Bugatti pits development lineup against the Nordschleife

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With Bugatti requiring its vehicles to meet the highest performance standards, the French luxury car brand regularly tests current models and future series-production models on an array of roads, test circuits and tracks.

Each year the vehicle development team travels to the ‘Green Hell’, more commonly known as the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The most recent team visit consisted of six engineers and four Bugatti models – the Centodieci1, the Divo2, the Chiron Pur Sport3 and the Chiron Super Sport 300+4 – with the fleet value totaling just under €20m (US$24.3m).

“We want to achieve the best-possible chassis setup for our customers, so we perform test drives under extreme conditions as well as in day-to-day situations,” explained Lars Fischer, head of chassis testing and setup at Bugatti. “And Bugatti does not make any distinction between the Chiron5 and a few-off of just 10 vehicles, like the Centodieci. What matters to the engineers during the test drives is that the Centodieci likewise drives extremely precisely, quickly and perfectly in all situations.”

Consisting of 33 left-hand corners and 40 right-hand bends, with 17% gradients and an altitude change of 300m over a 20.8km distance, the Nordschleife is an ideal testing ground for any high-performance vehicle. When conducting test laps, Bugatti says its engineers noted the overall impression made by each vehicle to ensure it delivered a perfect differentiation within the Chiron range. On completion, test results were analyzed and sent to the manufacturer’s development team for further optimization of the vehicles.

“We put the same degree of development and testing into a few-off like the Centodieci as we do with the Chiron,” explained Jachin Schwalbe, head of chassis development at Bugatti. “In other words, following extensive simulation and intensive testing on test benches and at proving grounds, test drives are performed on circuits and in road traffic in order to further optimize the handling characteristics and driving behavior.”

Developed for a top speed of around 440km/h, the Chiron Super Sport 300+ underwent checks and chassis verification as part of series setup a few weeks before. Primarily designed for high-speed stability and with a long tail, it “has to likewise deliver a very high-performance drive on narrow tracks”, explained Schwalbe.

As a result, engineers used the handling characteristics and attributes of the current Divo and Chiron Pur Sport models as a benchmark to set up the brand’s most recent Centodieci and Chiron Super Sport 300+, enabling each vehicle to meet Bugatti’s ‘spectrum of performance’.

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After spending the past six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum recently joined UKi Media & Events as an assistant editor. In this role he will use his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors.

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