Home / Home / Bugatti Chiron Shatters the 300 mph Barrier


Bugatti have raised the benchmark yet again. An updated iteration of the Bugatti Chiron has hit a top speed of 304.77 mph (490.48 km/h).

Bugatti Chiron 1

The Ehra-Lessien test track was once again the venue for a record to be shattered and, unsurprisingly, it was a Bugatti; more specifically, a new Bugatti Chiron updated in more ways than one. For starters, the Bugatti Chiron Sport it builds on receives a new 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine with 100 hp more; for a total of 1,600 hp – the same as the new highly-limited Centodieci. The aerodynamics have been further optimized. Safety was also a priority and test driver Andy Wallace was secured by a six-point harness and an additional safety cell. Bugatti had help from race specialists Dallara and Michelin, who developed the tyres for this outstanding feat. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres were subjected to extensive tests, including a bench test at speed of up to 511 km/h. The tyres rotate at approximately 4,100 rpm; which makes for some mind-boggling forces at play. The tyres were even x-rayed to optimize every little detail.

Andy Wallace is a Le Mans winner and test driver for Bugatti. After achieving the record at the test track at Ehra-Lessien in Lower Saxony, he said, “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. Even at the first attempt I felt this would work. The Chiron ran perfectly and the track and weather conditions were ideal. The whole team did a fantastic job.”

 Bugatti Chiron

After one lap to condition the Chiron, Wallace worked his way up to the top speed from 300 km/h in 50 km/h increments to make sure all the conditions were right and that the Chiron was optimally balanced in terms of lift and downforce. He accelerated out of the north curve to 200 km/h to reach top speed on the 8.8-km straight. At a precisely defined braking point, he decelerated the Chiron back to 200 km/h to drive through the south bend. He had a distance of two kilometres in which to do so.

Wallace added, “I went at full throttle from the start for approximately 70 seconds. It was important for me to be out of the bend at 200 km/h in order to reach top speed on the straight. That required the very highest level of concentration.” At top speed, he was covering an unbelievable 136 metres per second. Read that again, slowly.

Furthermore, it’s not the first time that Andy Wallace has set a speed record. Back in 1998, he was behind the wheel of the McLaren F1 and reached a speed of 243 mph (391 km/h) at the same track, setting the speed record back then.

The record set by the Bugatti Chiron has been TÜV-certified as of August 2019. The maximum speed recorded was 304.773 mph (490.484 km/h). The record run was recorded by a sealed GPS box, the certificate was issued by SGS-TÜV Saar.

Bugatti Chiron

Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti, said, “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 300-mile-per-hour mark. We have now achieved this – making ourselves, the entire team and myself, incredibly proud. We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world. In future we will focus on other areas.”

Does that mean that Bugatti will now stop chasing speed records and actually begin honing other areas? We look forward to what’s next.


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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