ou do if you liked cars and were fitly rich? Like, a billion to spare on your garage kind of rich. There’s plenty to choose from, with many brands waving their hands and digital renderings or showing up with pre-production concepts for you to sign them a few of your millions and then wait a few years to see what you paid for. Some brands are famously accomplished and some are infamously elusive, but one name always seems to stand a class apart: Bugatti.
Luxury and extreme performance with minimal compromise is the most renowned trait of a Bugatti hypercar. In the last 5 years, this French carmaker extraordinaire has launched at least 6 new cars and now there is a seventh — the Bolide.
It is a track-focussed hypercar with no compromise on performance, an engineering exercise in pushing the boundaries of Bugatti’s technologies. The Bolide features an aggressively tuned version of the brand’s iconic 8.0-litre W16 quad-turbo engine which produces 1850PS and 1850Nm when running on 110 Octane race fuel. Regular 98 Octane fuel would see a loss of performance but still offer a fairly healthy 1600PS. All of its ridiculous power and torque is sent to all four wheels via a 7-speed DSG gearbox with tighter ratios for aggressive acceleration. The enormous engine performance is then combined with extreme weight reduction. Bugatti has stripped out every comfort they could think of, built new suspension and drivetrain components with hybrid compositions and 3D-printed titanium to make them lighter and stronger. Even the driver’s cabin has been repositioned to meet its aerodynamic requirements. The result, in theory, is a dry weight of just 1240kg. Hence the teaser branding which was bragging about the Bolide’s astonishing weight-to-power ratio of 0.67kg/PS.
Bugatti’s official figures state a 0-100kph time of 2.17 seconds, onto 200kph in 4.36 seconds, 300kph in 7.37 seconds and the Bolide is projected to exceed the 500kph mark despite the massive wing. According to their simulations, it should be capable of doing 0-500-0kph in 33.62 seconds, complete a lap of the Le Mans circuit quicker than a 2020 LMP1 car with a time of 3min07s, while a lap of the Nordschleife could be wrapped up in 5min24s. Of course, these are just the simulated estimates and we’ll have to see whether Bugatti will actually attempt any of these tests in the real world to verify the data but their estimates are rarely far from reality.
The Bolide is not one of Bugatti’s better-looking cars. But it’s not meant to look pretty. It’s built to be a mean, angry, unhinged track car and its appearance ticks all of those boxes. There’s plenty of visible carbon fibre, lots of cutaways for better aerodynamics, a sharkfin that extends from the roof snorkel to the massive wing and a triple-layered rear diffuser. A particularly interesting design element has been built into the air vents of the roof snorkel: bubbles. These bubbles can inflate up to a height of 5mm to reduce the disturbed-air going over the car to improve the aero-efficiency of the rear design.
The front splitter and the rear wing are adjustable for the different downforce configurations and the rear endplates extend all the way into the rear wheel arches. Its quad-exit exhaust is positioned directly behind the engine, in a two-by-two arrangement which allows for the steep and wide diffuser design.
An identifiable aspect of the Bolide’s design language is the X-shape, which is most clearly visible in the arrangement of the headlamps and taillamps. Despite the design overhaul to make the Bolide an uncompromised lap-attack car, it still has the brand’s iconic horseshoe grille design. Bugatti’s design team explains that the X-themed design is a connection to the car’s experimental nature while the headlamps are a throwback to vintage racing car lights with Xes on them.
It is somewhat apparent that Bugatti had designed a car to not only cut through the air but to let air flow through it as well. If I were a smarter man, I’d give you a concise version of how the Bolide’s various vents and openings channel the air from and around the car to give it its aerodynamic characteristics. But I’m not and luckily Bugatti has shared some basic sketches of how their most insane creation deals with airflow. Check them out:
It’s hard to miss the Bolide’s 18-inch forged magnesium wheels with aero discs that are wrapped in particularly wide Michelin racing slicks. Behind those wheels are F1 style brakes meant to deal with extremely high temperatures and stopping forces without fading early. Makes the faster-than-an-LMP1 lap time around the Le Mans circuit seem quite feasible, doesn’t it?
The racecar similarities continue to the cabin which is accessed by doors that open up and over, also like a Le Mans prototype racer. The Bolide is devoid of comforts but the interior design still looks quite rich. It places the driver in a racer-like position, close to the floor of the car and closer to the road itself in its carbon-fibre cradle. There is a racing-style steering wheel, a conventionally-located rearview mirror that is connected to cameras and lots of visible carbon fibre. The driver’s display is a digital one but only shows the most relevant telematics while hooning around a circuit in a 1850PS beast. Bugatti had been testing a camouflaged prototype around the Paul Ricard circuit and it sounds quite mad too.
Bugatti does hark on a lot about its motorsport heritage but when was the last time you saw one competing in an actual championship. Not even a one-make customer racing series in the 21st century I believe. Yet their ‘current lineup’ has a few sportier offerings. If you want your track day Bugatti to still wear a number plate, you can try and find a Divo or Chiron Pur Sport. Neither are expected to any serious racing while only a handful will even take it to the track. And now Bugatti’s showcased a new track-only hypercar unlike anything before. Though it is not yet confirmed for series production, it will likely see the same fate as other valuable Bugattis with enough multi-millionaires ready with cheque book at hand for the NEXT Bugatti creation based on this one.
So, what’s the point of the Bolide? Simple. To make a point. To show what Bugatti CAN do. That’s been the point of every modern Bugatti in my opinion: to show the world a new realm of possibilities. It’s what the Bolide does too.
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