• Jun 29, 2009
Bugatti Veyron vs. McLaren F1 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Episode 2 of Top Gear's 13th season aired last night in the UK, and the main event was a one-mile drag race between the McLaren F1 and the Bugatti Veyron. Notice that we didn't say a McLaren F1 and a Bugatti Veyron. These two supercars are so super (and rare) that any single example tends to represent the whole run of each, and since your chances of encountering two of either kind in the same place are practically nill, they might as well be the only ones in existence.

The Top Gear crew chose Abu Dhabi as the location for its supercar shootout. With an arid climate that sees practically no rain or freezing-and-thawing cycles, the roads in Abu Dhabi are long, straight and, most importantly, free of pot holes. Richard Hammond chooses to pilot the Bug and The Stig takes the centrally located wheel of the F1. We won't spoil the results except to say that this is the most real and nail-biting competition that we've seen on Top Gear in a long time.

Follow the jump
to watch yesteryear's supercar, the McLaren F1, go head-to-head with today's top dog, the Bugatti Veyron. Thanks for the tip, Will!

[Source: YouTube]



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  • 65 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's the thing that gets me with the McLaren F1 (which for me is a tie with the Enzo for best/coolest supercar ever): You could take the McLaren, roll it into a showroom today and call it a 2009 model year and no one would question it. The styling is still so fresh. Compare that to the other supercars of the time (F40, XJ220, etc.) and they all look like they belong in the 90s. Seeing the McLaren beside the Veyron, there just wasn't a stark contrast visually between old and new. I bet that in another 15 years it will still look as fresh (and will likely have ousted the Enzo for me and will be reigning supreme in my motoring dreams).

      In any event, I was all grins after that drag race last night. Schumacher and the FXX last week, F1 and Veyron this week...what's left????
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think this was hilarious. The only thing that the Bugatti has is it's top speed, as seen by the distance the F1 put on it for about a half mile. The Mclaren F1 is and will always be the King of all supercars. No other manufacturer can lay claim like Mclaren and the F1.

      -In the 24 hours of Le Mans, the Mclaren F1 placed 4 out of 5 in the top 5, with a 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th finish overall (In the GT1 class mind you). No other car has debuted at Le Mans with that kind of dominance.

      -The F1 LM held the very coveted 0-100-0mph test for almost a decade

      -It held the top speed record for a decade.Mario Andretti said about the car in a comparison test of supercars of that time, "the F1 is fully capable of pulling a seventh gear, thus with a higher gear ratio or a seventh gear the McLaren F1 would probably be able to reach an even greater top speed -- something which can also be observed by noticing that the top speed was reached at 7800 rpm while the peak power is reached at 7400 RPM."*....what's the point right?

      Well the Mclaren F1 does this, NATURALLY ASPIRATED, while the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg CCX, and SSC Aero (who are the only cars faster) all use forced induction in the form of turbos (4 on the W12 in the Bugati), and superchargers (on the CCX, and SSC)

      When a car is produced that can beat the F1 in all 3 categories I Iisted, than I can concede that the Mclaren F1 has been outdone, but until then, it will still reign supreme as the KING of all supercars...

      *wikipedia.org
        JDM Life
        • 5 Years Ago
        Stop your crying.



        It got beat. Sure the veryon and other cars are using turbos and what not but who said thay cant? Things and time change old tech vs new tech...F1 vs Veyron.

        New tech wins. The F1 got balls...but the Veyron just has more. I mean just look at the gap the veyron start pulling...which by facts it should have lead from the start of the race. But I guess driver is to be held accountable. Veryon is faster to 60 and 100 compared to the F1.


        Plus anyway......since you want to complain about the Veyron havin turbos [since when was that unfair when some cars today put out more horsepower NA then some turboed cars...ex 335i and 370z]....the FERRARI FXX which is NATURALLY ASPIRATED would eat the McLaren on the drag and on the track.


