Bugatti Says Chiron Prototype Could Have Gone 15 MPH Faster In Nevada

A special Bugatti Chiron may have just broken through the 300 mph (482 km/h) barrier but its 304.7 mph top speed has not be verified by Guinness.

You see, for a vehicle to be acknowledged by Guinness, it needs to set speeds in two directions on the same road within 60 minutes before the average of these two runs is calculated. This is how Koenigsegg was able to establish the Agera RS as the world’s fastest production car with a two-way average of 277.87 mph (447 km/h) on a stretch of road in Nevada. The Bugatti only set a top speed in one direction.

According to Top Gear, this is because the surface at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien surface has started to roll in a clockwise direction because that’s the direction most cars travel that have been tested at the facility over the decades. Bugatti claims running in the opposite direction could cause huge heat build-up in the tires.

Also Watch: Finally, We Get To See The Bugatti Chiron Sport Do A Top Speed Run!

Curiously, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport set a two-way average at Ehra-Lessien in 2010 to establish itself as the then world’s fastest production car.

In a press release, Bugatti says it was fighting against air density during the top speed run because Ehra-Lessien is located at sea level. The French car manufacturer claims that if it had taken the Chiron high-speed prototype to the same road in Nevada that Koenigsegg used in 2017, it could have clocked a 16 mph (25 km/h) higher top speed because that road sits at an altitude of around 1000 meters (3280 feet) and has thinner air.

“Our calculations have shown that we would have been around 25 km/h faster in Nevada,” Bugatti head of development Stefan Ellrott says. “Safety comes first at Bugatti. The route in Nevada is very long and only goes in one direction: security forces would have taken too long to get to the scene in an emergency. In addition, the track has a slight gradient of about three percent. It wouldn’t have felt right to set a record there.”

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  • Ben

    We’ll never know unless Bugatti stones up. They’ve got a small checklist to get done before they accomplish snatching the record from the Sweden.
    + Officially launch the car as a production model, not a prototype
    + Production model must be able to actually attain 300mph+
    + Production model needs to average in both directions

    I won’t claim to be an engineer specializing in rubber compounds, but I think the speed is not the largest factor posing the major issue with Bugatti’s speed run. I think its the fact that, amazingly, they’re trying to push essentially a very fast Bentley 300mph. Incredible feat of engineering. However, the other vehicles that are in the same segment weigh at LEAST 1,200lbs(554kg) LESS than the Chiron. Jaguar’s XJ220 had the same issue when it released. The tires were massively expensive and according to some collectors the vehicle could have been faster, but there were no tires that could support such a heavy vehicle at those speeds at the time.

    I don’t have the experience to question the incredible engineers at Bugatti, but it seems like they’re only factoring the thinness of the air rather than the other affects it would have on the vehicle. Thinner air would also mean less down force and possible reduced cooling and power. Granted, I doubt the power would drop significantly, but when pushing a vehicle to such lofty limits, every bit of power counts. I believe it was Top Gear that explained how much horsepower means exponentially less per mph at such high speeds. Being down 10hp could be the difference between a record or not.

    • Matteo Tommasi

      The Jaguar XJ220 was at least 500kg lighter than this truck. Was homologated at 1372kg.

  • Six_Tymes

    it was an amazing run, no doubt about it. that said, it seems Stefan Ellrott should take a trip to Nevada, just as Koenigsegg did.

  • Zed68

    My car could go 150 MPH faster if I pushed it down a cliff…

    • Ben

      I find the cliff, we split the insurance money?

      • Zed68


  • put up or shut up Bugatti.

    • Matt

      Didn’t you read why they didn’t go to Nevada? Also, they just did over 300mph – I’d consider that ‘putting up’.


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