Check Out the Bugatti Bolide Stripped of Its Body

bugatti bolide without the skin
Check Out the Bugatti Bolide without a Body!Bugatti
  • The $4.3-million Bugatti Bolide is made for the track only, with an ultra-strong chassis underneath its beautiful outer skin.

  • The A-pillars alone can withstand 7.5 tons of force without a single crack.

  • Deliveries—with outer bodies—start next year for the 40 lucky buyers.

We’ve all seen the magnificent high-tech Bugatti Bolide track car wrapped in its sensuous skin. It is truly one of the most glorious shapes since the Ferrari P4. Bolide means “race car” in French, by the way. But now Bugatti has released photos of the Bolide without its carbon-fiber exoskeleton and the look is decidedly less exotic.


Like Darth Vader when he takes off his helmet, or the images conjured up when International Man of Mystery Austin Powers started screaming, “Margaret Thatcher Naked,” some things must not be shown. And yet, here it is.

But there are reasons for that anteater snout and boxer-shorts bloomers of a midsection.

bugatti bolide without the skin
Looks pretty fun from this angle...Bugatti

“To be able to design the Bolide to fit as closely as possible around the brand’s legendary 8.0-liter W16 turbocharged engine, it was necessary to develop an advanced new monocoque made of the highest quality carbon-fiber composites, which are normally only used in Formula 1 and Le Mans race cars,” Bugatti said in the same missive that included the photos that leave nothing to the imagination.

It had to fit the W16 in the back, the driver and passenger in the middle, and it had to be able to crash into just about anything in the front in such a way that it would protect the occupants. Hence, the onion-shaped midsection and pointy schnozz.

“Along with incredible power, precision, and performance, a track-only hyper sports car must possess exceptional levels of safety, which is why the Bugatti Bolide features an innovative new carbon-fiber monocoque developed to the same demanding Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile LMH and LMDh requirements as Le Mans race cars,” Bugatti said.

That monocoque chassis “mirrors the proportions of a sleek catamaran,” Bugatti asks you to imagine, meaning, it insists, that the driver and passenger sit perfectly balanced inside the car. This tighter fit means the engine and transmission can be positioned two and a half inches further forward than in, say, the Chiron, making it better for track use, the task for which the craft was designed.

Because the Bolide can outperform the Chiron on the track, its monocoque had to be stiffer and stronger. FIA safety requirements for LMH and LMDh guided development of the new structure and were chosen because they are among the most stringent safety regulations in the world. Crash test standards for track cars further delineated the chassis shape, particularly that hound snout.

The standards include one test where a 16,535-pound load is placed on the A-pillar. That’s seven and a half tons! The A-pillar could not bend any more than two inches with that weight on it, and no part of the structure within four inches of the A-pillar could crack.

bugatti bolide without the skin
The outboard, door-mounted head restraint matches perfectly the inboard and rear head restraints, which form part of the overall structure of the car.Bugatti

“Small, localized cracks, are permissible at the point of impact,” said Bugatti of the A-pillar test. “However, when the Bolide was tested, there were no cracks at all, thanks to the structural integrity inherent within the monocoque design, and especially in the angle of the A-pillar, its cross section and the high-tech materials used. A second rollover test saw an even higher load—12-tons—applied to the B-pillar, while a third involved a 6-ton longitudinal load applied to the monocoque to simulate a rollover resulting in a rear impact with a barrier.”

And those were just two of the “many” tests required for the car. Suffice to say if you get into trouble at speed, you want a Bolide around you. There’s also: traction control, electronic stability control, ABS, and a “military-grade fire extinguisher system.”

The seats keep occupants belted in place during braking (carbon-fiber brakes, of course) and cornering loads (on Michelin racing slicks) that reach 2.5 gs. There’s even power steering and air conditioning to keep driver and passenger comfortable on those hot summer track days.

And those days will be fun. Remember, the Bolide’s W16 makes 1578 hp and 1180 lb-ft of torque, all in a car that weighs 3197 pounds before you add any fluids.

“As a result, Bolide delivers a truly thrilling, dynamic, and track-focused driving experience,” said Bugatti, master of the obvious.

Deliveries of the $4.3-milion Bolide start in 2024, but only for the 40 lucky buyers who have already spoken up. The rest of us will have to wait until the first Bolides filter down to the auctions. But if it’s as much fun to drive as it sounds, that may never happen.

Where does the Bugatti Bolide place on your bucket list of dream cars to drive, or own? Please comment below.