Bugatti's Pilote Officiel, Pierre Henri Raphanel, put his helmet and gloves on, pulled the safety belts tight while the engineers checked the car a last time: tire pressure, temperature, all systems green.
Then the orange and black Super Sport crossed the light beam; from now on the time would be recorded. Within one hour the car had to drive from South to North and then in the opposite direction. Nobody but the driver was allowed to touch the car during this time.
The tension rose. A few minutes later we heard the sound of a Jumbo jet coming towards us. First we perceive the Veyron's headlights, then we can recognize its shape. With a loud whoosh... and Raphanel dashes to top speed past us.
The GPS-tachometer stops at 427.933km/h. Now the same procedure in the opposite direction. This time the car reaches 434.211km/h. For average top speed the people from TuV and Guinness generate a value of 431.072km/h (268mph). This even surprised Bugatti's engineering team. "We thought we could reach an average value of 425km/h," explained Bugatti's chief engineer Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, "but the conditions today were perfect and allowed even more."
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport If a model was especially popular or highly successful in races, Ettore Bugatti's customers often pushed him to tease a few more horsepower from the engine for a future car.
Bugatti Automobiles SAS had been in a similar situation when their existing customers asked the company to not only design a second model that looked differently, but to also create a version with a more extreme driving experience.
The result is a unique car with 1200hp offering experienced drivers a new dimension of excitement. With maximum torque of 1106 lb-ft and a top speed limited to 415km/h (258mph. to protect the tires), the Super Sport is technically identical to the record-breaking car.
The first five Super Sports to come off the production line will constitute a special series of their own, with the same configuration as the landspeed record car. The Super Sport is a development of the 1001hp Bugatti Veyron 16.4, launched in 2005. Every modification is designed to produce an even more powerful car. Four enlarged turbochargers and bigger intercoolers have been used to boost the power of the 16-cylinder engine, and the chassis has been redesigned to maintain safety thanks to new spring, shock absorbers and sway bars. With lateral acceleration of up to 1.4g, and improved interaction between the tires and the intelligent all-wheel drive system, the Super Sport offers perfect handling and even more powerful acceleration. The body has been fine-tuned to improve aerodynamic efficiency, while the new fiber structure of the all-carbon monocoque ensures maximum torsion rigidity and passive safety - at reduced weight. The skin is made entirely of carbon-fiber composites, and the new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport is available in 100 per-cent clear-lacquered exposed carbon on request.
Every detail harks back to the pioneering spirit of company founder Ettore Bugatti. The designer came from a family of artists, and his philosophy was to combine mechanical perfection with exterior beauty. This ethos remains alive and well, and the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport is proof of that.
The Super Sport's flat, elongated silhouette is immediately recognizable. The 16-cylinder engine gets its air from two NACA ducts set into the roof, rather than from scoops above the engine.
The front air intakes have been expanded and reshaped, with the lower one extending elegantly around the sides to the wheel arch.
The revised back looks sportier due to the double diffuser and a centrally arranged exhaust system.
Bugatti has a tradition of making super-sport versions of successful models, usually with racing chassis and supercharged engines. These cars were considered true racing machines for diehard Bugatti devotees. The most successful were the type 55 and type 57S; only around 40 of each were built.
Bugatti Automobiles has sold 260 Veyron and 35 Grand Sport to date, of which 249 Veyron and 22 Grand Sport had been delivered.
The Super Sport will begin production this autumn at Molsheim, along with the Veyron and the Grand Sport. The first five cars - known as the World Record Edition - in a special black exposed carbon and orange finish, have already been sold.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport will appear for the first time in public in California at the Pebble Beach Concours in mid-August and will feature at Quail Meadow, Laguna Seca and on the concept lawn of the Pebble Beach Concours.