Reading time 5 Minutes
Air shimmers over the asphalt. Makes the streets bounce. Geckos are warming themselves on stones, only twitching their heads briefly as the column of Bugatti hyper sports cars drives by on Highway No. 1. For three weeks, engineers tested several models in the USA under extreme weather conditions. The column is led by a prototype of the exclusive Bugatti Centodieci, of which only ten vehicles are being handcrafted in the Bugatti atelier in Molsheim and will be delivered to customers from next year.
Bugatti Centodieci + 45 ° degree heat tests
In addition to cold tests, high-speed and long-distance journeys, heat tests are one of the most important development stages of every Bugatti model. For the tests in the USA, Bugatti has assigned a 27-strong engineering team for this critical phase, and each member plays a key role during the extensive test program.
In the deserts of the USA, temperatures can occasionally rise above 50 ° C and thus create an extremely drastic environment for man and machine. An environment that gives Bugatti engineers a decisive advantage. “The tests in the hot, dry desert are a great help for us in the development process. All Bugatti models have to work perfectly at any temperature, no matter how high. Even if we only build ten cars, as with the Centodieci, the test procedure is just as time-consuming. Every model has to function perfectly in all weather and traffic conditions, ”explains Stefan Schmidt, engineer in overall vehicle development at Bugatti.
In total, the convoy drives around 800 kilometers (500 miles) first through California along the Pacific on the Central Pacific Highway and through San Diego before heading east to Arizona. All in all, eight hyper sports cars from Molsheim are on the road - the Bugatti Centodieci in front, three behind Chiron Pur Sports and four Chiron Super Sports. With the exception of the white-painted Centodieci prototype, the bodies of the other vehicles in this extraordinary and exclusive fleet are protected by a matt black film.
Up to an altitude of 2.800 meters and an outside temperature of up to 45 degrees Celsius
A rapid climb to Mount Lemon north of Tucson, Arizona brings the Bugatti fleet to an altitude of almost 2.800 meters. All vehicles go through a demanding test program. The Centodieci is thrown over bumpy roads, driven in stop-and-go traffic at low speed, left in the blazing sun with the air conditioning fully turned on and driven at 320 km / h on a closed road.
In every phase, the Bugatti engineers check important systems such as electrics, telemetry, radio frequencies, air conditioning and refueling over and over again. Like the other vehicles, the Centodieci is equipped with 200 sensors that deliver data to the on-site engineers and the development team in Wolfsburg.
"During the heat tests, we concentrate specifically on the chassis, the engine, the transmission, the thermal management and the electrics, as well as the vehicle as a whole," reveals Pierre Rommelfanger, Head of Overall Vehicle Development at Bugatti. The team checks interior components and body parts for thermal expansion, appearance and feel and does not leave even the smallest detail unchecked.
Unique properties of the Centodieci tested under extreme conditions
Because of its many unique properties, the Centodieci is subject to an even higher level of technical control. The Centodieci is powered by a powerful 8,0 liter W16 engine developing 1.176 kW / 1.600 hp at 7.000 rpm and has an additional air intake near the oil cooler that regulates the engine temperature.
"The newly developed body of the Centodieci, the modified air flow and the engine compartment cover made of glass lead to a completely different temperature behavior, especially in the extreme heat of over 45 degrees Celsius," explains André Kullig, technical project manager for few-of-projects at Bugatti. While driving, the engineers compare the latest findings with simulation models and data from previous tests such as high-speed drives on the Nardó test site in Italy.
“This heat test is of fundamental importance to us because this is the only way we can ensure that the Centodieci, like every Bugatti model, of course, drives flawlessly, reliably and safely in extreme heat - even if our customers may never expose their cars to such extreme conditions . The new tests prove that our existing setup for the Centodieci works optimally for hours even in extreme heat, ”says André Kullig happily.
The unusual column attracts attention at every petrol station and in every parking lot. People crowd around the vehicles, take photos and ask questions. An elderly lady is so enthusiastic about the cars that she immediately invites the Bugatti crew to take a trip with the local automobile club. “The positive reactions show us that the enthusiasm for the Centodieci and the Chiron models is unbroken. That inspires us at work, ”smiles Stefan Schmidt.
After successfully completing the heat tests, the Bugatti engineers will now use the Centodieci to carry out its final high-speed drives and endurance tests over a distance of 30.000 kilometers (186.000 miles) through Europe. Production of the ten Centodieci models in Molsheim, France will only begin once these have been completed and the vehicle has been signed off by the development team.
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Bugatti Centodieci masters extreme heat tests of over 45 ° with ease
Photo credit: Bugatti
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