Bugatti launches extreme track special

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Bugatti’s current vehicles are many things, but lightweight is not one of them. With the launch of its Bolide Hypercar concept the company is hoping to change this perception.

“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 … designed around the W16 powertrain with the minimum body structure and unbelievable performance data. The result: the smallest possible shell for a breathtaking performance vehicle that allows the W16 to truly come into its own,” explained Stefan Ellrott, member of the board of management of Bugatti and head of technical development.

The car is based around Bugatti’s 8.0-liter W16-cylinder engine producing 1,825hp and 1,850Nm of torque, which has been optimized for track use with a focus on throttle response, thanks to a revised inlet system and new turbochargers. Furthermore, the company says the lubrication system has been revised with the dry sump lubrication system redesigned to ensure consistent lubrication even under sustained loadings.

In a quest to reduce weight, the engine’s standard water-to-air charge cooling system has been replaced with a water-air pre-cooler and air-air charge coolers. Three air-cooled oil coolers for engine, transmission and differential with water pre-cooling have been specified to handle the demands of track running. Meanwhile, the hybrid carbon-titanium wheel design harks back to early 90s sportscar racing, with a ‘turbofan’ design which is claimed to aid brake cooling.

The car has an impressive dry weight 1,240 kg, which Bugatti says has been achieved thanks to extensive use of both composite and additive manufactured parts. For example, many of the suspension elements are hollow, printed titanium productions, with internal support structure and very thin wall thickness. Meanwhile, hybrid components such as the 0.5m-long auxiliary driveshaft, combine carbon fiber with 3D-printed titanium elements. Bugatti notes that in this example, the weight of the shaft is reduced by around half (compared with the standard production parts) to 1.5kg.

There has been no mention of racing for the vehicle, though Bugatti boasts that its simulations suggest a 3m 07sec lap of Le Mans is possible. However, the car is currently too heavy to be entered in the ACO’s new Hypercar class, and its engine has over double the permitted power output. It would be illogical to detune the W16, given its extra weight over a comparable output V8, so any serious racing effort would need a different powertrain configuration. Whether Bugatti decides to go lap record chasing, in a similar fashion to Porsche with its 919 Evo LMP1, remains to be seen.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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