Bugatti has shattered the 300mph barrier setting a new top speed record of 304.773 mph (490.484 km/h). Even after claiming no interest in setting any speed records with the Chiron, a purpose-built pre-production Chiron Sport’s speed run is officially confirmed by Germany’s Technical Inspection Association (TÜV) at the Ehra-Lessien test track.
Le Mans winner and Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace reached the top speed of exactly 490.484kmph on August 2. Andy Wallace accelerated out of the north curve to 200kmph to reach top speed on the 8.8 kilometres straight. At a precisely defined braking point, he decelerated the Chiron back to 200kmph to drive through the south bend. He had a distance of two kilometres in which to do so. “I went at full throttle from the start for approximately 70 seconds. It was important for me to be out of the bend at 200kmph to reach top speed on the straight. That required the very highest level of concentration,” says the new record-holder. He managed to cover 136 metres in one second.
He worked his way up to the top speed from 300kmph in 50kmph increments to make sure all the conditions were right and the Chiron was optimally balanced in terms of lift and downforce. “An incredible speed. It’s inconceivable that a car would be capable of this. But the Chiron was well prepared and I felt very safe – even in these high-speed ranges. Even at the first attempt, I felt this would work. The Chiron ran perfectly and the track and weather conditions were ideal. The whole team did a fantastic job,” said Wallace, after the accomplishment.
For the record run, Bugatti took support from Italian race specialist Dallara as well as tyre manufacturer Michelin. The Michelin Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres high-speed tyres already used on the Chiron were reinforced, particularly the belts to handle the 5300 G, while still being street legal. With a rotation speed of up to 4,100 times in one minute, the tyres were subjected to extensive test bench trials at speeds of up to 511kmph.
On the test bench, the Bugatti engineers also tested the performance of the engine and the interaction between engine, gearbox and chassis during various manoeuvres. The Ehra-Lessien track has a 21-kilometre three-lane which are lined with crash barriers, and rescue services are available at the north and south ends. The carriageway was cleaned with special mats before the road test to pick up stones and grit.
Stephan Winkelmann, president of Bugatti, talking about his speed record, said, “Our goal was to be the first manufacturer ever to reach the magic 300-mile-per-hour mark. With this new world record, Bugatti will also withdraw from the competition to produce the fastest serial production cars. We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world. In future, we will focus on other areas”.