The Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, was built when NASA decided it wanted to reuse its space rockets. It was used by the Space Shuttle for landing until July 2011. The 3.0-mile section of the landing facility is now used for high-speed testing and just recently, a few Bugatti owners were given the privilege to push their cars to the limits. It turns out, another very interesting speed chase also happened during the Straight Line Aerodynamic Testing event by the French firm.
TopGear decided to see if a Bugatti Chiron Super Sport can hit a higher top speed than the speed of the Space Shuttle when touching the ground. A quick check at NASA’s official site shows the rocket still travels at 110 metres per second at main gear touchdown, which is around 246 miles per hour or almost 396 kilometres per hour. When the drag chute is deployed, that speed drops to approximately 95 metres per second (212.5 mph / 342 kph). Quite a velocity for the Chiron to beat.
Gallery: Bugatti Chiron Super Sport First Customer Deliveries
To beat that, the hypercar puts to use its phenomenal quad-turbo W16 engine shared with the Centodieci. With an output of 1,577 bhp (1,176 kilowatts), the Super Sport can hit 124 mph (200 kph) from a standstill in just 5.8 seconds. However, the top speed is more important here and according to Bugatti’s factory numbers, the vehicle can hit 273 mph (440 kph). On paper, this should be more than enough to beat the Space Shuttle’s landing speed but there are many factors that affect the real-world performance in this speed test.
During the event with the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds at the Shuttle Landing Facility, a few attempts beyond the 249-mph (401-kph) mark were registered. We don’t want to spoil the results from this run but it’s more than obvious that a Chiron Super Sport can easily outrun the landing speed of the Space Shuttle. Or any space rocket that ever landed on the facility. The effortless way the hypercar hits that speed is even more impressive, though.