No stranger to speed marks, Bugatti's latest claim to high-velocity fame came earlier this week when a Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse set a new record for open-top production cars by hitting 254.04 mph (408.84 km/h) while running at Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien proving grounds. Like its Veyron 16.4 Super Sport Coupe counterpart, this blisteringly quick all-wheel drive Bugatti is fitted with a quad-turbo, 8.0-liter, 16-cylinder engine that makes 1183 horsepower and 1,106 lb-ft of torque.

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On sale since the spring of 2012, this particular example was dressed in unique black and orange livery. It was driven by wealthy Chinese entrepreneur and gentleman racer Anthony Liu with timing results officially verified by the TÜV, Germany's well-known independent Technical Inspection and Certification operation. Next stop for the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse World Record Car will be its first public appearance at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month. Bugatti plans to build eight more identical "WRC" Editions, each of which will carry a price tag of approximately $2.6 million.

This has turned out to be a win/lose/win week for Bugatti. Prior to its latest success with the Grand Sport Vitesse, the automaker's Veyron 16.4 Super Sport Coupe was stripped of its official World's Fastest Production Car mark by the Guinness Book folks when it was discovered that the 267.8 mph clocking it achieved in 2010 had been established with the car's 258-mph factory-set speed limiter deactivated. As a result, the Guinness Book's official world's fastest production car honor momentarily reverted back to the SSC Ultimate Aero, which ran 256.14 mph back in 2007. However, mere days later, Guinness changed its mind about the fundamental nature of this speed limiter infraction, and once again has recognized the Veyron Super Sport Coupe as its official record holder.

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Expect to hear a good deal more about the battle for Guinness Book bragging rights in this arena during the months ahead. SSC is known to be readying its new Tuatara to go after the top speed mark, and just last week a Hennessey Performance Engineering Venom GT hit 265.7 mph in a run that has yet to be certified by Guinness.


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