When the $3 million Bugatti Chiron launched a few years ago, we all marveled at how slow it was. With an electronically limited top speed of 261 mph, it didn’t seem capable of matching its predecessor the Veyron Super Sport, which hit a Guinness-certified 267.8 mph record in 2013. It seemed like such a disappointment for the world’s petrostate oligarchs. Where are your bragging rights supposed to come from?
But now, Bugatti may be back on top in terms of speed, and in such a way that the Chiron has totally crushed its older brother. The automaker confirmed today that a speed run on Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany led to an official 304.773 mph speed last month.
That’s fast! That’s very fast.
The news was broken in an exclusive by Top Gear, which said the run happened on August 2 with driver Andy Wallace at the wheel. The speed was certified by the TÜV, Germany’s Technical Inspection Association, and that means it’s vastly outpaced runs from SSC, Koenigsegg and other go-fast companies.
A standard Chiron is a speed monster, with its quad-turbocharged W16 putting out 1,479 horsepower. But this record car has had some work done, according to Top Gear. The folks at Dallara, who make its chassis, removed the rear wing and air brake for a static unit with more downforce. It is longer and lower overall. The exhaust was modified and moved as well. Additionally, passenger seat was removed and a roll cage was fitted, which is something you want if shit goes wrong approaching 300 mph.
But the biggest question to me was the tires. Jokes aside, the Chiron always seemed capable of surpassing its predecessor from an engine standpoint, and even from a chassis one. Could any tires handle 300 mph?
Well, Car and Driver wondered that too, and it turns out this thing used a custom set of Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires for the job. Here’s what driver Wallace told the magazine:
“Inside the tires you’ve got these thin metal strands that go radially around the edge and which are sort of equidistant from each other,” Wallace explained, when C/D spoke to him after the record run. “On quite a lot of tires there are one or two spots where these strands touch. It’s not normally a problem, certainly not at the mandated speed limit, but when you start to go really fast with the huge gravitational force it’s possible to get movement there, and temperature.”
So the Chiron in question isn’t “stock”, per se. It’s still a hugely impressive feat, and represents a big jump over what the Veyron could do. Top Gear intimates this car will likely lead to a production Super Sport version of the Chiron, like before, so you and your billionaire friends can all have a grand time trying to hit 300 mph out somewhere.
We’ll see what Christian von Koenigsegg has to say about all this soon, I’m sure.
Here’s the onboard: