After throwing down the gauntlet earlier this summer, Bugatti has begun making good on its promise to smash every automotive speed record it can with its new Chiron hypercar. In June, Bugatti CEO Wolfgang Durheimer told the press that the successor to the brand’s Veyron Super Sport would embark on a 12-month mission to ensure dominance, but admitted he wasn’t entirely sure how much quicker the Chiron would actually be.
However, helped out by silicon carbide brakes with titanium pistons, it turned out to be fast enough to go from a dead stop to 249 mph — and back to zero again — in a staggeringly short 41.96 seconds. Considering that there aren’t many cars that can even go that fast, the record-winning run does feel like a bit of a cheat. The feat is undoubtedly impressive but, since the Chiron has so few contemporaries, the record almost seems engineered to ensure Bugatti a victory.
We’re waiting on the top speed run that surpasses the Veyron’s 268 mph, as well as the Hennessey Venom GT ‘s unofficial 270 mph run from 2014. Bugatti has that event scheduled for 2018 but, even with the Chiron’s staggering specs, it might be a semi-difficult achievement.
Production versions of the Chiron are limited to 261 mph, but the company will disengage the limiter for all record attempts — just like it did with the Veyron. The problem is that nobody knows exactly how fast it will be until drivers start pushing the envelope. Assumedly, it will be faster than its predecessor. Bugatti upgraded the vehicle’s turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 to 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, whereas the Veyron Super Sport only had 1,200 hp and 1,106 foot-pounds. On the downside, the new car is about 330 pounds heavier.
Realistically, we don’t see Bugatti encountering much trouble as it tries for speed records. The automaker is already promising a 0-to-124 mph time of 6.5 seconds and 0-to-186 in under 13.6 seconds — the latter of which is about a second quicker than the old Veyron’s best. But there is a big difference between paper and practice.
For this run, veteran racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya hustled the vehicle up to 400 kph (249 mph) in a scant 32.6 seconds before swapping throttle for brake. Slowing to a halt took another 9.3 seconds, which isn’t bad for about one-third the speed of sound. Montoya also bested his own personal speed, set behind the wheel of an Indy car, with the Chiron and says he’s looking forward to next year’s world speed record attempt.
“I hope Bugatti will invite me to their world record run with the Chiron,” he said. “At any rate, I’m saving the date in my calendar.”
Bugatti will likely spend the next few months practicing at Volkswagen’s test track in Ehra-Lessien, Germany, where all Veyron record attempts were performed. The course includes a five-mile straightaway, making it one of the few places on the globe where Bugatti can push the vehicle’s speed without having to dodge traffic. Bugatti hasn’t announced when the Chiron will make its official record attempt, just that it would be sometime next year.