Natgeo’s feature on the Bugatti Chiron runs through the extensive creative process ranging from engineering, design, science and the physics that defines the automotive work of art. The tension is harnessing Nature through pushing the physical boundaries based on technical circumstances with a single focus of doing something beyond 10x better then the previous creation.
CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer emphasized the challenge is to create a unique piece of art in a highly developed competitive ecosystem and a high level of creative people thinking of new innovative solutions. Originally inspired by solving solutions for motorcyles, Dürheimer then lead the Porche 911 R&D department and eventually took on Bucattii where new problems had to be solved. The intention to push physics to its limits to demonstrate how fast you can go means every micro process within the macro is equally critical.
The first core optimization is the combustable engine horsepower utilizing the 2nd law of thermodynamics whose origins traces back to Isaac Newton’s force = mass x acceleration. Harnessing Nature’s force of entropy spans all of car history and is the fundamental basis to industry innovation. The engine took 3 years of nonstop intense human labor, but only 6 days to assemble. The key is the 4 turbo charges innovative cooling pump system and the ability to control energy.
Achim Ascnhedit spent over 10 years, hundreds of sketches and models utilizing his childhood experiences growing up in the pit lanes. The first stages are defined by hand on paper, then digitized eventually scaled to a life size sculpture to define air paths traveling the body. By determining where air lives allows the ability to measure how air flows. The impact of the aerodynamics to the car is tested ultimately to harness wind. Air wraps around the car and is sucked into the air intake then lead into the engine system.
Max capabilities means max testing facilities are required to achieve the 4k horsepower needed to exceed 400 km/h. That’s the equivalent speed of the car spanning two 747 airplanes in 1 second. The new brake is 3x more powerful then the engine and new Michelin tires was specialized to handle traction and distance. Rig tests simulates 1 year on the road for durability and stiffness. Then personal tests are to evaluate the prototype for further improvement and verify all parts function in harmony. The car assembly resembles a formula one protocol with no robots involved and the interior is hand crafted in France.
Italian chassis manufacturer Dallara Automobili develops a unique carbon fiber monocoque using the exterior shape for support. Focusing on 3d groomers and 100k real world simulation scenarios to create 50 n m degrees of stiffness. The fundamental concept is derived from Nature’s honey comb carbon sandwich structure in bee hives used mainly for aerospace technology. The 150 layers and 1500 hours needed to assemble the carbon fiber is enough to stretch from earth to the moon 9 times.
Technical necessity drives you to the design solution that’s unique to it’s inevitability, that isn’t obvious in the beginning. The complexity of achieving visionary goals is a matter of how effectively the simplest problems are solved. Reinforcing the timeless design principle of form follows function. In the case of the Bugatti Chiron specifically performance.