The race to 300 mph now includes pot shots and back-handed compliments

John Hennessey thinks Bugatti is playing possum when it comes to the Bugatti Chiron’s top speed. Speaking with Motor Authority, the founder and owner of Hennessey Performance claims that the French automaker is “sandbaggin’” the abilities of the Chiron as the race to hit a 300-mph top speed heats up in the supercar world. If Hennessey’s claims are correct and Bugatti is intentionally downplaying the Chiron’s performance abilities, it adds another wrinkle to a budding rivalry that’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Is Bugatti Sandbaggin' The Chiron's Top Speed? Hennessey Thinks So High Resolution Exterior
- image 685575

How fun must it be to belong in a niche segment where you’re throwing back-handed compliments to your rivals, believing that they’re not putting their best foot forward when it comes to their full potential. That’s what John Hennessey was alluding to in his conversation with Motor Authority regarding Bugatti and the Chiron hypercar.

According to Hennessey, the French automaker is “sandbaggin’” the Chiron’s full capabilities.

For those who are not familiar with the term, “sandbaggin’” is widely used in drag racing circles to denote that a driver is intentionally going slower to create a false sense of confidence among the competition.

Only when the competition drops its guard does the driver unleash the full potential of his car, leaving everyone, specifically his rivals, in states of shock over how a race went down. The term is, for all intents and purpose, a back-handed compliment.

In this instance, Hennessey is calling Bugatti out for not divulging the strengths of the Chiron, knowing full well that the hypercar is potentially faster than it’s being touted. Hennessey’s claims come with some merit, too. The Chiron, after all, is powered by an 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W-16 engine that produces a whopping 1,479 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. Hennessey’s gripe comes from the fact that Bugatti hasn’t officially lifted the 261-mph speed limiter on the Chiron, a common practice for cars that go on top speed runs, something that Bugatti is also uninterested in doing for the time being.

Is Bugatti Sandbaggin' The Chiron's Top Speed? Hennessey Thinks So High Resolution Exterior
- image 685582

Hennessey believes that if Bugatti turned off its speed limiter on the Chiron, the hypercar would be capable of achieving a top speed of 280 to 285 mph, which would be enough to reclaim the fastest production car title from Koenigsegg and the Agera RS. The Swedish hypercar bumped the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport from its lofty perch last year when it recorded a top speed of almost 278 mph. The problem with that scenario is that Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann isn’t in any rush to reclaim the crown from Koenigsegg. Winkelmann said as much, telling CNBC earlier this year that “the speed test is not my priority.”

This leaves people like Hennessey, who has his own hypercar monster, the Venom GT, thinking that Bugatti, for whatever reason, is playing coy on the rest of the segment as they try to one-up each other in the race towards 300 mph.

In any event, we know that Hennessey isn’t going to let Bugatti keep it from achieving its own goal of hitting 300 mph with the Venom F5. It already has a 300-mph top speed run scheduled for 2019, and if it succeeds in hitting that mark, you can be sure that John Hennessey is going to let everyone know about it, Bugatti included.

Further Reading

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 667473
Bugatti Chiron 2.3 Seconds

Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.

The Buggati Chiron Sport Weighs Less, Gets Carbon Fiber Wipers and a New Exhaust Layout; Costs an Extra $1 Million Exterior
- image 772079

Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron Sport.

Source: Motor Authority

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: