimate Aero was officially named the Fastest Production Car today by the Guinness Book of World Records. It's the first American-made car to hold the title since the Ford GT40 in 1967.
The 71-year-old driver of the Ultimate Aero, Chuck Bigelow, reached an average top speed of 256.19 miles per hour on two passes--one in each direction--on a two-lane road in rural Washington state. It broke the current official record held by the Koenigsegg CCR by 15.09 miles per hour, and the Bugatti Veyron's unofficial speed by 3.63 miles per hour. And although the Ultimate Aero broke the record, the SSC folks said the car has the potential to go even faster. Langley Full Scale Wind Tunnel testing calculates the vehicle to be aerodynamically stable at speeds of up to 273 miles per hour.
In order for a Guinness hopeful to contend in the "production car" category, the car must use pump gas and conform to all DOT/EPA regulations, including those for emissions and safety.
The Ultimate Aero uses a proprietary, twin-turbo V8 that produces 1183 bhp and 1094 foot-pounds of torque, with a drag coefficient of .357. The car is fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires, which, according to SSC testers, show little signs of wear at speeds from 200 to 257 miles per hour on public roads.
SSC is also hoping the Ultimate Aero will set the Guinness World Record for the production car with the most horespower.