The Bugatti Bolide is the unrivalled technological concept of a track-focused Bugatti hyper sports car. The combination of 1,850 PS and 1,240 kilograms dry weight ensures an unbelievable weight-to-power ratio. This puts the Bolide with its W16 engine at the absolute pinnacle in terms of combustion engines used in automotive engineering.
“For the first time, we are showing what the W16 engine is really capable of. We have freed the vehicle of all baggage and have illustrated and combined the engine with the lightest possible chassis to create the ultimate Bugatti and to ensure the ultimate driving experience. With the Bolide, we are presenting our interpretation of a Bugatti track car of modern times to Bugatti enthusiasts all over the world and finally make their most fervent wishes come true,” explains Stephan Winkelmann President of Bugatti.
But before you get too excited Bugatti has not yet decided if the Bolide will go into series production.
The Bugatti Bolide is the most extreme, uncompromising, fastest and lightest vehicle concept in the company’s recent history – with an incredible weight-to-power ratio of 0.67 kg per PS. The Bugatti Bolide achieves figures that are almost on par with Formula 1 while its top speed is well above 500 km/h – without compromising maximum handling and maximum agility. Simulations have shown the Bolide would take just 3:07.1 minutes to complete a lap of Le Mans and 5:23.1 minutes to get around the Nordschleife.
“The Bolide is the ultimate answer to the question of what if Bugatti built a track-focused hyper sports car that met the FIA’s safety requirements. Designed around the W16 powertrain with the minimum body structure and unbelievable performance data. The result: the smallest possible shell for a breathtaking performance vehicle that allows the W16 to truly come into its own,” explains Stefan Ellrott, member of the Board of Management of Bugatti and Head of Technical Development.
In order to achieve a dry weight of 1,240 kilograms, all the stops have been pulled out with regard to the materials and production processes used, both in terms of what is currently feasible and what will be possible in the future.
All the screw and fastening elements of the Bolide are made completely out of titanium. In addition, hollow, thin-walled functional components made of an aerospace titanium alloy are used in many places. These originate from a 3D printer and are extremely thin with wall thicknesses of up to 0.5 millimetres. However, they are still very stable with a tensile strength of 1,250 newtons per square millimetre. Hybrid components, such as the 0.5-metre-long auxiliary drive shaft, combine wound high-strength and ultra-stiff carbon fibres with 3D-printed titanium end fittings and can withstand a continuous operating temperature of up to 260 degrees Celsius. In this example, this reduces the weight by around half to 1.5 kilograms and, due to the reduction of the rotating masses, increases the revving ability of the engine at the same time. The forces acting on the front and rear wings are transferred by ultralight but very solid titanium elements. They weigh a mere 600 grams at the front and an astounding 325 grams at the rear.
As in Formula 1, the Bolide decelerates with racing brakes with ceramic discs and coatings. The brake callipers weigh only 2.4 kilograms each. The front forged magnesium rims with central lock weigh 7.4 kilograms, while the ones at the rear weigh 8.4 kilograms – with a very wide tyre size of 340 millimetres on the front axle and 400 millimetres on the rear axle (Chiron: 285 mm at the front and 355 mm at the rear). A compressed-air-driven jack system with four rams makes tyre changing easier, a quick refuelling system allows pressure refuelling.
With an overall height of only 995 millimetres, the Bugatti Bolide is exactly the same height as the historic Bugatti Type 35, depending on the steering wheel and truncated windscreen, and about 300 millimetres flatter than the Chiron. The wheelbase is 2.75 metres and the width 1.99 metres. Like in an LMP1 racing car, the occupants fold up the doors that are hinged at the front at an angle, sit on a sill that is only 70 millimetres wide, as in a Type 35, and then position their feet in the interior. Thanks to a side wall that is about 150 millimetres lower than that of the Type 35, the procedure is quick and easy – for drivers up to a body height of 2 metres.
The dramatic effect of the overall proportions is made clear by the aerodynamically favourable overall height of only 995 millimetres. The driver’s ultra-sporty seating permits the low-slung shape of an automotive low-flying aircraft. It is therefore not surprising that the appearance of the Bugatti Bolide invokes the so-called X-planes of aviation history and shows a clear X signature from every perspective. It is indirectly reminiscent of the Bell X-1 jet aircraft which was flown by Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager 1947, the first person to break the sound barrier at Mach 1.06. The Bugatti Bolide “X-periment” has the shape of an aerodynamically optimised, uncompromising racing car and offers ultra-sporty, superlative performance – with no hint of luxury.
As with other Bugatti vehicles, the Bugatti design team also makes use of a colour split in the Bolide. Compared with other models, the share of visible carbon parts is increased by up to 60 percent. Only around 40 percent of the surfaces are painted – in a re-interpretation of the historic French Racing Blue.
Photographs by BUGATTI AUTOMOBILES S.A.S.