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Bugatti sets world convertible speed record


April 12, 2013

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is the world's fastest convertible

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is the world's fastest convertible

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Bugatti may have had its production car world speed record thrown into question, but it didn't take it sitting down. It picked itself up, grabbed one of its newest cars, and went out and set a new record. While it's a step down from the overall record, Bugatti's latest feat crowns its Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse roadster the world's fastest open-topped production car.

Bugatti's parent company Volkswagen just happens to have a track that's served as the backdrop for a number of world speed records: the Ehra-Lessien proving grounds. Chinese racing driver and entrepreneur Anthony Liu took to these hallowed grounds, grabbed the wheel and called upon every last hoof of the Vitesse's 1,183 horses, clocking his way into the record books at 254.04 mph (408.84 km/h).

"This was a very exciting moment," Liu said, his heart undoubtedly still punching his rib cage. "In our training sessions we exceeded 400 km/h, but the fact that I could surpass this unbelievable speed once again and even higher has made me very proud. The car is even at such high speeds incredibly comfortable and stable. With an open top, you can really experience the sound of the engine, and yet even at higher speeds, I did not get compromised by the wind at all."

The Vitesse uses a specially designed roof spoiler to cut interior turbulence and wind noise. Its racing chassis, lightning-quick shock absorbers, reinforced anti-roll bars, four-wheel-drive, and carbon monocoque and body transform the monstrous 8.0-liter W16's raw horsepower into pure speed.

The Bugatti record comes at a time of upheaval for world speed record racing. In July of 2010, Bugatti set the production car world speed record with the Veyron Super Sport, essentially the hard-topped version of the Vitesse, with a 267.8 mph (430.98 km/h) speed. That record stood for close to three years until the Hennessey Venom GT claimed to beat it ... with a 265.7 mph (427.6 km/h) claim.

Don't bother re-reading, Hennessey's speed is indeed lower than Bugatti's.

"While a Veyron Super Sport did run 267.8 mph, Bugatti speed-limits its production vehicles to 258 mph,” said company founder and president John Hennessey. "Thus, at 265.7 mph the Venom GT is the fastest hypercar available to the public."

Although the 258-mph (415 km/h) customer limit was publicly known at the time of the Bugatti record, Guinness was alarmed enough to order a review. Many news sources reported late last week and early this week that Bugatti had been stripped of its record, but a statement posted to Guinness' website updated on Wednesday reads:

"With reference to the record for the ‘Fastest production car’ which was awarded to the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport in 2010, Guinness World Records would like to confirm that Bugatti's record has not been disqualified; the record category is currently under review."

So that means that Hennessey is in line for the record, right? It would appear not. Hennessey was careful in its wording, avoiding the simple words "fastest production car." The language used in the rest of the press release is similarly evasive, and Hennessey doesn't mention Guinness ratification.

Shelby Supercars, whose Ultimate Aero set the official record back in 2007 with 256.14 run, was more than happy to step into the void. It put out a press release on Tuesday reclaiming the record.

"This wasn't how we planned to reclaim the record," SSC founder Jerod Shelby said. "But it will do until the Tuatara takes a run at several records that exist out there."

With Guinness reviewing the books, nothing's official yet.

Bugatti didn't mention Guinness in its Vitesse roadster world speed record, instead citing TÜV, the independent German organization for technical Inspection and certification, as the official witness and confirming party.

The original Vitesse launched last year, and Bugatti plans to introduce the World Record Car special edition at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month. The €1.99 million ($2.61 million) special edition will be limited to just eight models. It will sport the same black-and-orange color scheme featured on the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, but it may just leave the speed limiter at the factory.

Source: Bugatti

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Awesome car.


I wonder what 254.04 would feel like against my helmet without a windshield.

I know on a motorcycle it seems like every 10 mph increment after 120 tries noticeably harder to tear my head off.

I think 150 mph is 100 pounds per square foot and 300 mph is 404 pounds per square foot. Even with a powerful enough motorcycle these speeds probably wouldn't be possible on a bike for the rider.


@Diachi An enclosed bike, or possibly one with a larger windshield should to the trick. It might even be possible with tethers on the helmet and other attachment places on the driver. I'd just go for a larger windshield...maybe a half capsule. For extreme speed perhaps the driver could be totally flat and use steriovision video feeds to see and also be encapsulated with a shorter capsule. It would not have to be much taller than the tires. Should reach speeds sufficient to successfully total a simi head-on ;)


Top Fuel Nitro Dragbike-Korry Hogan goes 254mph in 1/4! Sets National Record!


These speeds are in fact possible for a rider on a motorcycle.


Hopelessly inefficient. Cars 20 yrs from now will outperform these dinosaurs at a fraction of the cost, making every schoolboys' dream an achievable reality. The girls will, however, still empty the rest of what's left in the wallet.

Kevin Cloete


So,will they finally be flying cars? With robots? In domed cities?

There are a lot of people who would like to eliminate or at least limit cars.

They would especially like to see cars like this become illegal.

A lot can happen in 20 years and not always for the best.

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