Bugatti says it has “withdrawn” from the so-called speed wars after it became the first manufacturer to break the 300 mph barrier, with a "near-production" prototype of the Chiron recently clocking 490,484 km/h.
In a statement detailing the speed record, the French firm said it will “withdraw from the competition to produce the fastest serial production cars”.
“We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world. In future we will focus on other areas,” explained Stephan Winkelmann, president of Bugatti.
“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,” he said.
“Our goal was to be the first manufacturer ever to reach the magic 300-mile-per-hour mark. We have now achieved this – making ourselves, the entire team and myself, incredibly proud.”
Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace was the man behind the wheel when the record was set on 2 August 2019 on the test track at Ehra-Lessien in Lower Saxony.
“An incredible speed. It’s inconceivable that a car would be capable of this. But the Chiron was well prepared and I felt very safe – even in these high-speed ranges,” said Wallace.
So, what about the pre-production Chiron derivative? Well, in addition to “aerodynamic improvements” (the prototype is longer than a standard Chiron and features a unique rear end, sans wing and featuring a different tailpipe arrangement), Bugatti said it attached “great importance to safety”, with Wallace held in place by six-point belts and protected by an additional safety cell.
And the tyres? These came from Michelin, with the high-speed Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber already used on the Chiron further “reinforced” to handle 5300 G while still being “street legal”. Bugatti says the tyres were subjected to “extensive test bench trials” at speeds of up to 511 km/h in the United States.
Watch the video below to see the Chiron in action…
Ryan has spent most of his career in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics and other forms of crime. But his true passion – reignited by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 still tucked lifeless in a dark corner of his garage – is of the automotive variety.