The company says it will “focus on other areas” in the future.
Bugatti has slugged it out with other hypercar manufacturers to hang onto its “fastest car in the world” title. The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport impressed with its 267.856 mph top speed a few years ago. At the time, that made it the world’s fastest street-legal production car. Just recently, though, a pre-production version of an upcoming Bugatti Chiron just broke the glass ceiling, and topped 300 mph. Right now, this Chiron holds the crown at 304.773 mph (490.484 km/h), with test driver and Le Mans winner Andy Wallace at the wheel. As with the Veyron, the Chiron took to the test track at Ehra-Lessein in Lower Saxony, Germany.
Naturally, you don’t just get in the car and drive flat out at 305 mph. Wallace worked up to the achievement, incrementally increasing his speed through the runs to ensure the car could handle the extreme forces. “It was important for me to be out of the bend at 200 km/h in order to reach top speed on the straight. That required the very highest level of concentration,” he said. At top speed, he covered 136 meters — or 446 feet — every second.
Mind you, Wallace is obviously no stranger to speed. He’s also the man who set a speed record with the McLaren F1 back in 1998. Then, he drove the F1 up to 391 km/h, or 243 mph.
Preparing the top speed record
This pre-production Bugatti Chiron naturally packs a massively powerful, 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 engine. In the standard car, the engine pushes out nearly 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 lb-ft of torque. To that, the Bugatti team fitted specially-developed Michelin tires that could handle the immense speed. According to Bugatti’s release, the Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires fitted to this car were tested up to 511 km/h (or 317 mph). The team fitted fresh tires to the car directly before the record-breaking run.
Even seeing it on video, which you can do below, the numbers are hard to wrap your head around. 300 mph has long been a goal for production cars, and now we are officially here. So, now that history will remember Bugatti as the first brand to cross the barrier, what records will they achieve next?
As it turns out, the company will move away from speed records. “With this new world record, Bugatti will also withdraw from the competition to produce the fastest serial production cars,” Bugatti said in their release. President Stephan Winkelmann said that the company “will focus on other areas” in the future.