Bugatti Breaks The 300 MPH Barrier
Speed has long been an obsession for humankind. An ever-increasing benchmark that seems to edge higher and higher with each technological advance. Whether it's on the land, sea or in the air, human kinds quest for all-out speed is an unrelenting quest.
The last century has seen a rate of change that humankind has never witnessed before. The development of the internal combustion engine would revolutionise the way we travel and would ultimately go on to change the world.
The development of the jet engine brought continents closer together than they have ever been before with the likes of the all-conquering Concorde delivering its passengers to New York in just a mere couple of hours. By the middle of the 21st-century humankind was racing towards speeds previously unheard of. Over 700 mph for a land speed record, over 1300 mph for Concorde, these figures were eye-watering figures but they were set by eye-watering machines.
When it comes to the road car, speed records have continuously tumbled. With jet-powered cars and modified machines dominating these speed attempts, the road car was yet to witness its very own Concorde moment, that was until Bugatting entered the ring.
Bugatti made a triumphant return to the supercar fold back in the mid-2000s with it’s devastatingly powerful Veyron. Witnessing near enough 1000 bhp, the Veyron was a true watershed moment for the motorcar. A machine capable of a top speed of 253 mph, the Veyron was a true technological masterclass of what was possible for the road car.
Featuring an 8-Litre, 16 cylinder engine, the Veyron broke new ground in road car powertrains, featuring not one but four turbochargers to extract every last ounce of power. Naturally, a car of this calibre captured the world's imagination and it wasn’t long before the machine had etched its place into automotive folk law.
For almost a decade the Veyron held it’s spot near the top, however, not wanting to look complacent, along came the Chiron…
An even more powerful counterpart to the outgoing Veyron, the Chiron shares similar powertrain architecture but manages to extract an incredible 1,479 bhp. A continuation of engineering excellence, the Chiron maintained Bugatti’s stranglehold at the top of the supercar holy grail and thus proved the perfect candidate from which to mount a bit on a 300 mph attempt.
Taking place at Ehra-Lessien on the 2nd August of this year, driver Andy Wallace hit an incredible 304.77mph. Whilst no ordinary Chiron, this example had been subject to extensive work with industry leaders such as Michelin and Dallara over the past 6 months and the machine taking on the record attempt is the product of this extensive development programme.
Heavily reprofiled to the rear, the Chiron created for the record attempt is beautifully profiled in an effort to make it as slippery and as efficient as possible. These changes, be that cosmetic or mechanical come together to produce a machine that quite frankly, is unlike any other. It’s mad, it's bonkers and is everything that a hypercar should be.
In breaking the 300 mph barrier, Bugatti has created history. However, how this record stacks up as the hands of time passes by remains to be seen.