What do you do when the Bossman tells you to go ‘no-holds-barred’ while developing a hypercar? You do exactly that because well, the Bossman asked you to! This is what has happened in the case of Bugatti Bolide. It is a result of a challenge put forward by Bugatti chief Stephan Winkelmann to his team to imagine a Bugatti developed without any restraints. Bolide is the end product of this challenge and is a one-off track car. Bugatti was teasing a new product for the past few days and recently took the wraps off the Bolide.
The company claims that it is the most extreme, fastest as well as the lightest vehicle concept produced by Bugatti in recent times.
The staggering numbers
Let’s talk numbers first because it’s a Bugatti and they are all about unreal numbers. The Bolide has an incredible weight-to-power ratio of 0.67 kg per PS. It is plonked with the same tried and tested 8-litre W12 unit which powers the Chiron. The engineers at Bugatti tuned this powertrain to pump out a staggering 1825 bhp of maximum power which is backed up by 1850 Nm of peak torque. The engine revs higher than in the Chiron, a change that necessitated a number of tweaks. Among these was an upgrade of the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Bolide takes 3:07.1 minutes to complete a lap of Le Mans and 5:23.1 minutes to get around the Nordschleife.
Bugatti has designed the drive specifically for use on the racetrack and has optimised the engine and gearbox in particular for higher engine speeds. Among other things, this includes dethrottling the intake and exhaust system to achieve an even faster, more spontaneous, and extreme response characteristic. The four newly-developed turbochargers are fitted with optimised blades in order to build up more boost pressure and power at higher engine speeds. Instead of water-to-air intercooling, the Bugatti Bolide has air-to-air intercooling with water pre-cooling for optimal performance on the racetrack.
Lightweight structure and morphable roof
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.
A worldwide innovation is the morphable outer skin of the intake scoop on the roof, which provides active airflow optimisation. If the vehicle is driven at a slow speed, the surface of the scoop remains smooth. In contrast, a field of bubbles bugles 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 optimised. At 320 km/h, the downforce is at 1,800 kilograms at the rear wing and 800 kilograms at the front wing. As in Formula 1, the Bolide decelerates with racing brakes with ceramic discs and coatings. The brake callipers weigh only 2.4 kilograms each. Stopping power comes from F1-spec carbon-ceramic brakes that reside within some of the biggest wheels fitted to a car. This is for the massive tires which measure 340 millimeters in width at the front axle and 400 mm at the rear.