Nils Sajonz is the masermind behind the Bugatti Bolide. The former Bugatti intern (turned head of special projects) was 27 years old when the Bolide concept was first penned, illustrating just how a track-weaponized version of the Chiron could look. Sajonz's creation was once even voted "the most beautiful hypercar in the world." There's just one problem: it looks just as good, if not better, with its clothes off.
See, underneath the Bolide's exoskeleton lives a carbon-fiber monocoque. That's not unlike the Chiron, though the Bolide cuts more than a quarter of its weight off by shedding 1,200 pounds. And with the body removed, the look of the bare carbon monocoque is simply astounding, just in an exocar kind of way.
From tip-to-tail, the tub of Bugatti's track car is designed around the screaming quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 that sits just forward of the rear wheels. And with 1,825 horsepower spread out across 2,734 pounds, it begs for a bit of extra safety when stretching its legs at the track. Seriously, that's like stuffing the same engine into a bloated Mazda MX-5.
Bugatti says that it used FIA-derived safety requirements typically reserved for cars competing in Le Mans Hypercar and Le Mans Daytona Hybrid classes when designing the Bolide's monocoque. That means stringent rollover requirements and as a result, a tougher shell. Specifically, the demand is for a maximum deflection of no more than 2 inches when a 7.5-ton load is applied to the car's A-pillar, and no failure of the structure beyond 3.9 inches from the point of impact.
The tub also has proven to help better balance the car as a whole. Not only does it reposition the driver and passenger for better balance, but it also provides some extra space behind the occupants, which has allowed the automaker to move the engine forward about 2.5 inches.
Somehow Bugatti managed to package all of those safety requirements into a shell meant to mirror the proportions of a catamaran. The automaker is apparently pretty proud of this, because it decided to share a number of photos of the carbon-clad chassis on wheels.
The Bolide's nose peeks forward of its front wheels, leading back to the car's long dashboard and scooped roof. Continue beyond the doors and the rear-mounted engine, then you'll end abruptly just past the rear axles. It looks unfinished (which it is, absent the bodywork), but in a proper Mad Max sort of way. It's good.
That being said, Bugatti is only building 40 examples of this car. Of course, they're going to be expensive at more than $4.3 million a piece, and—you guessed it—all of the build slots have already been allocated ahead of the anticipated 2024 delivery schedule.
However unlikely it is, we can only hope that some rich car collector will strip the body off of their lightweight hypercar just to take a tub-on-wheels to the track. It truly is a shame that this monocoque is hidden behind all of the car's fancy bodywork.
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