The 5.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine powering the SSC Tuatara is a work of art and the niche car manufacturer has shared some information about the powertrain’s intake system that helps make it such a weapon.
First, the stats. The engine, built with Nelson Racing Engines, has a 8.8:1 compression ratio and revs through to 8,800 rpm. Running on 91 octane fuel, it is good for 1,350 hp and on E85 ethanol, it churns out an extraordinary 1,750 hp.
A huge amount of work was put into perfecting the engine’s intake system because without enough air going into the engine, you’re obviously not going to have much power to play with. For starters, the engine features dual throttle bodies for excellent throttle response and also has expertly-designed intake runners and precisely positioned injectors to fine-tune the powerband and acceleration.
Also key to the engine’s power and efficiency are the two heat exchangers it uses that are independently dedicated to water and air cooling systems. This design ensures the air gulped down by the engine is cool and can be used for extended periods of track and top speed driving or during stop-and-go scenarios in hot environments.
Thanks to the huge grunt of the engine, SSC says the Tuatara can rocket to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 2.5 seconds, a very impressive figure when you consider the car is rear-wheel drive and has enough power to spin the earth. SSC is confident the Tuatara can eclipse 300 mph (482 km/h) but it remains unclear if it will actually attempt a top speed run.