If you started a day in Molsheim, France, with a Bugatti Chiron Super Sport and no restrictions but the safe return of the car to the same location of that evening, where would you take it? Sure, you could head out across the vast French countryside in search of the abandoned pit lane at Reims or head south toward Switzerland for a few hours on Alpine roads, but the best day trip possible is the most obvious: Head directly north, travel across unrestricted Autobahn to the Nürburgring for a few tourist laps.
Naturally, when Top Gear was given a day with the fastest ordinary Chiron, this was its pitch. Somehow, Bugatti agreed.
Top Gear editor Jack Rix picks up the car at Bugatti's headquarters in Alsace, where he sets the scene: So long as he returns that night, the hypercar company is content to let him take the Chiron to the 'ring as fast as possible and set as many laps in open tourist lapping as he would like. The first part is easy enough; this is a 1600-horsepower grand tourer that goes 300 mph, after all.
In open stretches, Rix tops out at a seemingly effortless 211 mph. Without the help of runways, speed bowls, or even a closed drag strip, he simply puts his foot down where traffic opens up and hits a speed that would not look out of place at the average Formula 1 speed trap. That speed gets him to the track quickly, but his actual time on track was a little less simple.
This being the Nürburgring, he arrives to find a cold, rainy track. He enlists the help of 1988 Le Mans winner and current Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace as a ride-along coach, but the same 1600 horsepower that can make speeding down the Autobahn so easy will also make a wet lap of a difficult track on cold tires anything but. Even while chasing down a diesel 3-Series Compact, he loses control once on corner exit and has to muster a gargantuan save to keep the Chiron on track. With conditions never fully improving, he does not get a representative lap in the car.
Even Wallace struggles to keep the car on the road in the day's conditions. It may not be the climax anyone was hoping for, but it's still a day trip to the Nürburgring and back in a Bugatti Chiron. Hard to beat that.
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