SSC Ultimate Aero II Steps Out of the Shadows, Aims to Make Bugatti Engineers’ Lives Miserable

2011 SSC Ultimate Aero II side view

We Americans have a long, proud history of taking on the world’s best and handing them defeat, even when the odds are against us. The 1980 Winter Olympics hockey final, the Revolutionary War, the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix…all great examples of preparation, grit and determination defeating truly mighty foes. Shelby Supercars is another such story; its Ultimate Aero managed to usurp the title of “fastest street legal production car” from the much hearalded Bugatti Veyron.

Unfortunately for Jerod (no relation to Carroll) Shelby and crew, Bugatti decided to up the ante earlier this year with the more powerful, more exclusive and, oh by the way, more expensive Veyron Super Sports. Trouble is, SSC was already hard at work on a car that just so happens to be capable (at least on paper) of wrestling the crown back from Bugatti. And that car – the Ultimate Aero II seen here – uses a philosophy that’s fundamentally the same as that of their Franco-Germanic rival, yet different. Wha?

2011 SSC Ultimate Aero II front 3/4 view

One of the similarities in strategy lies in the decision to add power, more than even the Super Sports, in fact. However, SSC plans to do so with significantly less engine: a 6.8L twin-turbo V8 generating 1,350hp versus the Bug’s 8.0L quad-turbo W16 yielding 1,200hp. The Ultimate Aero II’s V8 is also expected to rev up to 9,000 rpm. Suffice to say, we’re getting all tingly just typing those figures.

Another similarity is the utilization of a wind-cheating exterior design. Penned by American Jason Castriota before he was tabbed by now Spyker-owned Saab to help lead (what we and many others hope will be) that company’s rennaissance, the Ultimate Aero II strikes a sharp contrast with the original’s blunt, somewhat crude lines and details (First gen Focus headlights? Fer reals?!). This new creation features flowing, unmistakably contemporary forms, capped by a pair of small stabilizer fins (rather than a conventional spoiler) at the rear. While we’ll wait to see it from all angles to pass final judgement, we like what we see so far.

2011 SSC Ultimate Aero II rear 3/4 view

But it’s the stuff we won’t be able to see that sets the Ultimate Aero II apart from its European foe…unless you put it on a scale, that is. The moncoque, other than some aluminum reinforcements, is carbon fiber. Ditto the production-car-first one-piece wheels, which are expected to come in at under 13 lb. each! The target curb weight for the whole shebang is around 2,600 lb., a number that gives it a power-to-weight ratio almost double that of the standard Veyron. Sweet Jesus eating a corndog.

2011 SSC Ultimate Aero II rear view

Of course, all these attributes are irrelevant if it can’t knock the new cock-o-the-walk off its perch, but if the SSC lab rats got their math right, it most certainly will. The Veyron Super Sport set the mark at 268 mph and change; the Ultimate Aero II is expected to hit 275 mph. If that number doesn’t knock you out of your chair, let’s try this one: $970,000. That’s the estimated price for an Ultimate Aero II, and less than half the MSRP for a Veyron Super Sport. Do you believe in miracles? We’re awfully tempted to start.

Source: Top Gear via SSC

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