Even a Bugatti Chiron can’t outrun a fighter jet

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Racing a Bugatti against a military jet may be a futile exercise, but it’s one that makes a good video, as Top Gear proved when Richard Hammond pitted the Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon.

Now Bugatti has taken on the impossible challenge itself, lining up the latest Chiron Pur Sport Les Légendes du Ciel alongside a French Navy Dassault Rafale Marine at an airbase in France.

The special-edition Chiron was designed to commemorate France’s early aviators and is limited to just 20 examples at a price of €2.88 million ($3.5 million) apiece. The French Navy, on the other hand, has 42 Rafale Marines built to launch from its aircraft carriers and those of its allies at a reported cost of around $120 million each. With 33,720 pounds of thrust available from its twin Snecma M88-2 turbofans on reheat, the Rafale Marine has a top speed of Mach 1.8 at high altitude, while the Chiron retaliates with 1500 hp and a Vmax of 261 mph—strictly on the ground, of course.

Behind the wheel of the Chiron for this stunt was Le Mans winner Pierre-Henri Raphanel who launched the Bugatti from zero to 62 mph in 2.4 seconds, reaching 120 mph in 6.1 seconds, 180 mph in 13.1 seconds, and 248 mph in 32.6 seconds. The Rafale Marine takes 450 meters (1477 feet) to reach its 162 mph take-off speed.

“I pulled away from the Rafale over the first few hundred meters,” said Raphanel, “but after a few hundred meters more it was around 20 meters above and alongside me in the air.”

Hypercars and airplanes seem to be having a their moment. Only a few months ago Pagani released its Huayra Tricolore inspired by Italy’s Frecce Tricolore aerobatics team. Perhaps it’s time for America to take back the lead and revive the NASA Corvette.

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