Automotive Nirvana: Drifting a Bugatti Chiron on Ice in Austria

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He's known as the 'Herminator' thanks to his four World Cup titles, two Olympic gold medals, three World Championship titles, and 54 World Cup race victories – Hermann Maier is simply one of the greatest alpine ski racers ever. And while his usual mode of transport on icy terrain is a pair of skis, Maier recently traded them in for a 1,480 horsepower Bugatti Chiron on the ice tracks of Altenmarkt im Pongau in Austria.

The $3 million hypercar is equipped with an 8-liter W16 engine, making it one of the most powerful vehicles ever put through its paces at the famed winter test track where ice races are frequently held. 

The Chiron boasts permanent all-wheel drive and near-perfect weight distribution making it the ideal car for going hell-for-leather in a wintry landscape. The Chiron can accelerate from 0–60 mph in just 2.4 seconds, hitting 125 mph in just 6.5 seconds on its way to an eye-popping top speed of 261 mph. 

The epic drift fest was photographed for an article in Ettore, the ultra-exclusive magazine for Bugatti owners named after the French marque's founder. "The exhilarating feeling of a controlled drift is only comparable to a perfect one performed on skis”, Maier enthused after his high octane test drive. “Despite the raw power of this car I felt safe and in control from the beginning."

Maier then decided to "take it up a notch" and try out the Chiron's various drive modes, as well as the traction control function that most drivers would disable in a situation like this. "Incredibly enough, this resulted in even more fun," he enthused. "The Chiron makes the most difficult seem so effortless and suave.” 

Though his daily driver is an Audi Q7, it was obvious that Maier now has his eye on one of the $3 million masterpieces. “I’ve practically spent my whole life on skis," he said in Austria. "I never imagined that four wheels could deliver a similar joy in the snow. After this experience, I would love to test out a Bugatti more often.” And then he, of course, delivered the kicker – "I'll be back...."