Interesting interview here with Pierre-Henri Raphanel, the record setting driver of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 SuperSport who achieved 267.81 mph. Nice read!
What does going 268mph in a Veyron feel like?
It’s basically a mental exercise. Physically, you have to do nothing more than to keep your right foot flat out. But at that speed, if anything happens, you can be sure that you won’t be coming back to the pits to tell what was the problem. And that is what is making the pressure, the excitement. The night before I could not sleep because I was so stressed. When I woke up, I looked at the alarm [clock] and it said 4:27. And the next day on my first run I did 427 kilometers per hour. And two days after setting the record I continued to sleep badly because of the stress and the adrenaline and I was waking up at 4:26 and was like I was also cooling down and the speed on the clock was also slowing down.
As a driver, is there a difference between going 268 and going, say, “just” 250?
When you’re driving 250 in a Veyron, the car is completely solid, it doesn’t move and you can nearly do that with two fingers. When you’re trying to do the speed record, there is an interaction between the tarmac and the car that you cannot notice when you’re going 250. When you start to go 260, 265, 270 the car is a little bit following where the tarmac is telling to the car to go. And it’s a strange feeling because you are not really in control as a driver. You don’t know where it’s going to end up. You don’t have any interaction with the steering because it’s too fast and you don’t want to move anything. So it’s like an unknown situation because nobody has been there before, even at the factory in practice. It’s quite stressful.