The upcoming Bugatti Chiron took to the track during the build up to the Le Mans 24 Hours. For most of the world it was the first chance to see son-of-Veyron in action and an indicator of the scale of the performance it’s capable of.

With head honcho Wolfgang Durheimer at the wheel, the Chiron reached a top speed of 236mph. That’s fully 23mph faster than the fastest car – the #8 Audi R18 driven by Loic Duval – managed during the race.

How? Well, the Chiron produces around 1500bhp from its quad-turbo 8.0-litre W16 engine, which is a good chunk more than the top-class LMP1 racers. And it’s considerably more slippery than an LMP1 optimised for downforce.

Incidentally, Bugatti hasn’t said where the Chiron reached max velocity on the Circuit de la Sarthe. Given the nature of the car, it seems likely to have been achieved between the chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight. The racers actually reach their v.max on the run between Mulsanne Corner and Indianapolis, which is essentially one long corner, hence the need for high downforce. The spoilers they need to produce that downforce actually slow them down on the Mulsanne Straight, where they need significantly less. It should be noted, too, that the racers run considerably less downforce at Le Mans than anywhere else, so just imagine how fast they could go without any at all.

Anyway, it’ll be fascinating to see what order of terminal velocity the Chiron can achieve when Bugatti runs it uncorked at VW’s Ehra-Lessien test track. Customers will have to put up with being electronically pegged back to a mere 261mph.

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By Only Motors

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