Bugatti’s motorsport past
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Bugatti's motorsport past : a source of inspiration for Bolide customers
Bugatti’s motorsport past: a source of inspiration for Bolide customers
While the first Bolide – an unparalleled Bugatti, reserved for the circuit and limited to 40 examples – will be delivered next year, Bugatti recently invited future owners to its headquarters in Molsheim for an immersive and tailor-made journey inspired by the sports car. This visit, imbued with Bugatti know-how, offered customers a captivating dive into the rich heritage of the brand, the same one that inspired the concept of the Bolide.
Customers of the Bolide¹ were welcomed at Château Saint Jean – birthplace of Bugatti since 1928 – where they were able to discover the vision and heritage that shaped the creation of this unique vehicle. The Bolide was designed to become the purest incarnation of the W16 engine, an unrivaled proposition that brings together the world’s most advanced engine with more than a century of motorsport success. Throughout this day, they were able to explore the brand’s glorious racing past, immerse themselves in the genius of Ettore Bugatti and be inspired by the expertise and passion of the Molsheim teams. The highlight: the configuration of their vehicle with the Bugatti designer to refine, in the light of this day spent remembering Bugatti’s illustrious past, the final design of their Bolide.
The immersion began on the road with Luigi Galli, Heritage and Certification Specialist at Bugatti, in the passenger seat of the most successful racing car of all time, the Bugatti Type 35. Between 1924 and 1930, it accumulated more than 2,000 automobile racing victories. Dressed in overalls reminiscent of period models and wearing leather helmets, frequently used on the automotive scene in the late 1920s, customers were able to enjoy the incredible pleasures provided by this vehicle and see how its performance is still as impressive today. At the time, its lightness, clean design and the driving experience that the Bugatti Type 35 offered were second to none, and even in the modern era, it’s hard to imagine a better embodiment of Bugatti’s DNA .
Back at the Bugatti site, with the powerful roar of the Type 35 engine still in their minds, customers were able to immerse themselves in some of the company’s greatest motorsport successes via a series of drawings produced by the Bugatti team. design. Among the highlights: the Type 57G “Tank” driven by Jean-Pierre Wimille and Robert Benoist at Le Mans in 1937 or Elisabeth Junek at the wheel of the unbeatable Type 35 during the Targa Florio race in 1929. The iconic Bugatti Type 13 Brescia has also left its mark on motorsport and the history of the brand. Chartered in Molsheim exclusively for Bolide customers: a legendary Type 59/50B III, a racing car developed under the aegis of founder Ettore Bugatti himself and which enjoyed enormous success from 1938.
To bring these drawings back to life: Luigi Galli recalling the avant-garde characteristics of each vehicle, telling the heroic stories of the Bugatti drivers and recounting the historic victories won by each of them. In Molsheim, guests embarked on an exceptional journey into the world of motorsport, discovering or rediscovering the unparalleled innovations launched by Bugatti over the last century. A journey that guided them directly to the Bolide.
After delving into the heritage that inspired the Bolide concept, future owners were welcomed by Jascha Straub, Sales and Design Executive at Bugatti, to refine the design of their vehicle. Having established a long-standing relationship of trust with everyone, he was able to guide them throughout the process, exploring with them ways to pay homage to the legendary Bugatti racing cars or advising them on how to create harmony with the Bugatti hyper sports cars that their collection already features. One of the customers, for example, chose a two-tone Bugatti blue shade with a subtle gradient of dark blue, in homage to the legendary Type 57G “Tank” from Le Mans.
Once the aesthetics of their Bolide were carefully chosen and the subtle personalization touches added, customers were able to test and adjust their seat in order to find the most optimal and comfortable position for them aboard the Bolide. In a car as powerful as this — capable of generating up to 2.5 G of lateral force — it’s essential that drivers feel safe. Sitting behind the wheel, they had a first glimpse of the sensations the Bolide would give them on the track. To finish the configuration of this extraordinary vehicle, a selection of materials – Alcantara or suede for a sporty appearance or classic leather for more traditional luxury – and colors – the famous “French Racing Blue” for example – was offered to them for dress the seats and steering wheel of their Bolide.
Once all their senses were awakened – and after the first prototype of the Bolide had made its first lap at the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the guests also had the opportunity to set foot on the circuit for the first time on an ultra-modern simulator, similar to the one which made it possible to virtually develop the vehicle. The aerodynamic wheels of the Bolide preceding them on screen, customers were able to feel all the raw power of the W16 engine on the long straight of the Monza circuit or even in the famous Raidillon de l’Eau Rouge corner, at Spa-Francorchamps .
Hendrik Malinowski, Managing Director of Bugatti Automobiles, said: “It is always a great pleasure for us to welcome our customers here in Molsheim, the birthplace of our brand. All Bugatti hyper sports cars are unique, but the Bolide has something truly special. It is the one and only modern Bugatti dedicated to the circuit and powered by our legendary W16 engine. We therefore wanted to offer future owners a truly incomparable moment by paying tribute both to the Bolide itself but also to our glorious past in motor racing. Creating resolutely exclusive experiences that will remain engraved in the hearts of our customers is what motivates us every day. »
After having made their mark on the history of Bugatti on the circuit, the future owners of the Bolide left Molsheim. This crucial step marked a further step for them towards the acquisition of this masterpiece, the first and only modern Bugatti designed and developed exclusively for circuits and inspired by motorsport.
Production of the Bolide will begin at the Molsheim Workshop in 2024.