You may know Andy Wallace for a few different things.
If not for recently taking a Bugatti Chiron Super Sport to 300mph, it will be for taking a McLaren F1 to 240mph, winning at Le Mans on his first try or winning the Daytona 24 Hours three times. Bugatti’s ‘pilote officiel’ has enjoyed – and is still enjoying – quite the career.
These days, many weeks it involves climbing into his own Volkswagen ID 3 in Buckinghamshire and driving to the Bugatti factory in Molsheim, a town in Alsace, north-eastern France, taking less than an hour to charge. So perhaps it feels like he hasn’t entirely stopped endurance racing, where the less time you spend stationary the better.
The Molsheim gaff is cool. It’s the original home of the Bugatti factory and, despite Croatian EV specialist Rimac taking some kind of control of the company alongside Porsche (of the Volkswagen Group), it looks like it will stay that way.
When the Volkswagen Group revived Bugatti in 1998, group bosses thought that customers would probably go to Wolfsburg – group headquarters – to take delivery of or specify their cars, have them serviced and so on. Not so. The leafy Molsheim campus, with a small museum and reception rooms in a few stable blocks and an orangery, roaming deer and its original château alongside a contemporary assembly plant and servicing operation, has become the draw for owners of the multi-million-pound hypercars constructed on site.
One of them was then driven up to 300mph by Wallace at the Volkswagen Group’s Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany. So how was that, Andy?
“Well,” he says, with a pause and an infectious laugh. “You could lie and say ‘it’s fantastic; you should try it’. But in all honesty, it really does get your attention, because we’re talking about 140 metres per second, which is a kilometre in seven seconds and a mile in around 11 seconds, so it’s all happening pretty quickly