You can’t buy it. You can’t drive it. You can only dream about it. The Bugatti Bolide is a concept car that makes even the Bugatti Chiron Sport look pedestrian. If it reaches production, it could rewrite the record books.
Bugatti, the French car maker owned by Volkswagen Group, revealed their latest concept car, the Bolide, at their headquarters in Molsheim, Alsace, France on October 28, 2020. Bolide is a track-oriented hyper sports car built around an eight-liter W16 gasoline engine with four turbochargers, a seven-speed electronically controlled dual-clutch multiple-shaft automatic gearbox (DSG), and permanent all-wheel drive. Bolide’s engine should put out 1,825 hp and 1,364 lb-ft of peak torque. It has the minimum body structure that would be required to qualify for FIA safety standards, and boasts a weight to power ratio of 0.67 kg per metric horsepower (PS) — about 1.5 lb per mechanical horsepower (hp). By contrast, the 2020 Dodge Challenger Hellcat produces 717 hp and weighs 4,429 lbs, a ratio of 6.2 lb/hp. Wrap your mind around that, and your head will spin faster than your tires.
“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,” said Stefan Ellrott, a member of the Bugatti board of management and Head of Technical Development. “All of Bugatti’s expertise has been condensed into the Bugatti Bolide. It is therefore an innovative information source for future technologies.”
The Bolide’s powertrain has been designed to withstand the rigors of track use, with the engine and gearbox optimized for sustained operation at higher engine speeds, and the weight of the system has been reduced.
In building the Bolide, Bugatti turned to light-weight materials and weight-saving production processes. The car’s body is a carbon-fiber monocoque. Every screw and fastener on the car is made completely from titanium, and titanium alloy is used for thin-walled functional components throughout the vehicle. The titanium-alloy components are manufactured on a 3D printer, and some are wound with high-strength and ultra-stiff carbon fibers. The roof intake scoop of the Bolide is capable of morphing in response to vehicle speed, remaining smooth at low speeds and bugling with bubbles at fast speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and lift forces.
The Bolide uses coated ceramic disc racing brakes with calipers that weigh only 2.4 kilograms each (5.29 lbs). Front and rear wheels are extremely light-weight forged magnesium. Bolide carries an on-board compressed-air-driven jack system with four rams to make track-side tire changes fast and easy, and uses a quick refueling system that allows pressured refueling. The Bolide is outfitted with safety equipment designed to meet FIA regulations, including HANS device compatibility. Bolide is 995 mm tall – not coincidentally, the exact same height as the Bugatti Type 35, an open-top sports car that won over 2,000 races between 1924 and 1930.
Bugatti claims that Bolide will be capable of maximum lateral acceleration of 2.8 G. Zero-100 kph runs will burn off in 2.17 seconds on the way to a top speed of over 500 kph in 20.16 seconds. A lap of Le Mans will take 3:07.1 minutes; a lap of the Nordschleife will fly by in 5:23.1 minutes, certainly living up to the concept car’s name: “Bolide” means “fireball” or “flaming meteor” in French.
According to the company, “Whether the Bugatti Bolide will go into series production, has not been decided yet.”