We’re still a year or more before Bugatti will take the CHiron out to the Ehra-Lessien, the Volkswagen proving grounds, to take a shot at the top speed record. The Ehra-Lessin is the track where James May took both the Veyron 16.4 and the Super Sport up over 240mph thanks to the 5.4 mile straight and high banking corners. This might be the only place on earth that is long enough to reach speeds over 270mph safely, at least in both directions to make an official record.
But in the meantime, Bugatti has been taking the Chiron on a press tour all over Europe showing off their latest creation. It recently made an appearance at the pre-race festivities for the 24hr Le Mans race and boy did it put on a show. Wolfgang Durheimer, who is the current boss man at Bugatti, got behind the wheel and was able to take the beautiful Chiron out for a lap on the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe, most importantly the famous Mulsanne straight. Durheimer was able to reach a top speed of 236mph, which mind you is more than 20 mph faster than the LMP1 class cars run on that part of the course!
That is with the speed cutting chicanes that were installed back in 1990 because the cars were getting to fast and holding speeds over 200mph for that long can be incredibly dangerous. The Mulsanne straight is roughly 3.7 miles long so there is still plenty or room to stretch any cars legs. But for a production car to go out and run faster than a multi-million dollar race car is incredibly impressive. Now to be fair, top speed is not a priority when it comes to the Le Mans race cars, especially the LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) cars. They are built with so much downforce to help keep the car planted through the turns, and one thing that does not help with top speed, is downforce. It is a fine line between having too much and not enough, too much and you are quick in the bends but slow on the straights. Not enough and you might be able to reach higher top speeds, but it will probably be so squirrelly you won’t be able to keep the car in straight line and you’ll be begging for that downforce when you got to the first turn.
I have really fallen for the Chiron, it is such a gorgeous car, and that sound coming from that W16 engine with four turbos is music to my ears. I love the underlying whistle coming from the turbos you hear when the car at idle. I personally can’t wait to see what will happen when a talented driver, no offense to Wolfgang, gets behind the wheel and opens up all 1500hp. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see 290mph, or even more. Last rumor I read was the top speed run is scheduled to take place in 2018.
Unfortunately video footage of the lap has not been released yet, but hopefully soon. Here is a basic review of the Chiron in just 60 seconds.