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The 400 club

1 year ago

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Hamir Thapar | Journalist


11 January 2023

The Bugatti Veyron has always divided opinion. Some hail it as an all-time great, others dismiss it as a passionless technical exercise. Regardless, there’s no denying the significance of its achievements, nor the sheer pettiness that lay at the heart of its conception.

The story goes that after acquiring Bugatti in 1998, Dr Ferdinand Piëch wanted to resurrect the brand by producing the fastest production car in history, the details of which he allegedly scribbled on the back of an envelope. This ground-breaking machine was to have 1000bhp, pull 1.2g under hard acceleration and reach a top speed of 407.1km/h (253mph), some 21km/h (13mph) faster than the McLaren F1.

What you or I may think of as an arbitrary number was in fact a calculated counterpunch from Piëch. His target? An elderly racing car that was the product of an equally narrow-minded pursuit: the WM P88.

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