Nothing like joint track testing.
Bugatti is very particular where it tests its hypercars. Only the best and most technically complicated circuits will do because, after all, these are multi-million dollar machines and customers have great expectations. High-speed testing is also essential for obvious reasons. So when it came time to pick a venue for Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ and Chiron Pur Sport development testing, a certain Italian proving ground was chosen.
The Nardo track in Apulia, Italy is the world's fastest vehicle circuit in the world, theoretically enabling speeds in excess of 250 mph. These proving grounds offer a 7.8-mile-long high-speed test loop and a 2.5-mile diameter test loop. In other words, the facility is ideal for Bugatti's needs. "The Nardo test track with the high-speed circular track and the handling track is ideal for us. Here we can extensively enhance the Chiron Pur Sport and Chiron Super Sport 300+ at different speeds - and at high temperatures," says Stefan Ellrott, Head of Development at Bugatti.
"Our hyper sports cars must not only operate flawlessly at moderate speeds and temperatures, but also at speeds beyond 300 km/h, as well as in cold and hot conditions." Not surprisingly, this advanced testing requires a huge effort on Bugatti's part as a total of 37 staff members from various departments were required to be on hand. They are currently developing eight Bugatti vehicles at Nardo over a four-week period. They begin at sunrise and finish at sunset.
"The time frame is tight, which is why we are using every minute to be able to carry out our driving tests around the track," said Bugatti's engine chief engineer, Christian Mohr. For example, nine gigabytes of data are gathered just for tuning the engine control unit.
Because the Chiron Super Sport 300+ is all about outright speed, a new thermal management system for the engine and transmission had to be developed and Nardo was the ideal time and place for extreme testing.
"In addition, there are new thermal components and new gearbox parts, as well as software developments and adjustments to the engine, gearbox, powertrain and turbocharger," Mohr added. Safety is also a priority as engineers are allowed a maximum test drive speed of 186 mph although the hypercar can hit 304 mph. As for the Chiron Pur Sport, engineers are focusing on similar aspects, such as engine and gearbox, but also fast laps on the handling course. Remember, these two Chirons, although they share common origins, are very different from each other.
"The Chiron Pur Sport with its shorter gear ratio and large rear wing feels very at home on the tight handling course. The focus of the Chiron Super Sport 300+ is on top speed and it does so very smoothly and precisely. The Chiron Super Sport 300+ handles completely differently as a result of the elongated rear alone," Mohr summarized.
Production for both will get underway in the near future with the first customer deliveries expected in 2021.