A camouflaged hypercar with X-wing taillights was captured running laps on a track earlier this week. Many assumed that it was a new Bugatti, and they were right.
The French marque just unveiled the latest and final model built around the titanic 8.0-liter W16 that’s powered every ‘Gatti since the Veyron. But unlike the preceding grand tourers, the Bolide—French for “race car”—aims to maximize performance by running an absurdly powerful tune of the engine in an ultra-light vehicle.
“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” explained Stefan Ellrott, Head of Technical Development. “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.”
Bugatti touts the Bolide’s lightweight carbon monocoque as having a tensile strength-to-weight ratio that’s only been achieved in the aviation industry. The screws, fastening pieces and other functional components are made out of 3D-printed titanium. Formula 1-style ceramic disc brakes, magnesium wheels, and a push-rod suspension system with oil reservoirs hidden inside horizontal dampers all ensure precise handling while further cutting down on weight.
That W16 has also been given four four newly developed turbochargers with special blades in order to build up more boost pressure and power at higher engine speeds. The oil circuit, oil pressure, check valves, baffles, oil tanks, oil reservoirs, and pump design of the dry sump lubrication were tweaked to perform under intense cornering forces.
These engineering feats culminate in the numbers, as CNET’s Road Show points out. The 2,734-pound, 300-mph-plus Bolide produces 1,825 horsepower—up from 1,500 in the most recent Pur Sport edition of the Chiron—which amounts to a power-to-weight ratio of .67 hp per pound. You may have seen that figure teased vaguely in the runup to the Bolide’s unveiling via an all black image with the “0.67” scrawled in chalk.
That aforementioned X-Wing taillight design was also used to drum up a buzz. That’s a reference not to the X-Wing fighters of Star Wars lore, but the Bell X-1 jet aircraft that that Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager piloted when he became the first person to break the sound barrier in 1947.
Since the Bolide will never hit the road, we can only hope that it eventually races against other track-only hypercars like the Lamborghini Essenza SCV12.