rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Last updated on: June 22, 2011 18:45 IST

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

     Next

Next
Aishwarya Sharma

Get Ahead reader Aishwarya Sharma outlines the real story behind how the world's fastest commercial car, the Bugatti Veyron, that does an eye-popping 400 kmph, was conecptualised and brought to fruition in response to our reader invite (below).

Aishwarya is currently pursuing Mechanical Engineering from NIT, Bhopal.

Speed, we're forever being told, kills. Slow down proclaim the ads on TV and the hoardings out on the roads. The message is clear and constant but you might as well tell a fish to dance about than tell us to go slow.

We need speed like we need air and water and food. And I ain't talking about the usefulness of speed either. Obviously the faster you travel, the faster you get to wherever you are going. Speed is pretty useful that way. But what I am talking about is the need for speed, not its want.

You don't need to pump in drugs to get a high all you need to do is slip inside a Bugatti Veyron, (which incidentally is the fastest commercial automobile) and go break some speed records.

Review cars and bikes for Rediff.com!

So you swear by your vehicle and will probably rush to save that rather than your wife of 10 years should anything happen to both? Write in to us with a review of your car/bike and we'd love to publish it right here on Rediff!

There are few things more intoxicating than a spin on your favourite bike or car. If you're a bike or car enthusiast who loves to go on and on about its bhp and performance, you're the one we're looking out for!

Share the review of your bike or car and recommend it (or not) to our readers who may be considering buying one in the future.

Simply write us an email to bikesandmotoring@rediffmail.com (subject line: 'Bike Review' or 'Car Review') with your review and we will publish the best entries right here on Rediff.com.

Don't forget to add pictures of your car or bike so we could carry it alongside your review.

What are you waiting for? Write in and we will publish the best entries right here on Rediff.com!

Click NEXT to read more


Image: Bugatti Veyron
Photographs: Bugatti.com
     Next

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It all started when Ferdinand Piech, the former boss of Volkswagon, bought Bugatti and had someone design a concept car. 'This', he proclaimed, 'is what the next Bugatti will look like.' And then he went on to drop this bomb on his poor engineers, 'this car will have an engine that develops 1000 horsepower and it will go to a top speed of 400 kmph.'

His engineers were horrified, but set to work anyway (obviously cannot say no to the boss). Two Audi V8 engines were mated to create an 8 litre W-16 engine. And then it was sprinkled with four turbochargers. Needless to say, the end result produced as much power as an exploding volcano, which worked out just fine. Bu to cool this volcano, the Bugatti has no engine cover and 10 -- no, your eyes do not deceive you -- 10 radiators.

So the power part is taken care of. But you also need to harness this power.

To do this Volkswagon went to Ricardo -- a company having huge experience in designing gearboxes for various F-1 teams. Regardless of their experience, Ricardo faced huge problems in designing gearbox for the Veyron. Understand the unique problems faced -- a gearbox in an F-1 car has to last at max a couple of hours.

Click NEXT to read more



Prev     Next

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Volkswagon wanted the Veyron to last 10-20 years. And the Veyron is a damn sight more powerful than any F-1 car. The result -- a seven-speed, double-clutch flappy paddle affair, took a team of 50 engineers 5 years to perfect.

Gr8!!! So that's the car all sorted out, you might think. But no hold your horses for a moment. We have got one of the targets that is, 1000 bhp of power but the other and the considerably more important one, that of a top speed of 400 kmph was still some distance away.

Next Volkswagon tied up with Sauber F-1 team to get the body of the car right. After a lot of testing in Sauber's F-1 wind tunnel it was found that in spite of the 1000 bhp of power, the car was unable to get the desire top speed of 400 kmph.

Click NEXT to read more



Prev     Next

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Apparently, the body was not aerodynamic enough. The sensible thing would have been to change the shape of the car. But Bugatti was in no mood to do that and wanted the basic shape of the car to be preserved.

So they had an impasse. And Sauber did the only sensible thing. They told Bugatti, 'It's your damn problem, you guys deal with it. We won't be splitting our hairs over this anymore.'

So now Bugatti had to find some 30 kmph of speed to reach the desired top speed of 400 kmph. Now some of you might think -- "use more power. Duh uh!! You already have a horsepower of 1000. Throw in a few horses more and voila you get what you wanted!!" If only it was that simple... Each extra 1 kph increase in speed required 8 bhp of power. So 30 kph required an extra 240 bhp of power and that was simply not possible.

Click NEXT to read more



Prev     Next

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

So no change to the engine and no change to the body, at least no major changes. So VW decided to change the small things. They started by fitting smaller side mirrors. It kinda worked and then again it did not that is, it increased the top speed a bit but also made the car unstable.

It turns out that the bigger mirrors were generating downforce which kept the nose of the car on the ground. Without them the stability was gone. And that just goes to show you, how tricky it can be to manage the airflow at these speeds.

Ultimately after lots of research, trial and tribulations they hit on the idea of a TRANSFORMER. Yeah, you got that right. We already had a working transformer in the Bugatti Veyron when the movie was released.

Click NEXT to read more



Prev     Next

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

What I am getting at is that the car changes its shape automatically depending upon the speed at which it is going. At 220 kmph, the nose of the car lowers by 2 inches and the big rear spoiler slides into the slipstream. The effect can be instantaneously felt. You can actually feel the back of the car being pressed into the road.

However, with the rear spoiler in place the drag is so great that you cannot go past 370 kmph. To go faster than that, you have to stop and insert the ignition key in slot in the floor. This lowers the whole car still further and locks the big back wing down.

Click NEXT to read more



Prev     Next

Bugatti Veyron: World's FASTEST commercial car

Prev     More
Prev

More

Now you have reduced downforce and you can happily go past 400 kmph. But there is a catch. Due to the reduced downforce the cornering capability of the car is reduced to a great extent and you can only go straight in this mode.

Though I guess at these speeds by the time you think of turning, the turn would be a kilometer past.

 See, what reduced downforce does

This car cannot be judged in the same way that we judge other cars. Technically it is a car and yet it just isn't. There is absolutely no need for a car like Bugatti Veyron in today's world, yet the world is a much better place because of the presence of the Veyron in it.



Prev     More