Le Mans winner and Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace reached the top speed of exactly 490.484 km/h (304.773 mph) on August 2, 2019 on the test track at Ehra-Lessien in Lower Saxony. “An incredible speed. 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,” says Andy Wallace. He worked his way up to the top speed from 300 km/h in 50 km/h increments to make sure all the conditions were right and the Chiron was optimally balanced in terms of lift and downforce. “Even at the first attempt I felt this would work. The Chiron ran perfectly and the track and weather conditions were ideal. The whole team did a fantastic job,” says Wallace, overjoyed at the accomplishment.
After one lap to condition the Chiron, Andy Wallace accelerated out of the north curve to 200 km/h to reach top speed on the 8.8 kilometer straight. At a precisely defined braking point, he decelerated the Chiron back to 200 km/h to drive through the south bend. He had a distance of two kilometres in which to do so. “I went at full throttle from the start for approximately 70 seconds. It was important for me to be out of the bend at 200 km/h in order to reach top speed on the straight. That required the very highest level of concentration,” says the new record-holder. He covered 136 metres in one second.
It’s not the first time that Andy Wallace has set a speed record: in 1998, the Brit reached a speed of 391 km/h (243 mph) in at McLaren F1 on the same track, likewise setting a record.