Bugatti is claiming that one of its Chiron supercars has become the first production car to exceed the 300 mph mark, but at the same time the automaker admits that the car isn’t really a production example but a pre-production prototype.
So should we consider this to be the record-breaker or not?
Obviously, Bugatti thinks we should.
“World record!” it proclaims in its announcement of its accomplishment in August. “Bugatti is the first manufacturer to break the 300-mile-an-hour barrier. On a test track in Germany, a near production prototype derivative of the hyper sports car Chiron1 surpassed the magic limit with a speed of 304.773 mph (490.484 km/h).
“What a record! We’re overjoyed to be the first manufacturer ever to have achieved a speed of more than 300 miles per hour. It’s a milestone for eternity,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Bugatti’s president.
“I would like to thank the whole team and driver Andy Wallace for this outstanding performance.”
Bugatti says Germany’s TÜV, the agency that verifies various vehicle specifications, has certified the speed, which was set on Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien high-speed oval track in Lower Saxony. The track has an 8.8-kilometer straightaway.
“An incredible speed,” Wallace said. “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.”
Wallace worked up toward the barrier-breaking speed in 50 km/h increments, Bugatti said.
“Even at the first attempt I felt this would work,” Wallace said. “The Chiron ran perfectly and the track and weather conditions were ideal. The whole team did a fantastic job.”
Wallace also was the driver in 1998 when the McLaren F1 set a record of 243 mph (391 km/h) on the same track.
“With this new world record, Bugatti will also withdraw from the competition to produce the fastest serial production cars,” the company said.
“We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world. In future we will focus on other areas,” added Winkelmann, who didn’t specify those “other areas.”