Back in 1987, the Ferrari F40 was the first production car to exceed the 200mph barrier. More than 30 years on, another incredible speed record may be about to be set.
Bugatti has broken 300mph with a modified version of its Chiron hypercar, which it says is a ‘near-production prototype’.
With British test driver Andy Wallace behind the wheel, the upgraded Chiron hit 304.773mph at the Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany on August 2.
The top speed has been verified by the TUV, which is Germany’s Technical Inspection Association. That means it’s officially faster than other top speed legends such as SSC’s Ultimate Aero (256mph), Hennessey’s Venom GT (270mph) and Koenigsegg’s Agera RS (285mph). However, those were verified production car records, so this prototype can’t claim to be the first production car to break 300mph just yet.
Although Bugatti has not yet confirmed it will build a go-faster Super Sports model as it did with the Veyron (the Chiron’s predecessor), the fact this new record-setting car is considered a “near-production prototype” hints that a limited run Chiron SS could be on the way.
This particular Chiron is the result of a six-month collaboration between Bugatti, tyre manufacturer Michelin, and chassis experts Dallara, reports Top Gear. It’s 25cm longer than the standard car and has laser-controlled ride height that hugs the car tight to the Tarmac, significantly lower than before.
The rear end has a smaller cross section to improve aero and reduce drag, while quad-exit exhausts punch through the rear diffuser to emit gases further from body work to further minimise drag.
Stephan Winkelmann, president of Bugatti, said: “What a record! We’re overjoyed to be the first manufacturer ever to have achieved a speed of more than 300mph.
“It’s a milestone for eternity. I would like to thank the whole team and driver Andy Wallace for this outstanding performance.”