Bugatti has become the first automobile manufacturer in the world to break the 300-mile-an-hour (480 km/h) speed barrier in a prototype Bugatti Chiron, setting a new world record at 490.484 km/h on 2nd August 2019. The record was set by Andy Wallace behind the wheel of what Bugatti says is a near-production model of the Chiron at Ehra-Lessien, and was verified by the TÜV – Germany’s Technical Inspection Association.
The prototype Chiron is much, much faster than the SSC (409.88 km/h two-way average, 2007), Hennessey (232.78 km/h two-way average, 2013), and Koenigsegg (455.28 km/h vmax, 444.59 km/h, two-way average 2017).
According to a Top Gear UK report, a team of engineers from Bugatti, Michelin and chassis expert Dallara worked on a Chiron for six months to prepare it to break the speed barrier. The prototype Chiron is 25 cm longer and the ride height is lower to reduce drag.
The rear wing and airbrake were removed to reduce drag and replaced with a static unit. On the inside, the passenger seat was replaced with computer systems. The cabin has a full roll cage, a safety seat for the driver, and several weight-saving changes.
"What a record! We're overjoyed to be the first manufacturer ever to have achieved a speed of more than 300 miles per hour. It’s a milestone for eternity. I would like to thank the whole team and driver Andy Wallace for this outstanding performance,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti.
The engine powering the record-breaking Chiron is an 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 nicknamed Thor which puts out 1578 bhp. The transmission and all-wheel-drive system remain standard. Now that Bugatti has broken the barrier with this Chiron, there may be a new SuperSport version in the near future. And, now that the record has been broken by competition, we'll see what Hennessey and Koenigsegg come up with.