15 Years On From The Bugatti Veyron’s 400km/h Record Breaking Run
More than numbers, the record set a new trajectory for Bugatti.
Bugatti this month celebrates 15 years since the 736kW Bugatti Veyron 16.4 became the first production car to surpass 400km/h.
On April 29, at the Volkswagen Group’s Ehra-Lessien test track, the French marque was made a household name with an astonishing 408.4km/h sprint.
At the time, members of the media compared the hypercar to the Concorde and the accomplishment to the moon landing. After test-driving one in 2015, I likened the 883kW Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse’s acceleration to shoving my face into a fire hydrant’s stream, while also commenting that it’s a machine that’s designed to hit such speeds as easy as a telco company is to overcharge for questionable data.
The Veyron has been a lot of things to a lot of people over the years. For me, driving that machine was nothing less than a life-changing experience. I’ll point to a line in my left palm and tell my grandchildren: “This side of the line was my life before I drove the Veyron, and this side is life after the Veyron.”
Back in 2005, it was easy to think we’d never see another car surpass the Veyron’s capabilities. But then the model’s variants kept flying higher. First came the 883kW Veyron Super Sport’s 431.07km/h run in July 2010, re-cementing the Veyron’s place as the world’s fastest street-legal production vehicle. Then, in April of 2013, the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse hit 408.84km/h, becoming the fastest street-legal roadster of that time.
Although it should be noted that the Swedish marque Koenigsegg captured the honour with its Agera RS (reaching a top speed of 447.19km/h) in 2017, its reign was recently ended by a modified version of the Veyron’s successor. On September 2, 2019, the 1193kW Chiron Super Sport became the first production car to break through the 480km/h barrier with a 489.24km/h top speed.
It seems that, although the Concorde and moon landings have been grounded for years, the production-car speed record continues to soar higher with, at least for the moment, Bugatti in the pilot seat.