Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport: First Drive
Vikram Gour 26th October 2010
It's 0 to surrealism in nanoseconds in a car that boasts of a 1001BHP output and a mind numbing 1250Nm of torque. Add to that, its driven by a W16 engine that displaces 8 liters and requires 10 radiators and over 36 liters of engine and gear oil to keep it in tip top condition. A 100 litre fuel tank that offers an average range anywhere from 200-300 kilometers depending on how fast you go. A seven speed DSG gearbox that allows the car to harness and propel power to the all-wheel drive system in order to take the car all the way up to over 400 kilometers per hour. At top speed the car is capable of finishing a tank of fuel in approximately 12 minutes! It's unreal, absolutely impractical and outrageously absurd, but then again there is only one manufacturer that can and could have pulled this off, and that name is Bugatti.
Bugatti isn't just a brand, it's an actual way of life, a thought that dwells within an auto enthusiast and to really understand the Bugatti Veyron, one must understand the name, the heritage and the principle behind such an outrageously awesome idea..
The story starts with Ettore Bugatti, a businessman, an eccentric and to an extent a genius. Italian by birth, Ettore moved to the little town of Molsheim in the Alsace region of France, which was then actually a part of Germany to set up a car manufacturing facility. This location was chosen on the simple pretext that the land was cheap and so was labour. Thus in 1909 was founded Bugatti.
What all this resulted in was the fact that Bugatti customers were a happy lot who enjoyed the reliability and performance of their machines. This lead to a lot of owners taking their cars to the races and the Company enjoyed a great deal of success in the early years of Grand Prix racing with many thousand wins in a span of just a few decades. In the height of Bugatti's racing success it was probably the Type 35 model of 1924 that won the most races. In fact that car is touted to be the most successful race car of all time! Though the accolade list is endless and people have written books on Bugatti's motor racing success, the races that stand out include the win at the first ever Monaco GP, the numerous wins at the France GP and of course the culmination of this illustrious motor sport career at the 1939 24 hour Le Mans race, where Jean Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron piloted a Type 57C to victory lane.
1939 also marked the year that Ettore lost his son Jean Bugatti in an accident while testing the Bugatti Type 57 'Tank' race car near the factory in Molsheim. This loss obviously slowed Ettore down a bit, however it was World War II that took the final toll and the factory premises were destroyed and Bugatti lost control of the property. Ettore had a plan to shift the factory closer to Paris during the war, but that never materialized and Ettore finally passed away in 1947. With Ettore gone, the company just went downhill. Ronald Bugatti tried his luck in the 1950s to no avail and finally the company ceased tofunction.