Herald Sun - Motoring - - Special Report -

THE Vey­ron never goes out alone. There is al­ways a min­der for the mega-money ma­chine, and it is usu­ally a man called Pier­reHenri Raphanel.

He is a dap­per 47-year-old who is multi-lin­gual, can talk all day about the bril­liant Bu­gatti and— per­haps most im­por­tant of all— has the driv­ing skill to show what the car can do.

Raphanel is a one-time For­mula One driver who is known as the ‘‘pilote of­fi­ciale’’ for the Vey­ron.

He never cracked the com­bi­na­tion for F1 but was a win­ner in sports cars, fin­ish­ing sec­ond at Le Mans in 1992.

He will dis­cuss the peo­ple he has in­tro­duced to the Vey­ron, but says he has no time for peo­ple who claim they are too busy for more than a 10-minute run.

And then he is off— talk­ing about ev­ery­thing from the ma­te­ri­als in the cabin to the op­er­a­tion of the rear wing, the way the trans­mis­sion works, how the car was tested in Death Val­ley and the Arc­tic, and on, and on, and on.

Raphanel is so con­fi­dent, so pol­ished and ever so slightly ar­ro­gant. But you get that.

And he has a point. He rams it home af­ter he has fin­ished his work and the Vey­ron is safety back in the pit­lane at Sandown.

‘‘This is a very un­usual car. Most times when driv­ing fast it is the car that is giv­ing up first,’’ he says.

‘‘With the Vey­ron, it is the driver who gives up first.

‘‘The car never gives up.’’

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