THE RACING gloves are off: Bugatti has slapped down a claim by a rival car maker to have broken the speed record that it regards as rightfully its own.
The spat between the European maker of the Veyron hypercar and America’s Hennessey is the latest in a succession of skirmishes over who can lay claim to the title of fastest production car in the world.
The most recent incident was sparked last week, when Hennessey released a video of its Venom supercar reaching 270.49mph — a fraction faster than Bugatti’s record speed of 268.86mph, achieved in 2010.
The action took place on the space shuttle landing strip at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, prompting John Hennessey, president of the Texan company, to announce: “I am humbled to have had the opportunity to set our speed record on the hallowed grounds of the American space programme.”
Bugatti was unimpressed. It has dismissed the American claim, pointing out that observers for Guinness World Records were not in attendance and that the speed was set on a single run, not as the two-run average Guinness requires. “Nothing has changed,” said a Bugatti spokesman. “Bugatti still holds the official Guinness land-speed world record for production cars.”
This is not the first challenge to the record that Bugatti has faced. In April last year it was stripped of the title after Hennessey pointed out that because the Veyron Super Sport’s electronic speed limiter had been disabled for the attempt, it was no longer a genuine production car. Guinness reversed its decision just days later.
Guinness has yet to comment on the latest Hennessey claim. Not that this has stopped the Americans celebrating: in the official video of the event, Hennessey presents the driver, Brian Smith, with a certificate that the company appears to have printed itself.