Engineers from Bugatti have recently conducted routine straight-line aerodynamic testing of the Chiron hypercar at a very special location: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
While acceleration was the focus at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds – the Shuttle Landing Facility operated by Space Florida –, the team also treated former astronaut Jon A. McBride to a high-speed drive on the very same runway where he landed a space shuttle.
“I’ve been on as many craft as you can think of at sea. I’ve flown in space. But the ride in this Bugatti today was one of the highlights of my entire life,” said McBride, who can be seen pictured alongside the Chiron in our gallery above. “It was a real pleasure.”
Such aerodynamic testing typically requires precision, length and good weather, which is why Bugatti chose the Shuttle Landing Facility. Not only is it impeccably maintained to meet NASA’s very high scientific standards, it is also claimed to be one of the most level runways in the world. Additionally, the mild Florida winter is said to have contributed to what were described as “ideal testing conditions”.
And to conduct the tests, the French carmaker’s engineering team used a production vehicle with a two-tone exterior of maroon and black exposed carbon-fibre and a complementary red and black interior. The 1479 bhp Chiron is capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in just 2.4 seconds.
McBride said of the Chiron’s acceleration: “I think compared to what I’ve flown the Chiron is probably as good or out-performs them. I mean I’ve felt some good acceleration in my life, but I don’t think anything better than what I experienced today.” One of the few men to spend time in space, he further called the Chiron “a man’s dream”.