This sounds scary.
Bugatti made Koenigsegg and Hennessey take notice last month when the Chiron became the first production car in the world to break the 300-mph barrier. Driven by test drive Andy Wallace, the modified Chiron prototype hit a record-breaking 304.77 mph at the Ehra-Lessien test track in Lower Saxony, Germany.
At these insane speeds, safety was Bugatti's primary concern. That's why the Ehra-Lessien test track was chosen instead of Nevada where the Koenigsegg Agera RS broke multiple speed records because it's surrounded by crash barriers and rescue services are available at the north and south ends in case something goes wrong.
Bugatti had to overcome several challenges to break the speed record. It could have easily ended in disaster, as driver Andy Wallace has revealed the Chiron went airborne during the record run. Speaking with Australian publication Which Car, Wallace explained how a change in the track surface caused the hypercar to catch air at 277.7 mph. As if attempting to drive over 300 mph wasn't already scary enough.
"There is a surface change [on the straight], and I was calling it a ramp and jump, and everyone was wondering why I was calling it that," he said. "That was until they looked at the data, and they realized that it actually is a jump. This occurs at 447km/h on that fast run. It goes from a nice smooth surface, to an older surface. It felt to me inside the cabin that it was all coming off the ground and then coming down."
Wallace was fully aware of the jump in the track. But to keep the car stable, he had to keep his right foot firmly planted to the floor. If in doubt, flat out, to quote the late Colin McRae. "You know that surface change is there, and after you have fired yourself off the banking, and the numbers are coming up, you kind of brace yourself for going over this jump," he said.
"You can't lift though. In fact, lifting makes this much worse, because then you get a pitch change at the front and it gives you a whole heap of trouble. You are far better off staying flat, which means there is not much you can do about it, you just go with it and hope it is alright."