Posts Tagged ‘SuperSport’

Bugatti wanted another crack at the TG lap record – Piers Ward was there from 09|2010

WE’VE JUST SEEN FIVE OF THE BEST supercars in the world attack our track, and the’re all mighty fast, but this thing puts them to shame: 1,200bhp in the Veyron SS is more than double the output of any of the others. Unbelievable.

The SuperSport is off the truck by 9am and the engineers have a wander around it to check it over visually, before firing it up and immediately plugging it into a laptop. For all the pomp surrounding the Bugatti, and for all its 1,950,000 Euro price tag, to the engineers this is just a car – they’ve spent so long with it that they treat it with about as much respect as a Ford Focus from Hertz.

Perched here outside the TopGear production office, the Veyron has underlying menace. The engine grumbles, rather than shouts, and there’s a lot of nervous tension in the air. Which isn’t helped by the sudden appearance of the Stig.

This isn’t going to be an easy task- the big, heavy Veyron is not an ideal track car, despite its enormous power. And as Loris Bicocchi, the senior development driver, points out, the SuperSport needs to be supple as well as fast. “If a car has a number plate, it needs to be comfortable.” He forced Bugatti to change the dampers as a result: there is now a larger oil reserve for them, which allows them to react quicker, so more of the tyre is in contact with the tarmac at any given time.

Doubtless the Stig is grateful for this. Launch control armed, the Bugatti’s tyres rotate a fraction of a turn before gripping. It’s gone in a blink, and in what seems like two blinks later, it hoves back into view. We can see the airbrake rise sharply before the noise of £20,000-worth of tyres struggling for grip under hard braking hits us.

At the end of the lap, the Stig U-turns and gets plugged into a laptop. Through binary de-coding he “tells” us that the Veyron SS is not operating a well as it might. Because it’s so hot today, the ABS is triggering too early. And the SS is also trickier on the limit than the last Veyron. It’s easier to get the tail to step out (that’ll be the extra 200bhp) and it’s snappier at the back.

Which makes the time even more impressive. I think back to the Gumpert’s time of 1.17.1. That’s pretty quick. Will the SuperSport have beaten it? Was it worth the journey here? Hell, yes. There it is right at the top of the leaderboard one minute 16.8 seconds. And Stig reckons it’d go even faster. What a car.