It seems Bugatti has beaten everyone in the race to break the 300 mph (482.8 km/h) barrier. The French hypercar builder has just set a new world record top speed at the Ehra-Lessien test track using a purpose-built Chiron Sport driven by Andy Wallace.
The speed? 490.484 km/h (304.773 mph). Now, before the skeptics say it is just a claim made by Bugatti themselves, the team had Germany’s Technical Inspection Association (TÜV) verify the speed, which means the record-breaking run is officially confirmed.
As mentioned above, this is not your regular Chiron Sport. In fact, the car is far from standard. Bugatti has teamed up with Dallara and Michelin in order to create the modified version you see here, finished in exposed carbon fiber and orange stripes. The most significant changes between it and the standard Chiron Sport would be the length.
The top-speed Chiron is 25 cm longer, giving it a long-tail appearance which helps optimize aerodynamics and reduces drag. As a result, the rear wing and airbrake have been removed and replaced with a static unit fitted in place. Keen-eyed readers would notice the stacked exhausts as well, similar to the Centodieci. Up front, there's a redesigned bumper with larger intakes - also to improve airflow.
In order to get the Chiron to 482.8 km/h and beyond, Bugatti also had to tune the engine. The quad-turbo 8.0-liter W16 was tweaked to produce 1,600 PS. Meanwhile, the all-wheel-drive system and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission were also retuned to handle the additional power. To save weight, the interior has been stripped of a passenger seat together with other weight-saving measures. A bucket seat and full roll cage were also installed to keep the driver safe.
Want a Chiron spec'd in the same way? Well, for the time being, Bugatti says that the long-tail Chiron Sport is a one-off hence the official label of “near-production prototype”. However, don't be surprised if a special edition Chiron similar to the Veyron Super Sport is released in the future.
With Bugatti being the first manufacturer to break the 300 mph barrier, expect others to follow in the French hypercar builder's footsteps very soon.