Prototypes for the Bugatti Bolide are being evaluated ahead of the start of deliveries for the wild track car in 2024.
The final design was approved only a few months ago and is represented in the latest prototypes.
Remarkably, the production version looks very close to the concept that was unveiled in 2020—and never actually intended for production. The concept was the result of a challenge put forward by then-Bugatti chief Stephan Winkelmann to his team to imagine a Bugatti developed without any restraints.
Differences from the concept include a more pronounced roof scoop, fewer fins behind the front wheel arches, the addition of side mirrors, and a revised rear wing with an adjustable component. The decision to go with actual side mirrors instead of a more aerodynamically efficient camera system is because mirrors allow drivers to estimate distances to other cars more quickly, Bugatti said.
The complete aerodynamic package can be swapped between high-downforce and low-drag configurations, depending on the desired setup for a specific racetrack. The nose of the car is also designed to lower when the driver brakes hard, enabling the front splitter to sit even closer to the ground and as a result deliver more downforce.
Bugatti hasn't finalized performance numbers but initial testing has shown the Bolide is able to deliver up to 2.5 g of grip on the skid pad.
As previously confirmed by Bugatti, the Bolide features a unique carbon-fiber monocoque with an integrated roll cage, together with cooling, transmission, and (pushrod) suspension systems all also unique to the car. The engine, in this case Bugatti's familiar turbocharged 8.0-liter W-16, is also mounted differently than in Bugatti's other models.
Here, the engine delivers 1,578 hp on 98-octane fuel. However, it can also run on 110-octane racing fuel, which ups the output to 1,824 hp. As the car is designed for track use, all four turbochargers are always in operation. The engine has also been tuned to rev higher than in road-going Bugattis, and is mated to an upgraded version of the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic found in the road cars.
Bugatti Bolide prototype
The brakes use carbon-ceramic rotors that need to be thoroughly warmed before they reach their peak performance. As a result, Bugatti has designed new calipers that are more efficient at generating and keeping heat. Special covers on the 18-inch wheels have been installed to protect the wheels from the extreme heat generated by the brakes.
Wrapped around the wheels are racing slicks supplied by Michelin. For the rear wheels, the tires are the same design used by the LMDh sports prototype race cars competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The targeted dry weight for the Bolide is a little under 3,200 pounds, and performance should be on par with top motorsport levels, according to Bugatti.
Bugatti will build a total 40 examples and all build slots are gone, despite the a price of 4 million euros (approximately $4.3 million at current exchange rates).