The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Guinness Record Review - A Closer Look



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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Guinness Record Review - A Closer Look




The Guinness organization (responsible for the Guinness Book of World Records) recently reviewed the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport's speed record. The car achieved an official (and impressive) top speed of 267.8 mph. However, when Hennessey took his Venom GT for a top speed run - achieving an unofficial top speed of 265.7 mph (about 2 mph shy of the Veyron's) - he pointed out that most Veyron Super Sport's sold to customers have an electronic speed limiter set to 257.8 mph. Only 5 World Record Edition Veyron SS's have the speed limiter disabled. This means that the rest of the cars cannot reach the official top speed of 267.8 mph (without the speed limiter disabled).

Whether this comment was the reason for the review or not, the Guinness organization decided to revisit the record to decide whether or not it still deserves the record. In an official statement, they said: "Following a thorough review conducted with a number of external experts, Guinness World Records is pleased to announce the confirmation of Bugatti's record of fastest production car achieved by the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. The focus of the review was with respect to what may constitute a modification to a car's standard specification. Having evaluated all necessary information, Guinness World Record is now satisfied that a change to the speed limited does not alter the fundamental design of the car or its engine."




There is a lot of truth to this statement, however, I see an issue with it. What constitutes a fundamental alteration? Although disabling the limiter does not alter the fundamental design of the car, it does alter how the car's computer controls the car and the engine and, ultimately, changes one of the car's standard specifications - the top speed. In fact, if you go to the technology page on Bugatti's official website - The climax of the Veyron series: the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport - and expand the technical specifications (shown above), you'll see that the listed top speed is 415 km/h (259 mph). This means that a change to the speed limit should constitute a modification to a car's standard specification. A computer parameter has to be changed to achieve the record top speed of 267.8 mph. Without that change, the car's top speed is 259 mph.

Many BMW performance vehicles have top speeds of 155 mph - electronically limited - even though they can (safely) go faster. BMW doesn't tout these cars as having top speeds of anything other than 155 mph. What other computer parameters can you change to claim a top speed or a lap record? Most modern performance cars gain a noticeable amount of power with an engine tune and many companies offer power upgrades through their performance divisions (Ford Racing, AMG, etc.). Is that considered to be an alteration to the fundament design of the car or its engine? Once you allow any form of modification to a production car to be able to set a record, you're opening the door to a lot of uncertainties. I think the Veyron SS deserves the title, not because changing the speed limit is not a fundamental alteration, but due to the fact that the speed limiter is disabled on a production edition of the car, namely the World Record Edition. However, I think the title of fastest production car should only apply to the Veyron SS World Record Edition, not any Veyron SS.

Source: Motor Trend

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