THE Mulsanne straight is a fabled piece of bitumen. As the backbone of the La Sarthe circuit, the public road is transformed into the launch pad for LMP1 cars every June, as they take on the epic test of motorsport endurance that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
During a parade lap at the iconic event, Bugatti CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer cracked 379km/h (236mph) on Mulsanne. Meanwhile, the fastest LMP1 was Loïc Duval in the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro at 342km/h (213mp/h). That is a difference of 37km/h!
On paper it’s a jaw-dropping difference, but perhaps this isn’t a completely fair comparison. The Chiron is armed with a weapons-grade 8.0-litre W16 with four turbos strapped to it, a smooth top-speed friendly body, and no concerns over fuel consumption. Meanwhile, the LMP1 was hamstrung by having a comparatively microscopic 4.0-litre V6 with only a single turbine, a bevvy of wings and spoilers – which are great for cornering, but hamper top-speed – as well as a focus on conserving fuel at the same time.
Oh, and the Chiron is unleashing a staggering 1500-horsepower; 50 percent more than the purebred racer’s measly 1000hp.
That doesn’t make what the Chiron achieved any less impressive. Think about it: A road car just stomped the fastest sport cars in the world on their home turf.
Bugatti isn’t expected to do a proper top-speed test for the Chiron for a few years yet, but when they do, we can expect numbers around 482km/h (300mp/h). Just let that number stew for a while in your mind.
Fast – as far as adjectives go – just doesn’t do this car justice.