Bugatti has been pointing out a model with a radical design in the past few weeks and the car was unveiled as a new bolide on Wednesday.
The bolide is the result of a challenge that Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann set his team to imagine a Bugatti that was developed without restrictions. The resulting car is a rail vehicle and at least for the time being a one-off.
It’s not based on an existing Bugatti, although it shares its 8.0-liter W-16 engine with four turbochargers and an all-wheel drive system with the Chiron and its various coach versions. Here the engine delivers 1,577 hp with 98 octane fuel. However, it can also run on 110 octane racing fuel, boosting its output to 1,824 hp. The maximum torque in this case would be 1,365 pound-feet.
The engine rotates faster than the Chiron, a change that required some adjustments. This included an upgrade of the 7-speed dual clutch transmission and changes to the inlet and outlet systems for better throttle response. New turbochargers have also been installed to deliver more power on the high end, and both the lubrication and cooling systems have been upgraded to handle the extra grunt. According to Bugatti, the two main radiators at the front of the vehicle are more effective in terms of flow than even the designs used in Formula 1.
One of the most impressive innovations is a transformable plate that forms the suction scoop on the roof. It adapts depending on the speed of the vehicle to optimize airflow. At lower speeds, the surface of the blade remains smooth. In contrast, a field of bubbles bulges out when driven at high speed. This reduces the air resistance of the shovel by 10% and ensures a reduction in lift forces by 17%. The front and rear wings also assist in downforce, which delivers 1,764 and 3,968 pounds of downforce, respectively, at 200 mph.
Braking power comes from F1 carbon ceramic brakes found in some of the largest wheels on a car. This applies to the massive tires with a width of 340 millimeters on the front axle and 400 mm on the rear axle. A pneumatic lift system with four rams makes changing tires easier, while a fast refueling system thanks to pressure refueling also helps.
The Bolide engine sits in a bespoke carbon fiber monocoque structure made from carbon fiber with the same specifications as in the aerospace industry. The type of steel used in the vehicle, for example for the rear frame, is also suitable for the aerospace industry. This made it possible for Bugatti to use metal one millimeter thick to keep the weight down. 3D printed parts such as titanium components for the push rod suspension system also helped to reduce weight. The weight of the car is only 2,733 pounds.
Based on Bugatti’s estimates, the bolide could drive well over 310 mph (maybe even beyond the SSC Tuatara’s 316.11 mph record?) While also driving the Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans in 3: 07.1 or about 10 Seconds faster than driving The current racing record that a Toyota TS050 Hybrid set during the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours. Bugatti also claims that the bolide would lap the Nürburgring in a time of 5: 23.1, which is close to the lap record of 5: 19.55 set by the Porsche 919 Evo time attack special in 2018.
The bolide could be mistaken for a Le Mans Prototype Racer. Just look at the huge inlet on the roof and the stabilizing fin behind it. Could an entry into the new Le Mans hypercar class of the endurance world championship be in the works? Bugatti competed – and won – at Le Mans in the early years, although the company has not said anything about the competition in modern times.
Interestingly, a September report by CAR claimed that Bugatti was on the verge of transferring current ownership, Volkswagen Group, to EV tech company Rimac. In this process, the current Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann would also leave the company. According to the report, Winkelmann would reveal a wild rail vehicle before leaving the company. Could the bolide’s reveal mean rumors of the Rimac takeover are true? We should know when the future of Bugatti in the VW Group is likely to be discussed at a November meeting.