Bugatti Chiron Le Mans 7

The 2016 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is one for the history books. The way Toyota’s quest for its first ever Le Mans win ended was heartbreaking – leading the pack throughout the night and seemingly cruising to victory, the #5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima suffered a breakdown on the final lap, handing a surprise victory to the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. 263,500 jaws dropped along with mine.

Plenty of action at the historic Circuit de la Sarthe, but the activity and buzz surrounding the race was as engaging. Traditionally, the town of Le Mans will host the drivers’ parade the day before the iconic endurance race starts, with the drivers sitting on open top classic and exotic machinery to soak up the adulation. Packed and festive, it was great fun.

And there were surprises in store. Never mind the supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche rolling past, because the Bugatti Chiron made a surprise appearance at the driver’s parade through town, and went for a track exercise the following day, before the day-long race started. Yours truly managed to snap a couple of pics of the four-wheeled star on the two occasions, and you can also check out the video above to “get the feel” of the event.

The Chiron needs no introduction. Son of Veyron, it was unveiled at the Geneva show in March, and has remained rather elusive since. Under the curvy carbon fibre skin lies an 8.0 litre W16 engine with 25% more power than its predecessor. Vital stats: 1,500 hp, 1,600 Nm of torque, 420 km/h top speed, 300 hp more than the Bugatti Veyron SuperSport.

Instantly recognisable as the king of the hypercar pack, the 2.4 million euro Chiron is quite a sight. Its next appearance will be at this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, where it will climb the Sussex hill.

GALLERY: Bugatti Chiron