WATCH: Bugatti Chiron Sport races Dassault Rafale Marine jet

PARIS: A car pitted against a jet plane is a scenario that has been done to death but it never fails to draw attention.

And so a new round of the same thing happened again. New car, new plane. This time in France where the Bugatti Chiron Sport ‘Les Légendes du Ciel' was lined up against a French navy jet plane.

It's 1,500PS/1,600Nm versus 5,727PS/58,550Nm.

The car was driven by Bugatti's Pierre-Henri Raphanel while the plane was piloted by frigate captain identified only as Etienne.

The event took place recently at the naval base in Landivisiau, north-west France.

This is not the first time Bugatti has organised such a publicity stunt.

A Veyron 16.4 took on a Eurofighter Typhoon in a drag race in 2007.

In the current match-up, the Chiron Sport and the Dassault Rafale Marine are seeing how they measure up against one another in acceleration, torque and braking behavior.

Bugatti has held close links with the aviation world for more than 110 years. Many of the successful Bugatti race car drivers, such as Albert Divo, Robert Benoist, and Bartolomeo “Meo” Costantini, flew for the French Air Force at the beginning of the last century.


The French aviator, Roland Garros, owned a Bugatti Type 18 in order to be as fast on the ground as he was in the air.

Bugatti to unveil the Chiron Sport ‘Les Le´gendes du Ciel’ at the end of last year, limited to just 20 units. It is the French luxury marque’s way of honouring French aviation and the former Bugatti drivers of the golden age who also piloted airplanes.

The limited edition Bugatti features attributes to aircraft, such as the Gris Serpent matte grey paintwork and the blue, white, and red Tricolor, which adorns the front of the side skirts made from black visible carbon fiber.

The bars of the radiator grille are made from laser-cut, deep-drawn aluminum and are reminiscent of planes in a flyby formation. A brushed aluminum door sill panel with the lettering ‘Les Le´gendes du Ciel’ identifies the edition.


It has a leather interior in the Gaucho colour which is reminiscent of the natural leather used in airplanes in the past. This natural material is contrasted with aluminum trims and an aluminum inlay featuring the ‘Les Le´gendes du Ciel’ logo, which also features on the headrests.

On the door panels, there is a sketch of a racing scene between the Nieuport 17 airplane and a Bugatti Type 13 that represents the two historical links commemorated by the limited edition hyper sports car.

The appropriate power is provided by an 8.0-litre W16 engine. A seven-gear dual-clutch transmission transfers the power to all four tyres. The edition retails at a net price of €2.88 million (RM14.6mil) .


Alongside the Chiron Sport is the Rafale Marine, the pride of French Navy aviation.

The twin-engine jet has been in the service of the French armed forces since 2000. It has a dry weight of 10.3 tons, a maximum weight of 24.5 tons and is used for a variety of tasks.

With its length of 15.5m and a wingspan of 10.86m, the Rafale Marine – in single-seater configuration for the Navy – can achieve a top speed of more than 1.6 Mach or around 1,975kph.

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.


To cut a long story short, Bugatti and the French navy reached a consensus that the competition was a draw.

According to Bugatti, both machines share more in common than what sets them apart – in terms of technology and driving/flying behaviour as well as emotionally. “Setting off alongside and so close to the Rafale Marine was an incredible experience,” said Raphanel. To which Etienne added: “The Chiron Sport is the ideal vehicle for navy pilots.”


Autos Bugatti