Bugatti has become the first manufacturer to break the 300mph barrier with a near-production vehicle after recording an astonishing 304.77mph run with a modified Chiron.
British driver Andy Wallace – who was part of the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Jaguar XJR-9 team – recorded the highest Vmax ever for a road-going hypercar at VW’s Ehra-Lessien testing facility last month.
The track’s straight is nine kilometres (5.6 miles) long, allowing Wallace to stretch the legs of the reworked, pre-production, near-1600bhp Chiron. Wallace’s benchmark eclipses the 284.55mph achieved by a Koenigsegg Agera RS back in 2017.
Bugatti has worked with Dallara and Michelin on the project, and to achieve the top speed the group made some key tweaks to the Chiron. The car’s length was extended by 25cm to essentially make it a ‘long-tail’, and laser-controlled ride height fitted. The rear wing and trademark airbrake were also removed a replaced with a static, sculpted version, and the quadruple exhausts were reworked into a redesigned rear diffuser.
The eight-litre quad-turbo W16 engine was also tuned up to 1578bhp, although it retained a standard gearbox and four-wheel drive. The design is a forerunner to a full production Chiron SuperSport 300+ model, costing around £3.1million.
Stephan Winkelmann, Bugatti’s president, said the record was a big feather in the cap for the brand, before adding that it would likely be its last speed attempt.
“Bugatti has entered previously uncharted territory with this Chiron,” he said. “We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world. In future we will focus on other areas.”
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