A Battle between Two Superlatives - Bugatti Chiron Sport ‘Les Légendes du Ciel’ versus Dassault Rafale Marine

Posted on 24-05-2021 by Suraj Dhirwani

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Brands: Bugatti
Category: News

The Bugatti Chiron Sport alongside the Dassault Rafale Marine. 1,479 HP against 58,550 newtons of thrust (5,646 HP), a hyper sports car against a Navy jet.

The Bugatti Chiron Sport alongside the Dassault Rafale Marine. 1,479 HP against 58,550 newtons of thrust (5,646 HP), a hyper sports car against a Navy jet. The two high-tech machines from France are at the top of their respective fields and stand for technical progress made after decades of development in automotive and aerospace engineering. The Bugatti Chiron Sport and the Dassault Rafale Marine, two machines that are at the zenith of engineering – challenge each other at a naval base in Landivisiau, north-west of France. This is truly a spectacle to behold, an ultimate high-octane rendezvous between France’s top machines. A Bugatti has gone head-on with a jet before. A Veyron 16.4 took on a Eurofighter Typhoon in a drag race in 2007. In the present face-off, the Bugatti Chiron Sport and the Dassault Rafale Marine are seeing how they match up against one another in disciplines like acceleration, torque and braking behavior.

Behind the steering wheel sits Bugatti’s pilote official, Pierrer-Henri Raphanel. With a background in various motorsports such as 24 Hours of Le Mans in which he took part 14 times between 1986 and 2000, finishing second twice and winning the GT category once. He also won the French Formula 3 championship in 1985, and, four years later qualified for the Formula 1 Monaco GP. The race car driver has been assisting Bugatti for more than 10 years and in 2010, he broke the speed record for road-legal super sports cars in Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport (431.3 km/h). This encounter between the Dassault Rafale Marine and the Chiron Sport is a first for him. “We may only be driving straight ahead on a runway but setting off alongside a jet demands a great deal of attention and concentration, especially at high speeds," explains Pierre-Henri Raphanel.

In the cockpit of the Navy jet, Etienne, who is a frigate captain and has been flying for 20 years. He is currently working as head of Operations at the base D’Aéronautique Navale in Landivisiau. He earned his fighter pilot certification and qualified to land on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in 2006. He has been flying the Rafale Marine for five years.

Bugatti unveiled the Chiron Sport ‘Les Légendes du Ciel’ at the end of last year. It is the French luxury automotive brand’s way of honoring French aviation and the former Bugatti drivers of the golden age who also piloted airplanes. The hyper sports cars forges a link between the past and the present. The power provided by the 8.0-liter W16 engine with 1,497HP with 1,600Nm of torque. A seven-gear dual-clutch transmission powers all the four tyres. The edition is limited to 20 units that retail at a net price of 2.88 million euros. The Rafale Marine, pride of the French Navy aviation has been in service of the French armed forces since 2000. After France left the Eurofighter program, the French company Dassault developed its own aircraft; one which was relentlessly tailored to the requirements of the French army. It has a dry weight of 10.3 tons, a maximum weight of 24.5 tons. With its length of 15.5 meters and a wingspan of 10.86 meters, the Rafale Marine – in single-seater configuration for the Navy – can achieve a top speed of more than 1.6 Mach or around 1,975 km/h. But what really sets it apart is its maneuverability. It can take off from and land on aircraft carriers like the Charles de Gaulle. Around 200 Rafale aircraft have been produced to date, 46 of which are Rafale Marine jets. It is a light, versatile, land- and carrier-based multirole aircraft. Returning to the scenario: The Bugatti took the lead soon after setting off. The hyper sports car accelerated from 0-100 km/h in 2.4s and to 200 km/h in 6.1s. It took 13.1s to reach 300 km/h and 32.6s to accelerate to 400 km/h, a speed at which pilot Etienne and Rafale Marine took off. The aircraft hit 165 km/h after 150 meters and 210 km/h after 250 meters, after 450 meters at around 260 km/h it took off. The Bugatti driver initiated his breaking maneuver after 1.5 km and over 350 km/h - by which time the Rafale disappeared into the horizon.

The Chiron Sport delivered top performance when accelerating: it goes from 50 to 150 km/h in 3.2 seconds, from 80 to 120 km/h in just 1.8 seconds, and from 100 to 200 km/h in 4.3 seconds.

Extra-special brakes are used by both machines in order to be able to decelerate stably at high speeds. Due to the shortness of the runway and safety regulations, the Chiron Sport brakes at just 210 km/h and the Rafale Marine at 250 km/h. Under normal circumstances, it takes the Bugatti Chiron Sport 491 meters to standstill from 400 km/h and 31.4 meters to get down from 100 to 0 km/h.

The comparison of France’s top two machines is declared a draw. They seem to share more in common than what sets them apart from one another. “Setting off alongside and so close to the Rafale Marine was an incredible experience," explains Pierre-Henri Raphanel. To which Etienne adds: “The Chiron Sport is the ideal vehicle for navy pilots."



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