Bugatti considering Bolide, an ‘extreme’ hypercar for the track

Company promises performance would almost match an F1 racer

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Bugatti Bolide
Driving Bugatti Bolide compared to riding a cannonball

Bugatti is studying the potential for “an extreme, track-focused hyper sports car with an unprecedented weight-to-power ratio of only 0.67 kg per horsepower?” 

The Bugatti Bolide would be “reduced, raw, authentic” and “radically light vehicle” powered by an 8.0-liter W16 engine. The car, at the moment a “technological concept,” would weigh 1,240 kilograms (2733.7 pounds) but offer 1,850 horsepower for propulsion.

“It therefore promises to offer the ultimate Bugatti performance kick,” the company said in its news release.

Bugatti said the car would offer performance “almost on par” with a Formula 1 car, could lap the Le Mans circuit in 3 minutes, 7 seconds, and the Nordschleife at the Nurburgring in 5 minutes, 23 seconds and change. 

Bugatti stands for the continuous quest for technological innovations – in alignment with the company’s brand values of excellence, courage, dedication,” Bugatti president Stephan Winkelmann was quoted. “And Bugatti never stands still. We are perpetually aiming for new and exciting goals, and the question that we always keep in mind is: what if? 

“We asked ourselves how we could realize the mighty W16 engine as a technical symbol of the brand in its purest form – with solely four wheels, engine, gearbox, steering wheel and, as the only luxury, two seats. 

“Important aspects of our considerations were fine-tuning our iconic powertrain without any limitations as regards the weight-to-power ratio. These considerations resulted in the Bugatti Bolide.”

Winkelmann suggested that driving a Bolide would be like “riding on a cannonball.”

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Among the technologies that would used is a “morphable” skin on the roof-mounted air intake scoop.

“If the vehicle is driven at a slow speed, the surface of the scoop remains smooth,” Bugatti said in its release. “In contrast, a field of bubbles bulges out when driven at fast speeds. This reduces the aerodynamic drag of the scoop by 10 percent and ensures a 17 percent reduction in lift forces. In addition, the flow onto the rear wing is optimized.”

“In my 16 years at Bugatti, I have never worked on a more extreme concept,” said Achim Anscheidt, director of design. “The design of the Bolide is radically tailored to the idea of lightweight construction, and the design principle therefore follows on from the overriding goal of achieving a fascinating weight-to-power ratio of 0.67 kilograms per PS.

“It is the very first time that my team had the freedom of creating an absolutely minimalistic design around the W16 engine. The result is the most provocative proportion of a modern Bugatti ever and the distilled quintessence of our Bugatti design ethos that form follows performance.”

“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,” Winkelmann added. 

The Bolide chassis

Apparently all that’s left is to decide whether the car will go into series production. 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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