A Decade Later, Bugatti’s Veyron is Still An Engineering Marvel
Stresses and strengths of the transmission alone are staggering to comprehend.
Technical achievements in a car are always rather fascinating, especially when new barriers are approached, and overcome. For over a century now, engineers and builders have been chasing top speeds and headline grabbing numbers, but Volkswagen, in an effort to bring back the Bugatti name in the early 2000’s, wanted to hit astronomical numbers, and align them with something never achieved in tandem before: serenity.
Being able to create large sums of horsepower is a fairly easy task, however, putting it to the ground is where things get complicated. Ricardo, a leader in small-scale and innovative transmissions, was an easy choice for Volkswagen group to contract for the Veyron’s gearbox and drive systems. Demands for the drive system were an incredible breakthrough in ability to handle power, while also retaining perfectly smooth function, and adding incredible durability.
According to this fascinating report by Ricardo detailing the challenges to overcome, nearly 50 engineers and transmission experts were on task not only to create the Veyron’s driveline, but to have it ready in a timely manner as well. Keep in mind, this was a massive undertaking and expense to Volkswagen, who lost money on every Veyron sold. Now that’s dedication to one-upsmanship.
ALSO SEE: Bugatti Chiron Driven: 1,500 Horsepower of Engineering Excellence
Very interesting facts and figures emerge from this report. First off, this was a production car released in 2004 that featured a dual-clutch gearbox. A 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, no less. Electronics controlling the transmission are specifically incompatible with each other as a failsafe. This ensures that the 7-speed dual-clutch design cannot select multiple gears at once. For durability, the car was used in over 200 full-throttle launches, with testing coming to an end not because of a failure, but a lack of daylight to continue. Ricardo’s engineers noted that no excessive wear or failures occurred during this testing. As well, the extended parts of the driveline, including the all-wheel drive system, had to be able to handle the stresses, and play a key role in the car’s advanced traction control system.
And yet, it was also asked of Ricardo to make sure the transmission could operate completely “behind the scenes.” In essence, a Bugatti driver should be able to select “Drive” and let the transmission smoothly and silently go about its business.
After a decade of speeding along our roads, the Veyron’s advancements can now be seen in the new Chiron, pushing the limits of what’s possible ever farther than imagined.