Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Proof: A 290mph Veyron Über Sport Is Possible

Performance Power Racing Ford GT and a Jet Fighter
Just one post ago, I mentioned that Bugatti might be making a Veyron Super Grand MacDaddy Sport R with 1600 horsepower and 1600kg combining to make a 2-second 0-60 run and a suspected top speed of 288mph. Those performance numbers may seem far-fetched, but if you really don't believe that a car can go that fast, then I would like to point you in the direction of this Ford GT, whose 5.4-litre V8 has been extensively modified - not least by having the supercharger system removed for a twin turbo setup - and now produces a simply staggering 1700 horsepower. That's a hundred more than the Veyron Possibly Bullet Edition might have, and enough to warrant a parachute instead of some poncy hydraulic airbrake. What's more, its creators Performance Power Racing have just set a world speed record by getting their maddeningly powerful GT up to 283.22 miles per hour. I can't possibly imagine what that feels like, or even looks like!

But here's the clincher: It topped 283mph using just one mile of runway.

To put that into perspective, you need at least five miles to max a Veyron. In fact, if this PPR GT can go that fast within a mile, the question must be asked: how fast can it actually go? Did it really reach its terminal velocity in just one mile? Or can it go faster?

Either way, there are of course a few problems with taking a road car engine and making it over three times as powerful as it was designed to be. First of all, it won't last nearly as long before needing a complete rebuild, and is more likely to overheat or otherwise bring the party to an end early, and if that happened when you were edging closer to 300mph, it would feel rather...... unpleasant. What's more, the overall car won't feel as refined and harmonised as something equivalent made by the manufacturer (although it does cost less to do, perhaps because of that). But there is no equivalent of this. There's no production car close to 1700bhp. The nearest one is the still-in-development 1350bhp SSC Tuatara, and that figure's probably just a target until such time as it's finished and ready to go.

But here's the thing: in 2001, when VW decided once and for all to start making the Bugatti Veyron, there were no 1000-horsepower production cars. There were tuners like the JUN R33 GT-R will a millennium of horses, but again, those were extreme one-offs based on road car engines not designed for that level of force. The 2003 Koenigsegg CCR got close-ish with 806bhp, but that was about it. Then the Bugatti came out with an engine that not only made 1000 horsepower (they say the 1001PS/987bhp figure is nominal, and that it's probably a tiny bit more in reality), but was designed and (over)engineered to last for a decade of doing long journeys and a few annual top speed runs. It was a major jump, and it's helped pave the way to even madder cars like this.

But here we are again, in exactly the same situation but with even higher numbers now. Can VW/Bugatti really engineer a 1600-horsepower W16 to last for ten years of sometimes doing 290mph? Honestly, I believe they can. We have Underground Racing Lamborghinis that can withstand 1900 horsepower however briefly, so I believe that the finest German engineers in the world can beef up their 1200-horsepower Veyron SS engine by another 33% somehow and make it last long enough to be a valid road car engine, and then set about making sure the All-Wheel-Drive, the brakes and the chassis can withstand it all as well to make an all-round road car and Grand Tourer that just so happens to be able to blow away 99% of all the world's cars at will.

For the time being though, here's the 1%. More pics of it (at least one other of which involves a jet fighter) can be found here. Also, they say this car is docile enough at low speeds - when you're using about 1% of the engine - to be used on the school run! Now that'd be something...

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