Bugatti has become the first manufacturer to crack the 300mph barrier – that’s 482km/h in Australian – with a modified Chiron at Ehra-Lessien.

As revealed by Top Gear, the tweaked Chiron driven by Andy Wallace on August 2, 2019 clocked in a breathtaking top speed of 490.48km/h (304.77mph) – smashing previous record runs set by, in descending order, the Koenigsegg Agera RS, the Hennessy Venom GT, the old Veyron 16.4 Super Sport World Record Edition, and the SSC Ultimate Aero TT.

For the sake of comparison, Koenigsegg’s current official production car record saw the Agera clocked at 457.94km/h (284.55mph) vmax, but 447.19km/h (277.87mph) as a two-way average, meaning Bugatti, if this model enters production, could smash the record by as much as 32km/h.

The 300mph monster that set the TÜV-verified vmax figure was, of course, no ordinary Chiron. A collaboration between Bugatti, Michelin, and Dallara, the milestone-breaker is 25cm longer than the regular Chiron and rides significantly lower thanks to a laser-controlled drag-reducing ride-height system.

Its dramatically lengthened tail sports a reduced cross section – again, to reduce drag – along with the removal of the usual active rear wing and airbrake in place of a recessed static unit also to reduce drag. Sensing a theme yet?

For the same reasons, then, even the stacked shotgun exhausts have been designed to send their emissions as far from the rear of the car as possible.

Of course, it’s not all aerodynamic wizardry that has helped Bugatti crack 300, as the 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine has been boosted to put out 1177kW (1578bhp) in comparison to the ‘regular’ car’s 1103kW, with the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive system remaining unchanged.

Clearly, the team at Bugatti has reason to be pleased with the result of cracking 300mph, with company president Stephan Winkelmann noting just how big an achievement this is, saying:

Bugatti has once again shown what it’s capable of. With this new record of the Chiron we enter again uncharted territory. Never before has a series manufacturer reached this high speed.

Our goal was to be the first manufacturer ever to reach the magic 300mph mark. We have now achieved this – making ourselves, the entire team and myself, incredibly proud.

With the title of being the first to 300mph taken, Winkelmann did note that reaching mega speeds is not something Bugatti plans to focus on moving forward, noting the wish to explore other areas.

Before that happens, however, we’d suspect that, given the orange striping of this record-smashing prototype, a Chiron Super Sport will likely be around the corner – even if Bugatti won’t confirm or deny whether that’s the case.

Patrick Jackson
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