The need for speed

Modern hy­per­cars have ab­surd per­for­mance, but one num­ber still eludes au­tomak­ers to­day. Meet the two cars that hope to crack the magic 300mph mark.

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - By KENNY YEO

112 years ago on the sands of Or­monde Beach, Florida, English­man Arthur MacDon­ald be­came the first man to go faster than 100mph (160km/h) in a car. The car used for this feat was a Napier L48 that pro­duced around 90hp, and MacDon­ald achieved a speed of 104.65mph (168km/h).

It would take another 82 years be­fore mankind could go be­yond the next 100mph. This was ac­com­plished in 1987 when Fer­rari un­veiled the F40. It had a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V8 that pro­duced 478hp, which gave it a top speed of 201mph (324km/h). This was 30 years ago, and ever since then, mankind has been try­ing to go faster than ever, all in the hopes of crack­ing 300mph (483km/h).

Bu­gaTTi ChiRoN

One car that has a good chance of do­ing so is the Bu­gatti Chiron. Founded in Ger­many by Ital­ian-born Et­tore Bu­gatti in 1909, the com­pany has been in the busi­ness of go­ing fast from the very be­gin­ning. It has al­most un­ri­valed pedi­gree in this arena since the Vey­ron and the up­graded ver­sion of the Vey­ron, the Vey­ron Su­per Sport, both held ti­tles of the world’s fastest street-le­gal pro­duc­tion car.

The Chiron is the suc­ces­sor to Vey­ron and is pow­ered by an 8-liter quad­tur­bocharged W16 en­gine that pro­duces 1,479hp and 1,600nm of torque. It is, as you would ex­pect, prop­erly quick. Bu­gatti claims it can go from 0 to 100km/h in 2.4 sec­onds and 0 to 200km/h in just 6.1 sec­onds. In a test, the Chiron went from 0 to 100km/h in 2.4 sec­onds; 0 to 200km/h in 6.1 sec­onds; 0 to 300km/h in 13.1 sec­onds, and fi­nally, 0 to 400km/h in 32.6 sec­onds.

The Chiron can eas­ily go faster, but for now, its top speed is elec­tron­i­cally limited to 420km/h (261mph) for safety rea­sons. Ac­cord­ing to Bu­gatti test driver Andy Wal­lace, no street tire has been cer­ti­fied to be able to han­dle the forces gen­er­ated by the Chiron at speeds in ex­cess of 280mph (450km/h). As a re­sult, even Bu­gatti them­selves do not know the true top speed of the Chiron.

That said, Miche­lin is cur­rently work­ing with Bu­gatti to de­velop a set of tires that will be strong enough to al­low the Chiron to re­ally stretch its legs. The tires are ex­pected to be ready next year,

Top speed, Hen­nessey says, is a stag­ger­ing 301mph (485km/h).

af­ter which Bu­gatti will take the Chiron for an of­fi­cial top speed run.


Hen­nessey Per­for­mance Engi­neer­ing is no stranger to speed. Founded in 1991 by John Hen­nessey, the com­pany made a name for it­self tun­ing and mod­i­fy­ing cars.

In 2013, it made head­lines when its Venom GT hy­per­car achieved a top speed of 270.49mph (436km/h) at Kennedy Space Cen­ter’s 3.22 mile-long land­ing strip. This was faster than Bu­gatti’s Vey­ron, but be­cause the run was only done in one di­rec­tion (the Guin­ness Book of Records re­quires speed runs to be done in both di­rec­tions), the Venom GT did not qual­ify as the world’s fastest pro­duc­tion car.

Now, the com­pany has an­nounced the suc­ces­sor to the Venom GT and it’s called the Venom F5. Pow­er­ing the Venom F5 is a be­spoke 7.4-liter twin­tur­bocharged V8 that de­vel­ops 1,600hp and 1,762nm of torque, which makes the Venom F5 more pow­er­ful than the Chiron.

Not only it is more pow­er­ful, the Venom F5 is very much lighter too. Weigh­ing just 1,360kg, the Venom F5 com­pares fa­vor­ably against the Chiron’s 1,996kg. As a re­sult, the Venom F5 will be sig­nif­i­cantly quicker too. Hen­nessey es­ti­mates that the Venom F5 will get from 0 to 300km/h in less than 10 sec­onds - the same time it takes most fam­ily sedans to see 100km/h on their speedome­ters. More amaz­ingly, Hen­nessey be­lieves the Venom F5 will get from 0 to 400km/h in less than 20 sec­onds. Top speed, Hen­nessey says, is a stag­ger­ing 301mph (485km/h).

The big dif­fer­en­tia­tor, how­ever, is that its tires won’t be a lim­it­ing fac­tor for the Venom F5. Ac­cord­ing to its maker, John, tires are not a prob­lem for the Venom F5 be­cause it is sig­nif­i­cantly lighter. “Tires are a lim­it­ing fac­tor for Bu­gatti. But I don’t be­lieve they’re a lim­it­ing fac­tor for us. When we do our math, we know that we are not over­load­ing them. We’re not even close to the load spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the tires at our speeds.”

Hen­nessey plans to take the Venom F5 for speed runs once the first pro­to­types are com­pleted some­time next year.

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