How royal (very) rich boys go dicing

  • The Veyron has, since 2005, been King of Hypercars
  • Brit earl and Croatian commoner have at it on track
  • Glam coast road ripped up as car giants clash
BOYS' TOYS: Bugatti Veyron goes up against Croatian dragon.
BOYS’ TOYS: Snarling at each other? The chosen steeds of the “knights of the road” – Veyron left, Rimac Concept One right) before they and their owners challenged each other in Croatia. Image: Newspress dragon

LONDON, England – Once-upon-a-time in Olde Englande two nobles having a matter of honour to settle would don armour, tell their squires to bring their chargers (large horses), lances and swords, and have, as they say, at it.

There could be only one winner: he who proved craven and caved or fought to the end and, consequently, died, was the loser. Everybody, including the local villagers, went home satisfied and nobody went to jail.

How times have changed! Lord Pembroke (a.k.a. William Herbert, 15th Earl of Montgomery,  Right Honorable 18th Earl of Pembroke, Baron of Cardiff, Baron of Shurland, Baron of Lea) whose family has, for the past 400 years, lived at Wilton House, near Salisbury in the English county of Wiltshire.

WILLIE P. ENJOYS A CHALLENGE

The land was perhaps taken by conquest but, hey, who the hell cared back then? It was going on all over what used to be the Roman empire, a civilisation that perfected the art of colonisation, until the local tribes decided they had had enough of Italian immigrant labour building roads, fine buildings, sewerage, aqueducts, bridges over gorges and a couple of high walls right across the island and forced them to leave.

Like, one hopes, his forebears, the Hon. Willie P. also enjoys a challenge. Except his steed is a Bugatti Veyron (“oh, doesn’t everyone have one, old chap?”, his armour a seat belt or body harness, and his weapon an enormously powerful engine.

So, when the chance came to pitch his pride and joy against the latest technological tour de force from Croatia – the Rimac Concept One electric supercar – he didn’t have to think twice. Willie P. is, after all, founder of the Wilton Classic & Supercar show – an annual supercar and classics gathering due to be revived in 2017.

BOYS' TOYS: Bugatti Veyron goes up against Croatian dragon.
BOYS’ TOYS: All lads together as the two million(billion?)aires (the earl is on the left) take turns driving each other’s car. Image: Newspress

He saddled-up his R42-million* and much-loved Bugatti Veyron – one of a number the family has owned – and rode out on a fact-finding mission to Croatia to meet Gospodin (Mr) Mate Rimac.

Actually, perhaps Willie P. flew and sent the Bugatti on a car-carrier…

Whatever, Rimac is a 28-year-old Croatian tech entrepreneur and auto industry ‘disruptor’ whose new battery-powered supercar is setting standards for performance in the exotic car realm and even selling in the US.

It’s said to be the current fastest-accelerating car in the world and so something of a glove-klap / gauntlet-down challenge to Willie P. who decided to pitch his ‘ferocious’ Veyron (described by his PR people – something perhaps the Romans could have used? – as “a true supercar icon”) against the magical Croatian dragon.

BOYS' TOYS: Bugatti Veyron goes up against Croatian dragon.
BOYS’ TOYS: Drag-strip run by the Bugatti Veyron against the Croatian dragon. Image: Newspress

The latest video in a series of five the incredible comparison with Willie P. and Rimac’s official test driver, Miroslav Zrncevic, swopping steeds on-track.

“Looking forward to technology driving future car performance will,” Willie P. believes, “be one of the most fascinating elements of the revival of the Wilton Classic & Supercar event. We wanted to get to know our new friends at Rimac as part of that journey of discovery.”

In olden days would that have been classified as spying? Take a look at some of Willie P.’s forebears…

“It’s fair to say the Wilton team returned from Croatia having been blown away by the technology built into the Concept One and awed by the single-minded dedication of the man behind it.”

Now, he says he can’t wait to share some of that Rimac magic at his upcoming country fayre over June 3-4.

BOYS' TOYS: Bugatti Veyron goes up against Croatian dragon.
BOYS’ TOYS: Bugatti Veyron (right) diced the Croatian dragon along the Adriatic Coast Road – a sort of copy of the Western Cape’s eastern False Bay highway. Image: Newspress

While the electric Concept One marks Mate Rimac as a far-sighted technologist he – like Willie P. – is first and foremost a petrolhead. The two struck up a great relationship as Willie P. allowed Mate to fulfil his own long-held ambition of getting behind the wheel of a Veyron.

In return, the British minor royal was allowed to sample the acceleration, control and handling of the quad-motor ‘torque-vectored’ Concept One. He enlarged: “My Bugatti is astonishingly fast once it’s rolling and the turbo spools up but the real eye-opener is the hit of instant acceleration of the Rimac – the motors provide all their torque from the moment the accelerator is floored.

“The other thing was the cornering. With an electric motor powering each wheel the Rimac has the ultimate cornering system.”

RICH BOYS IN DAWN DRAG DUEL

As well as swopping cars for a high-speed blast along Croatia’s famous Adriatic Coast Road, Willie P.’s visit was also an opportunity for the Veyron’s handling to be compared with the Concept One on track. He also toured the Rimac plant. You can see them all the Wilton Classic & Supercar YouTube channel.

Indeed, the visit’s highlight was a dawn drag duel between Veyron and Rimac Concept One at a secret location near the Rimac factory in Zagreb – the results of which will be revealed on video soon!

Meanwhile, the first videos from the trip are on YouTube. Their titles are:

Bugatti Veyron unloaded at Rimac HQ
Concept One and Veyron storm the Adriatic Coast Road
Concept One and Veyron take to the track

*Converted from estimated price in the United States

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