It’s official: Bugatti has just broken the 300 mph (482 km/h) barrier with a Chiron prototype on Ehra-Lessien with none other than Andy Wallace behind the wheel.
The record run took place on August 2, with the hypercar achieving a top speed of 304.773 mph (490.484 km/h), which was verified by Germany’s TUV.
Bugatti was working in secret over the past six months with Michelin and Dallara to create a new version of the Chiron that could punch its way through the 300 mph barrier. By doing so, the hypercar maker beat Koenigsegg’s 284.55 mph (277.87 mph two-way average) it achieved with an Agera RS in 2017.
Speaking to Top Gear, Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann said that this will be the last record chased by the automaker, who will withdraw from the competition to produce the world’s fastest serial production car. “We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world. In the future we will focus on other areas,” said Winkelmann.
The record-breaking Chiron is 25cm (9.84 inches) longer than the standard car, mostly thanks to a longer tail section that ditches the rear wing and airbrake to reduce drag. The new quad exhaust pipes also help, as do the bigger and deeper rear diffuser. The front end also get a larger splitter and a set of air outlets over the wheels.
“The biggest challenge is to get the overall package right, not only design, not only aerodynamics, not only engine, not only tires. It’s to get everything together and working in one car,” said Frank Heyl, Bugatti’s master of arts, head of exterior design.
Of course the quad-turbo 8.0-liter W16 engine was also upgraded, from 1479 HP (1500 PS) to 1578 HP (1600 PS), though the transmission and all-wheel drive were totally stock.
Bugatti describes the record-breaking Chiron as a “near-production prototype”, which could mean that the long-tail version is probably going to morph into the rumored Super Sport that could be unveiled in the coming weeks.