Video: Watch a modified Bugatti Chiron crack 300mph

01st September 2019
Laura Thomson

Think about the fastest you’ve ever driven (legally), then double it. And then double it again. Unless you’re some kind of autobahn aficionado, chances are you’re still nowhere near the 304mph achieved by a prototype Bugatti Chiron last month.

At Volkswagen’s top secret Ehra-Lessien test track on August 2nd, with British racing driver and Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace at the helm, the heavily-modified Chiron hit a Vmax of 304.77mph, winning the road-car ‘race to 300’ and redefining the meaning of achievable speed.

Like every landmark speed record that has come before it, manufacturers have long dreamt of the elusive 300. But it wasn’t until two years ago, when a Koenigsegg Agera RS hit 284mph on a Nevada highway, that the metaphoric startline lights on the ‘race to 300’ really went green. Driven by company test driver Niklas Lilja, the Agera RS completed runs in two direction and achieved a mean average of 277.9mph, beating the 267.8mph mark set by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in 2010.

Now, following the Chiron’s blistering run through the dense forest of Lower-Saxony, the production car speed record is comfortably back in Bugatti’s hands. Or is it? If we’re talking technicalities, this Chiron occupies an awkward position in the record standings. While it is based on the production model, and was modified by the manufacturer itself, the extensive aerodynamic and powertrain changes mean that it doesn’t quite fit the Production Car Speed Record bill. After all, the Agera RS that set the previous record was in Gryphon lightweight spec – a specification readily available on road going models (at least to those who could afford it).

The Chiron, meanwhile, is the result of six-months graft by a team of Bugatti, Michelin and Dallara chassis tuning engineers. With a long aero tail adding 25cm to its length, a laser-controlled ride height lowering it significantly and a removed rear wing and airbrake reducing drag, the Chiron significantly differs to its donor base, and not just by way of its mean looks. There's plenty of brains behind the brawn too, for example in the four powerful exhausts, which project the fumes as far from the rear as possible in order to avoid any unwanted aero disturbance. 

In the stripped-back cabin, a full roll cage, bucket seat and host of computer systems feature, while the modified 8.0-litre, quad-turbo W16 engine delivers 1,578bhp. The gearbox and all-wheel-drive system remains standard. As a result, the engineers have transformed what is already one of the most-powerful, most expensive and fastest production road cars out there into a verified world speed record breaker. But whether it holds a true production car record is yet to be seen.

Two things are for sure. Firstly, Koenigsegg won’t give up that easily, and with a similar sprinkle of engineering wizardry, could potentially push the Agera RS to equal heights. Secondly, this is an undeniable a statement of intent for Bugatti, and whether the manufacturer has admitted it or not, looks likely to result in a production Super Sport Chiron.

And if this is what they're going off, it's going to be epic...

  • Bugatti

  • Chiron

  • Andy Wallace



The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport is as close to a track-day special as Bugatti will get for now

05th March 2020



Video: Watch a modified Bugatti Chiron crack 300mph

01st September 2019



How to build your own Bugatti

07th April 2021



Video: Bugatti Baby II Review

18th February 2021



The only place you can buy a Bugatti Chiron is suitably posh

28th July 2016



The Bugatti Bolide is a concept car for the road

12th August 2021


Festival of Speed

Video: Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ makes FOS debut

22nd June 2022


Festival of Speed

Bugatti record-breakers unite at Goodwood

24th June 2022