If you’ve ever seen Top Gun (and let’s face it, who hasn’t), you’ll recall the famous scene where Lt Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise’s character) races a fighter jet with his Kawazaki GPZ900R ‘Ninja’. We are pretty sure that movie was the inspiration for this most recent PR exercise: Bugatti Chiron races fighter jet
Hypercar vs hyperplane
There is no better candidate to take on a fighter jet than a Chiron as they are both the peak of their respective genres, even if the car is heavily outgunned. The Chiron’s numbers are worth repeating. Eight litres, four turbochargers, 16 cylinders, 1 100 kW, 1 600 N.m of torque, 0-200 km/h in 6,1 sec and an electronically limited top speed of 420 km/h.
For this exercise this Bugatti rolled out one-of-20 Chiron Sport Les Légendes du Ciel versions. These derivatives were created to celebrate the historical links between Bugatti and the French Air Force. Key differentiators of the limited edition Bugatti features are the Gris Serpent matte grey paintwork and the blue, white, and red Tricolor, which adorns the front of the side skirts made from black visible carbon fiber. The bars of the radiator grille are made from laser-cut, deep-drawn aluminum.
But even the Chiron’s impressive stats don’t get close to the Dassault Rafale Marine fighter. This twin-engined aircraft produces 4 156 kW and weighs 10,3 tons dry. It’s top speed is rated in excess of Mach 1.6 (1.6 times the speed of sound) or roughly 1 975 km/h depending on ambient conditions.
“The Rafale Marine is easy to fly, highly versatile, and very fast and it also looks elegant and slick. It’s a great aircraft, but it does demand complete concentration for every maneuver,” explains the head of operations at the base d’aéronautique navale in Landivisiau.
In the Bugatti Chiron races fighter jet event the car takes the lead soon after setting off. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2,4 seconds and to 200 km/h in 6,1 seconds. It takes 13,1 seconds to hit a speed of 300 km/h and 32,6 seconds to accelerate to 400 km/h.
The aircraft hits 165 km/h after 150 metres and 210 km/h after 250 metres, and takes off after 450 metres at around 260 km/h. “I pulled away from the Rafale over the first few hundred meters, but after a few hundred metres more it was around 20 metres above and alongside me in the air. An incredible and fantastic sight,” says Pierre-Henri Raphanel Bugatti’s official test driver. You can catch all the action in the video below.