Bugatti introduced a one-off track car named Bolide in October 2020, but the images it sent us were computed-generated renderings. It released a batch of fresh photos that finally show the model in real life.
In a normal year, there is a good chance we would have caught up with the latest addition to the Bugatti family tree at an auto show on either side of the pond. 2020 is different because all of the events we normally cover are canceled, so the images give us a much-welcomed second look at the Bolide. It’s just as stunning in photos as it is in the computer-generated graphics, and the new gallery proves this track monster is not merely a figment of some designer’s imagination. It exists, you can look at it and sit in it. Odds are you’ll want to drive it, too.
It’s built around a quad-turbocharged, 8.0-liter W16 that’s related to the engine that powers the Chiron and tuned to develop 1,824 horsepower when it’s slurping 110-octane race fuel. While that’s an impressive figure on its own, it’s even more mind-boggling when you take into account the Bolide’s 2,734-pound dry weight. It weighs about 166 pounds less than the new, second-generation 2022 Subaru BRZ yet it has eight times the power.
Nils Sajonz, Bugatti’s recently-appointed head of special projects, shed light on one of the Bolide’s design themes. He explained the x-shaped lights on both ends are a reference to the tape that race car drivers used to put over their headlights to ensure the glass didn’t spread on the tarmac if it broke. Racing is a significant part of the Bugatti heritage, cars like the Type 35 were hugely successful, and the Bolide is the newest torch bearer.
Will it race? It’s too early to tell. As of writing, it’s a one-off model that hasn’t been approved for production. Bugatti notes that simulation testing reveals the Bolide can lap the Nürburgring in 5:23:01, a figure that makes it nearly as fast as the record-holding Porsche 919 Hybrid, and it takes 3:07:01 to go around Le Mans. The firm is done chasing speed records, but we’re hoping it gives the Bolide the chance to prove its mettle on the track.