Former Bugatti CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer promised that the company would do a top-speed test with the Chiron this year. But Dürheimer retired late last year, and Stefan Winkelmann, the former Lamborghini and Audi Sport boss took his place. In an Winkelmann said that the top-speed run may never happen.
"I have a lot on my plate," Winkelmann told CNBC. "The speed test is not my priority. I think we have a lot of things to do." When asked if that meant the Chiron may never undertake a top-speed test, Winkelmann replied "maybe, I don't know."
Winkelmann didn't provide a specific reason for why Bugatti might not make a top-speed run, but he did note that 320 of the 500 Chirons it plans to build are already sold. Otherwise, the only thing we can do is speculate.
The Chiron has a 261-mph speed limiter, which is put in place because the Michelin tires the car uses can't handle higher speeds than that. It's possible that the Chiron would need a new, bespoke tire to go beyond 280 mph.
There's also the matter of Koenigsegg. Last year, the Swedish supercar maker had an 11-mile stretch of Nevada highway shut down so it could max out its Agera RS. This record wasn't sanctioned by the Guinness Book of World Records, but GPS data showed the Agera RS as achieving a two-way average speed of 277.9 mph. With a tail-wind, the Koengisegg hit nearly 285 mph. It's also worth noting that the Agera RS, like the Chiron, uses Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, though the specs of these tires aren't identical.
One imagines Bugatti not wanting to make an attempt, only to come up second against the Swedish upstart. Safety has to be considered too, however. Cresting 270 mph puts drivers in serious danger, and the VW Group probably wouldn't want to take on this liability.
Winkelmann doesn't shut the door on a Chiron speed test completely, but he strikes a markedly different tone than his predecessor. And with more than 60-percent of its production run sold out, why does Bugatti need to make a record attempt with the Chiron? Bragging rights?