Automotive

Published on August 14th, 2021 | by Joshua Chin

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Bugatti’s Track-Slaying Bolide Concept Is Becoming A Reality

40 of these Bolide track weapons are to be made, with an asking price of €4 million a pop.  

When Bugatti first unveiled its Bolide concept late last year, they were still rather reluctant to say exactly as to when or whether if this track weapon will ever be making its way into series production. 

About a year on from then though, the French hypercar manufacturer has since decided that it will indeed be pressing on with production of this track concept and hence announced recently that 40 Bolides will be made. Each of which will be arriving sometime from 2024, and wearing a price tag of an eye-watering €4 million (RM 20 million). 

Now according to Bugatti, the production version of the Bolide will apparently retain much the same extreme active aero elements as its wild-looking concept car counterpart. It has also been touted to retain the same low-slung seating position and 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged W16 engine as was found when this track slayer prototype was first revealed last year. 

Unfortunately however, the Bolide does lose a few horses when making its way into production. That is because with Bugatti deciding to tune the reworked W16 on its customer-spec cars for running 98 RON petrol instead of the concept car’s 110-octane race fuel, this monstrous engine now will only produce 1,600 PS and 1,600 Nm of torque, as opposed to the 1,850 PS and 1,850 Nm figure quoted previously. 

To add to that too, the production-spec Bolide has also gained about 240 kg over the one-off shown off last year. Then again though, a curb weight of just 1,540 kg and a weight-to-power ratio of 0.9 kg per PS should nevertheless still to be more than enough to absolutely monster any track that this Bugatti rocks up to. 

And it could actually be a rather common sight to see a Bolide on track, as the €4 million price tag includes a number of specially organised track days by Bugatti where owners can unleash the full potential of their track weapons. These production-spec track-only hypercars also complies fully with international FIA safety standards, and comes as standard with all the safety-related paraphernalia like HANS system compatibility, an automatic fire extinguishing system and a six-point harness.

Further information in regards to the Bolide will no doubt be steadily trickling out as it moves closer into production over the next three years. What is nevertheless looking more than likely now though is that track weapon will be serving as the swan song for Bugatti’s legendary quad-turbocharged W16 engine that first burst onto the scene (and into the record books) with the Veyron back in 2005, with the Molsheim-based hypercar marque slated to be moving into an increasing electrified future under its new Croatian owners. 

PRESS RELEASE: “The Bolide generated a great deal of enthusiasm and intrigue last year. Following its presentation, a significant number of enthusiasts and collectors asked us to develop the experimental Bolide as a production vehicle. I was absolutely amazed by the reactions and feedback from customers from all over the world,” explains Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “We therefore decided to make the Bolide a few-off in order to give 40 customers the opportunity to experience this incredible vehicle. Our team has now been developing a production model – the ultimate driving machine for the track.” This will make the Bolide the most extreme configuration level of the legendary 8.0-liter W16 engine and a must-have for Bugatti collectors.

During its thought experiment in fall 2020, the French luxury automobile manufacturer presented the answer to the following question: What if Bugatti built a radically light vehicle around the legendary 8.0-liter W16 engine? The upshot was the experimental study of the Bugatti Bolide as a racetrack-oriented hyper sports car with a production-based W16 engine and minimal bodywork designed with maximum downforce in mind. Presenting this engine in its purest form is the quintessence of the Bolide.

Developing Bolide around the power train

With the highly limited-edition production Bolide, Bugatti engineers and designers have created the most extreme vehicle concept ever to have been conceived around the powerful power train of the W16 engine with four turbochargers, offering the promise of the ultimate Bugatti performance kick. “For me, being able to turn the radical thought experiment of the Bolide into reality as a production vehicle is a dream come true as it is by far the most challenging project of my 17-year Bugatti career,” explains Bugatti Design Director Achim Anscheidt. The design of the Bolide follows the minimalist approach of the Bugatti style philosophy of “form follows performance” and is additionally founded on an uncompromising lightweight construction approach. It pays homage to the brand’s glorious motorsport past of the in the 1920s.

The numerous air ducts and delicate front end are more reminiscent of aerodynamically sophisticated Formula 1 cars than a hyper sports car, and they dominate its look. The Bolide sits very low to the ground, with an air intake scoop on the roof and an ultra-sporty seat position. In combination with the striking rear diffuser, the dominant rear wing results in high downforce and therefore also optimum traction. As with other Bugatti vehicles, the design team opted for a color split, although the proportion of visible carbon parts is greater than in other models.

Bugatti stands for technological innovations. With the W16 engine as a symbol of the brand’s technology, Bugatti boasts one of the most extraordinary engines in automotive history. In the case of the Bolide experimental vehicle, its power output of 1,850 PS is achieved among other things thanks to 110-octane racing fuel, whereas for the production vehicle, Bugatti opted for 98 RON gas which is available worldwide, so that the owners can use their vehicles around the world without any issues. The vehicle’s available power output is 1,600 PS with a torque figure of 1,600 newton meters starting at 2,250 rpm. Bugatti’s engineers tuned the vehicle for higher revs per minute for use on the racetrack, alongside the intake and exhaust system to achieve even faster, more spontaneous, and extreme responsiveness. The cooling system for the turbochargers, engine, transmission, and differential are likewise modified for optimum power development.

Safety standards in line with FIA rules

Bugatti’s designers and engineers are currently honing the aerodynamics and handling, and are developing the Bolide in line with international FIA safety standards. To guarantee maximum safety and sufficient comfort during the pure driving experience, Bugatti has developed an array of new components. The safety features include HANS system compatibility, an automatic fire extinguishing system, pressure refueling with a fuel bladder, central wheel locking, and a six-point safety belt system.

Optimizations in the areas of design, aerodynamics, quality, and safety give the production vehicle a curb weight of just 1,450 kilograms and therefore a weight-to-power ratio of 0.9 kilograms per PS when 98 RON gas is used. “The customers’ safety is always our top priority. We therefore decided to offer exclusive track days for this extreme vehicle in order to guarantee a safe environment at all times and gradually introduce the customers to the Bolide’s breathtaking performance,” says Stephan Winkelmann.

Thanks to maximum weight saving, customers will be able to experience the full power and torque of the engine – and they will love it. “We are proud to have succeeded in keeping the production vehicle so close to its technical demonstrator both visually and technically while also enhancing the design, quality, and vehicle safety,” explains Stephan Winkelmann.

The new hyper sports car will be taken to production maturity over the next three years, with its delivery scheduled for 2024 at a net unit price of four million euros and limited to 40 units.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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