Watch a Bugatti Chiron hit 261 mph on a former space shuttle runway

The Bugatti Chiron is one of the world’s fastest cars, but most owners never have the opportunity to take it to its top speed. That’s because there just aren’t many places in the world with enough straight road to max out a Chiron.

One owner was able to experience the full might of the Chiron at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Merritt Island, Florida. The facility includes a 2.3-mile straightaway that used to serve as a landing strip for the space shuttle. Now it’s the perfect place to see just how fast your supercar will go.

Everything about the Chiron seems positively cartoonish. Bugatti’s beast is powered by an 8.0-liter quad turbocharged W16 engine, which produces 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent to all four wheels, giving the Chiron the traction to reach 60 mph from a standstill in under 3 seconds, according to Bugatti.

The car is built at a small factory in Molsheim, France, where just 20 employees assemble it by hand from more than 1,800 parts. Bugatti monitors each customer car with racing-style telemetry, and sends out technicians to make house calls when problems are detected.

But what about the top speed? Customer cars are electronically limited to 261 mph, which is exactly what the owner in the above video achieved in Florida. But Bugatti claims the Chiron can go much faster. CEO Stefan Winkelmann has said the car is capable of 280 mph, which would make it the fastest production car in the world. The current record is held by the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which hit 277.9 mph in 2017. Bugatti hasn’t said when it will remove the Chiron’s limiter and attempt a true top-speed test.

Bugatti would love to reclaim the speed record for production cars, which was held at one time by the Chiron’s predecessor, the Veyron, but Bugatti has plenty of competition. Two American firms claim to be developing supercars that can top 300 mph. The Hennessey Venom F5 boasts a claimed 1,600 hp from a 7.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8, while the SSC Tuatara will use a 5.9-liter supercharged V8 to produce a claimed 1,750 hp on E85 ethanol (or 1,350 hp on 91-octane gasoline). Meanwhile, Bugatti is moving in a different direction with the Divo, a reworked Chiron that will emphasize handling, as well as straight-line speed.

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