        Take that and shove it....FXX > F1. Veyron > F1. The FXX is also the fastest around the Top Gear track....buy far too.


        The McLaren F1 is a awesome car...but just out matched by todays top kings. Period.

      • 5 Years Ago
      The shot at 5:05 was clearly epic. I don't even use that word..

      This episode was really enchanting.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was surprised to see that they didn't put the Veyron into top speed mode, as you could see in multiple shots that the Veyron had the spoiler up while racing against the F1. Not saying that that would have made a HUGE difference, just that it could have helped as well as a better start. Oh well, Top Gear has always been about the thrill of having a close finish, so I'm sure they probably did it this way to make it more entertaining and that's part of the reason the show is so awesome.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was in high speed mode if you see at the finish line, the spoiler was down and we all know with the veyron if the spoiler goes up it aint coming back down again till you put the key in the side sill socket and twist

        probs just down to Top gear editing team
      • 5 Years Ago
      Epic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You don't realise how far ahead technologicaly the Bugatti is from the McLaren, the Bugatti is is a luxury car with a sumptuous interior, airbags, auto and manual gearbox and Clarkson proved you cam drive it across Europe and not be uncomfortbale. The McLaren is breathtaking also and being a Brit I have to love the great cars we produce (Did you know the Radical SR1 is the fastest car roung the Nurburgring, another homegrown product) it is more compromised than the Bugatti. I love both cars though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      wow get a grip nerds it wasn't that funny
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hammond probably dipped that fat bug's nose behind the F1 to take advantage of the drafting effect before shooting around.

      Fun race! Now take them on a road course and see who wins.
      • 5 Years Ago
      To Hiimandy1:

      That's exactly what i'm talking about, we've seen in the past that cars like the Zonda were easily outrun by the Veyron, so i don't see how it was possible for the F1 to make a better start than the Veyron.

      Maybe it depends on the driver, we all know that the The Stig, who ever he is, is a much better driver than Hammond..

      ..Or maybe because the Mclaren is British..
      I hope i didn't upset anyone..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man, I'd trade my '91 Sundance for EITHER one of those rides.

      Except, you know, the $50,000/month insurance would kill me after the first 3 hours on the first day, and all... And my gas bill would be most untenable.

      And, I'd have to go to Abu Dhabi with Garfield the cat (or, y'know, the German Autobahn) in order to max it out on a public road.

      But still, that's some sweet carbon fiber.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A 1993 Sundance (Or Shadow 'vert) with V6 and 5 speed though..... Might be a TOUGH CALL! :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm still more impressed by the McLaren F1:
      - 15 year old technology
      - Faster at the start (quarter mile?)
      - Rawer, lighter, better sounding, and dare I say, better looking
        • 5 Years Ago
        100% agree. It looks like the F1 may even have taken it at the half-mile.

        Also, shouldn't the Veyron have got to 60 in ~2.5 secs (per quoted performance figures)? Even if the F1's better power/weight would carry it through the 1/4 and 1/2 faster, I thought the Veyron's 4WD would have given it a bit of a jump off the line. Nice launch by the Stig, apparently.
        • 5 Years Ago
        http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7282272417299848915&ei=FhJJSvCiBKHaqAKjlLiKBg&q=McLaren+F1+ehra
        Salient points: hitting the rev limiter at 235mph 4:25
        :they bring the car back in and raise the limiter (and maybe tweak air:fuel / spark)
        See Andy upshifting at 8000 (indicated) out of 4th/5th gear 11:40

        The F1 could have tied if the rev limiter was raised.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love Top Gear, and i don't want to spoil the result of the drag race, but don't you think that the drag race was a little bit fake? (not the one between the Merc and the Lambo)

      Maybe i am wrong, i never driven those cars and my chances to drive them one day are nearly nill..so maybe i have a wrong estimation of their capabilities...

      However, seing those two iconic hyper cars head to head was a great pleasure.
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