Revealed: How Bugatti’s 300mph run nearly ended in disaster
By now, we’re all well aware of Bugatti’s not so recent top speed record for a production car. On August 2, the French company’s latest Chiron-based car, the Super Sport 300+ hit a speed of 304.77mph.
Based on the video Bugatti released on the run, the whole event seemed to be a rather simple affair after the amazing car had been built. However, according to Andy Wallace, the test driver that sat in the driver’s seat during the test, it wasn’t as smooth of a blast as we all thought.
Earlier in the week, the British racing driver and speed barrier breaker had a conversation with Australian automotive website, Wheels. It turns out that just short of the 300mph mark, the run nearly ended prematurely in a very dramatic fashion.
According to Wallace, there’s a part of the Ehra-Lessien facility that literally launched the car. He said, “There is a surface change, and I was calling it a ramp and jump, and everyone was wondering why I was calling it that. That was until they looked at the data, and they realised that it actually is a jump. This occurs at 447km/h on that fast run.”
That's right – the Chiron actually *took off* during the record breaking run.
Being such an old piece of tarmac, the facility requires constant resurfacing. However, due to the length, it cannot be done in one go. Therefore, some sections of tarmac are younger than others and the sudden change makes for large lumps in the surface. This is what caused the Super Sport to take flight during its 300mph run.
Wallace went on to explain that it requires full confidence in the car to avoid smashing it into the wall. He said, “You know that surface change is there. You can’t lift though. In fact, lifting makes this much worse, because then you get a pitch change at the front and it gives you a whole heap of trouble.”
This just proves how superhuman racing drivers are. Their ability to keep their feet planted even when confronted with the uncertainty of an uneven road surface is astounding. In fact, just learning about this little incident has made my respect for professional racers grow larger than it already was.