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Bugatti with speed record on the A2: The Czech's insane record drive


The high-speed drive of a Czech contractor has outraged many, the public prosecutor is investigating. Because while there's no speed limit, the frenzy might have been illegal - and what role did Bugatti play?

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Photo: Marin Tomas/Getty Images

In the beginning there is a but.

Czech contractor Radim Passer explains at the beginning of a video he posted on YouTube that he had always wanted to test the top speed of his Bugatti super sports cars.

"But I wanted to do it safely and legally."

And yet he didn't try it on a private test track, but on the A2 autobahn in Saxony-Anhalt.

In the end, the speedometer showed 414 km/h, the GPS device presented in another video measured 417 km/h - record in road traffic, Passer celebrated his "success" extensively.

In addition to recognition among speed junkies, Passer also reaped public displeasure, criticism from the Federal Ministry of Transport and now also investigations by the police.

For sure?


does that work?

Is that even allowed?

That cannot be said so clearly.

Even without a speed limit, according to Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act, you have to drive in such a way that you “constantly control the vehicle”.

Above all, one has to adapt the tempo to the external circumstances as well as to "one's personal abilities."

Whether that was the case here depends on the circumstances – and how you assess them from a legal point of view.

According to Siegfried Brockmann, Head of Accident Research at the insurers, there is “de facto a kind of speed limit”: In the event of an accident, the courts use the standard speed of 130 km/h as a guide.

Since - as far as is known - there was no damage, no fine would be due, despite the fact that the speed may not have been adjusted.

However, since 2017, a criminal offense has also been considered, "running alone".

This is regulated in Section 315d of the Criminal Code.

Unauthorized races with several vehicles are then punishable anyway.

In Passer's video you can still see some escort vehicles.

According to paragraph 1 number 3, however, anyone who drives alone "as a motor vehicle driver at an inappropriate speed and grossly contrary to traffic and recklessly moves in order to achieve the highest possible speed" is also liable to prosecution.

Whether this was the case here is currently being examined in a preliminary investigation.

After all, Passer himself declared his trip to be a record attempt - but the other points must also be fulfilled.

Such a crime would only become statute-barred after three years. In February 2021, the Federal Court of Justice confirmed a verdict for “running alone” for the first time. However, it was about a deadly frenzy in downtown Stuttgart. How this is to be assessed in the case of a super sports car accelerated to more than 400 km/h on a largely, but not completely empty motorway - without speed limit - has not yet been judicially clarified.

"Anyone who drives a normal car, which is capped at around 250 km/h, on a largely empty motorway does not have to expect criminal liability per se," says Markus Schäpe, head of the legal center of the ADAC.

An expert may have to clarify whether a Bugatti Chiron can still be controlled at a speed of 417 on the motorway in the specific situation.

This is the only way to identify and punish a crime, even if it is obvious "that 417 km/h is not a good idea".

At this speed, the braking distance is 490 meters – at least

"The worst thing is that these people think they can control it," says accident researcher Brockmann about extreme speeders.

According to the road traffic regulations, you are only allowed to drive so fast »that you can stop within the foreseeable distance«.

Passer denies the allegation of having acted recklessly and irresponsibly. He explains that the Bugatti Chiron can brake from 400 km/h to zero in nine seconds or 490 meters. Visibility was two to three kilometers. Bugatti also generally answered the question of whether it was still safe to drive at this speed with a »yes«. This was also ensured by brake flaps like on a jet.

The reaction time of the driver is added to the stopping distance.

Accident researcher Brockmann calculates, according to his information very generously with regard to a driver "concentrated to the fingertips", with one second.

At 400 km/h, 111 meters have already been covered before anything happens.

He also doubts the abrupt, trouble-free braking.

From the perception of an obstacle to stopping you have to reckon with almost a kilometer.

"It's an absolute theory that you can still stop there in time" if something happens.

The so-called “principle of trust” can also play a role: In general, you can trust that obstacles or other disruptive influences will not suddenly appear.

But the question is whether, at such an extreme speed, a bird might be expected to fly over the road – and whether the car would still be controllable even then.

Since Passer didn't have the autobahn all to himself, the danger is also determined by the behavior of the others.

Brockmann thinks it is "completely impossible" for someone in the car ahead to react in time to a vehicle shooting up from behind at 400 km/h when changing lanes.

What role does the manufacturer play?

The YouTube video states that Bugatti checked the car before attempting the record and declared it safe for trips beyond 400 km/h.

According to Passer, the company congratulated him on a previous record run when he reached 402.5 km/h in a Bugatti Veyron – also on the A2 – in 2015.

Bugatti states that it was not informed of the plans and was not involved in them.

You distance yourself from any behavior that specifically endangers the safety of road users.

Acting responsibly is a priority for the company.

This also includes "in our opinion, the use of our vehicles at high speeds".

However, Bugatti does not want to make any further assessments of the specific case in view of possible investigations by the public prosecutor.

Bugatti offers four different driving modes ex works.

The »Topspeed« mode beyond 380 km/h is also expressly provided, which has to be activated with a separate »Speedkey«.

Why doesn't the company lock the cars down to a maximum speed of 250 km/h, as most German manufacturers have done since 1987?

In the super sports car sector, nobody does that, is Bugatti's answer.

Bugatti advertises itself again and again with speed records.

The Bugatti Chiron even drove more than 490 km/h in 2019.

However, that was not on a public road, but on the test track of the parent company Volkswagen in Ehra-Lessien, Lower Saxony.

On another test track in Nevada, with a slight incline and because of the lower air resistance at high altitude, one would have expected 25 km/h more.

But Bugatti did not implement the plan.

Safety first, the manufacturer explained.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-01-26

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