Bottom line: Hypercar manufacturers should take note: 300mph is the next big speed milestone to hit. A feat that's certainly impossible on humdrum traffic congested real-world roads, but achievable on a strip long enough to realize the potential of these beasts, like Bugatti did recently, with its modified Chiron in Germany.
Exclusively revealed by TopGear, the Bugatti Chiron just over a month ago crossed 300 mph with Le Mans-winning Andy Wallace at the wheel, who's also the company's official test driver.
Given that the standard Chiron makes an outrageous 1,479 bhp and 1,180 lb-ft of torque from its internal combustion engine, tearing through the wind at really high speeds is still a daunting task as any. It's not only power but advanced aerodynamics, traction and other trickery that enable hypercars to leapfrog each other above 250 mph.
"It's like driving through a fruit cake," commented James May on the air resistance/drag which the Veyron had to overcome in his 252 mph speed run on an episode of "old" TopGear. That happened quite a while back on the same track that recently enabled its successor, the Chiron, to make it above 300 mph.
The Ehra-Lessien test track's 9 km (~5.6 mi) straight could only provide Bugatti with a limited time to max out the Chiron, so it's engineers spent the past six months, along with a team from Michelin and Dallara, honing the car even further. They added around 100 more bhp to the "Thor" 8.0 litre W16 engine, increased the car's length by 25 cm and stuck it ever so closer to the road.
At the rear, the exhaust system was tweaked to reduce drag by stacking a pair of shotgun tail pipes. These are said to emit exhaust further away from the car's rear to help with high speed stability. For added downforce, a static unit replaced the car's rear active air brake. Also, one can only imagine what those Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires went through as they took the heavyweight Chiron upwards of 300 mph.
Speaking of weight, the modified Chiron went on a diet to shave off the bulk that comes with the standard 1,996kg (~2.2 ton) model. The interior saw the passenger seat removed, installation of a roll cage along with several weight-saving measures that may or may not catch the eye.
Germany's Technical Inspection Association (TÜV) verified the 304.77 mph speed run that now puts this Chiron way ahead of Hennessey Venom's 270.49 mph as well as the vmax of Koenigsegg's 284.55 mph Agera RS.
It remains to be seen whether Bugatti's rivals can come up a competitive hypercar, especially using internal combustion engines, as the hypercar future, much like the rest of the car industry, looks more electric than ever. Maybe breaking the mythical 300 mph barrier could be the peak for ICE?
For now though, the 304.77 mph (~490 kmh) Bugatti Chiron has redefined speed (and adrenaline) for the petrol head's hypercar.