Coming off weeks of lockdowns at the hands of COVID-19, Bugatti engineers were finally able to reach a milestone in the development of the Chiron Pur Sport. Bugatti’s hyper sports car had its moment in the sun, as on-track testing got underway. The mission was to refine, tune, and perfect every aspect of the Chiron Pur Sport’s performance.
Here is how Bugatti’s engineers worked safely, yet diligently, during a recent round of testing on the track.
These tests took place on the Bilster Berg circuit, located in Teutoburg Forest, Germany. To comply with social distancing protocols, Bugatti’s team consisted of just eight engineers and three mechanics at the track. The smaller team worked over the course of three days to gather all of the necessary data and apply any changes needed on the spot.
“It’s a tight program that we’ve planned, but we’ve made use of every day to further fine-tune the Pur Sport,” said Stefan Ellrott, Head of Development at Bugatti. “Given the challenging, three-dimensional topography and the well-secured track here with its ample run-off zones, we can push the Pur Sport to its physical limits.”
The Bilster Berg circuit has everything a discriminating engineer could hope for when putting one of the world’s premier performance cars through its paces. The circuit itself features nine right turns, 10 left turns, and 44 crests/dips, as well as 20 percent uphill and 26 percent downhill grades. The track also climbs 229 feet in elevation in just over two and a half miles.
“This is crucial for development because the Chiron Pur Sport is set up for maximum performance and lateral dynamics. The laps on the test tracks are incredibly important here,” Ellrott explained. “With the Chiron Pur Sport, we’re pursuing a more extreme and radical development approach. It’s the perfect car for all those drivers who enjoy cornering at the limits and want to feel a connection with the road.”
A Battery of Tests
On the agenda for these tests was an in-depth analysis of the Chiron Pur Sport’s handling, damper control, steering, tire wear, and gearbox, as well as a performance review of newly introduced engine components. However, few tests were as highly anticipated as that of the car’s all-new chassis. This chassis, with its modified camber, is far more firm than those previously produced within the Bugatti line.
“Every system has to function perfectly on its own, but also in conjunction with the entire vehicle, of course,” said Jachin Schwalbe, Buggati’s Head of Chassis Development. “And it has to do so at all speeds and for all movements.”
Also high on the list of priorities was a comprehensive analysis of the new ESC Sport+ driving mode. When selected, ESC Sport+ allows drivers to drift into turns when cornering. Power is commanded at the rear wheels via the accelerator pedal, while the ESC brakes actuate, facilitating a controlled slide. “Even for our engineers who are very familiar with the Chiron, this is so much fun they don’t want to get out of the car,” Schwalbe added.
Lighter & Faster
There is a significant reason for the engineering department’s excitement over the Chiron Pur Sport. The 16-cylinder hypercar is purpose-built to hold no prisoners and dominate on the track. The Chiron Pur Sport is 110 lbs. lighter than its predecessor, yet features increased downforce. The newest Buggati also features a wholly redesigned gearbox with a 15 percent shorter gear ratio, and increased maximum engine speed. As a result, the Chiron Pur Sport accelerates in sixth gear from 60 to 74 mph almost two seconds faster than the Chiron.
“The W16 engine with 1,500 PS and 1,600 newton meters of torque now feels like it revs up even faster, providing a significantly more tangible and emotive driving experience,” Ellrott said. “The gears run through the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission at an ultra-fast pace at full load.”
“Thanks to the new suspension geometry, the softer Michelin tires with even better grip and the enormous rear wing, the acceleration of the Pur Sport out of corners is even more brutal,” Schwalbe added.
No Rest For The Weary
The next stop for the Chiron Pur Sport and its engineering crew is the famed Nürburgring in Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Once there, the car will again push its limits. Additional data will be collected at the Nürburgring to verify all vehicle systems are syncing as intended.
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport: Availability
A limited 60 unit production run will begin during the latter portion of 2020. Each of these hypercars will command a net price of over three million USD.
Josh Boyd is an ASE Certified technician with over a decade of experience in automotive repair. When not under the hood, he can be found in the woods or on the water, pursuing his other passions of hunting and fishing.