Breaking: Bugatti unveils the bonkers 1,850hp Bolide
Say hello to the Bolide; Bugatti’s first modern Pur Sang
Bugatti has just unveiled the 1,850hp Bolide. Unlike the Chiron and Veyron, it's a stripped-back track car that can lap the Nurburgring in 5 minutes 23.1 seconds.
From hypercar to track weapon
Frank Götzke, a Bugatti engineer, played a critical role in the development of the Veyron and Chiron and the engineer describes the Bolide as “one of the most ambitious projects of my career.” The entire vehicle was built around a modified version of the traditional Bugatti 8.0-litre W16 powertrain... and Götzke managed to do all of this in just eight months.
The Bolide's modified W16 produces 1,850hp - this immense power gets the car from 0-100 km/h in 2.17 seconds and from then on, the Bolide will continue to thunder down the road until it gets past 500 km/h.
The Bolide weighs just 1,240 kg which means that it has a weight-to-power ratio of 0.67 kg per PS. As a result, the Bolide will lap Le Mans in 3:07.1 minutes and it’ll do the same at the Nürburgring in just 5:23.1 minutes- making it one of the fastest cars ever built.
As to how these marvellous specs achieved? It all comes down to one thing: everything. Bugatti did not just look at one part of the Bolide, tune it and then go home. Instead, every single piece on the Bolide has been designed to squeeze out maximum performance.
Take the Bolide‘s four newly-developed turbochargers, each fitted with optimised blades- this significantly reduces turbo-lag but it also increases the amount of boost pressure and power at higher engine speeds. Meanwhile, to conserve weight, all of the screw and fastening elements are made of titanium- to me, this is absolutely insane but not in a bad way.
There's also the morphable outer skin of the intake scoop on the roof. When the Bolide is travelling at a slow speed, the surface of the scoop remains smooth whereas at high speeds, “a field of bubbles will bulge out”-this helps to optimise active airflow.
The Bolide still maintains some of the key design features of any modern Bugatti such as the line of symmetry which goes down the middle of the whole car, the traditional horseshoe grille and, although this one is more of a performance feature, the Bolide features some wide tires... like really wide, 400 millimetres on the rear, which is 45 more than those of the Chiron.
The Bolide’s features are further emphasised by its dramatic proportions. The car's only 995 millimetres tall- this gives the car a low and menacing profile unlike anything else. Don't be fooled though: the Bolide can accommodate drivers up to a body height of 2 metres, meaning that Jeremy Clarkson will actually be able to drive the car; a rare occurrence for the ape.
The Bolide is the second Pur Sang
Did you really think the fact it was a coincidence that the Bugatti designed the Bolide to be of the exact same height as the Type 35? See, this is one of the many beauties of Bugatti- not only do they have a fascinating history, they make use of it by injecting some of it into their cars, meaning that each Bugatti tells its a story.
It’s often said that the Bugatti Type 35 is the world’s most successful racing car; this is down to the fact that, between 1924 and 1930, the Type 35 scored over 2,000 victories which is why it is no surprise to see that almost 100 years on, we still know, love and respect the Type 35.
One reason for the T35's speed was its weight-to-power ratio. Ettore Bugatti saved weight in every possible place he could so that the T35 was as light as possible. For example, Ettore developed a stable, special hollow-bored and forged front axles that only weighed 10 kilograms and it is in places like this where the design of the T35 correlates with that of the Bolide.
The Bolide requires a great amount of braking force in order to affectively decelerate from high speeds but, when Bugatti were designing the car, lightness could not be compromised which is why they created a brake calliper that weighs just 2.4 kilograms- this is unheard of in the automotive industry.
This, along with many other waves of ingenuity, contributes to the Bolide’s dry weight of just 1,240 kilograms- this is ideal when, like the T35, you want the best weight-to-power ratio.
106 years ago, Ettore Bugatti created a Pur Sang and, until now, nobody built another one so the Bolide is not just a fast car, it is a continuation to one of the most epic legacies in automotive history.