Bugatti may have won the production-car race to 300 mph with a prototype version of the Chiron, but driver Andy Wallace says the car has more in it, confirming Bugatti's assertion that the Chiron could be capable of more in the right conditions.
Wallace hit 304 mph to break the 300-mph barrier in an early September run that officially made the Chiron the first production car to crest the mark.
In an interview with Autoblog published on Thursday, Wallace said, "I don't think that's the V-max of the car, because it was still accelerating."
The car that did the deed became the new Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+, which may be the last solely gasoline-powered Bugatti to set a world speed record, according to CEO Stephan Winkelmann, as the company has shifted its focus from production-car speed records to expanding the role of electrification in hypercars.
The Chiron Super Sport 300+ may be a production car, but that doesn't make it mainstream. It wears Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires purpose-engineered for 300-plus-mph speeds. The tires were tested in the United States, not at the Ehra-Lessien high-speed track in Germany's Lower Saxony where the Chiron hit 304 mph.
At the time, Bugatti was mum on where the testing took place, though it was later revealed that Bugatti considered a high-speed run in Nevada, where the air is thinner. The location was ruled out due to safety concerns and a natural gradient that may have influenced the Chiron's top speed.
While Bugatti's hypercars are known for being docile despite their extreme performance, road and weather conditions play a significant role in the viability of high-speed tests. Wallace referred to a seam in the pavement at the Ehra-Lessien facility that is essentially unnoticeable in a car traveling at everyday speeds. At 270-plus mph, he described it as feeling like a jump.
Bugatti's competition for production-car performance has come from smaller hypercar makers whose focus leans more toward building record-beaters than all-around machines that are comfortable on the road.
The Chiron beat out the Koenigsegg Agera RS' previous record of 277.9 mph. SSC plans to take a stab at the Chiron's record with its new Tuatara later in 2019, and Hennessey Performance Engineering will likely make an attempt with its forthcoming F5 Venom.