Hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses extreme exaggeration to make a point or show emphasis. It is the opposite of understatement. In most cases, hyperboles don’t stand their ground when put to test but that isn’t the case with the cars that Bugatti makes. Take the Chiron Pur Sport for an example, which recently went head to head with a Dassault Rafale Fighter Jet. It was the ultimate clash of titans in the automotive scheme of things.
The drag race took place at an airstrip in Landivisiau, northwest France. The Chiron featured in the drag race is one of the only 20 units ever made of the ‘Les Légendes du Ciel’ edition. It is the French luxury marque’s way of honouring French aviation and the former Bugatti drivers of the golden age who also piloted airplanes.
Let us get down with the respective numbers first. Bugatti’s challenger was a limited-run Chiron Pur Sport with an 8.0-liter W16 engine that makes 1,500hp/1,600Nm. Competing the hypercar was the French Navy’s Dassault Rafale whose two turbojets generate a mind-numbing 58,550 newtons of thrust (roughly 5,727hp). The four-wheeler has a top-speed of 490km/h – the fastest for any road-legal car – but rather paltry compared to Rafale’s best of 1.8 Mach (over 2,200km/h).
The Bugatti Chiron Sport takes the lead soon after setting off. The hyper sports car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.4 seconds and to 200 km/h in 6.1 seconds. It takes 13.1 seconds to hit a speed of 300 km/h and 32.6 seconds to accelerate to 400 km/h, a speed at which pilot, Etienne, and the Rafale Marine look to match to take off. The aircraft hits 165 km/h after 150 meters and 210 km/h after 250 meters, and takes off after 450 meters at around 260 km/h. To be on the safe side, the Bugatti driver initiates his braking maneuver after approximately 1.5 kilometers and over 350 km/h – by which time the Rafale has disappeared into the horizon.
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The comparison of France’s top two technical systems is therefore declared a draw. They share more in common than what sets them apart from one another – in terms of technology and driving/flying behavior as well as emotionally. “Setting off alongside and so close to the Rafale Marine was an incredible experience,” explains Pierre-Henri Raphanel. To which Etienne adds: “The Chiron Sport is the ideal vehicle for navy pilots.”