With the Naked Bugatti Bolide, the French automaker has demonstrated the lengths it goes to in order to ensure its model is safe for high-speed impacts. That being said, the 1 160 kW 8,0-litre W16 has now been approved by the FIA for LMH and LMDh endurance racing!
Bugatti wants to emphasize that the Bolide is far more than just a racetrack-exclusive version of the Chiron and the skilled engineers from Molsheim have meticulously crafted a brand-new carbon fibre monocoque for this high-performance machine. The hypercar’s new foundation not only boasts increased rigidity and strength but has also been meticulously developed to adhere to the stringent regulations set forth for LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) and LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) endurance racing cars. Additional alterations were imperative to ensure that the track-only Bolide aligns with the distinct crash test prerequisites unique to this variant, differing from the standard road-going model.
Recent images of the Bolide showcase the car in its unadorned form, without body panels, providing an unobstructed view of the monocoque. While it doesn’t embody the grace of the road-going versions, it looks like a formidable open-wheeled racer ready to hit the circuit. That won’t be the case however since Bugatti successfully obtained approval from the FIA by passing a rigorous examination allowing the model to compete in endurance racing. The testing subjected the A-pillar to an astonishing load of 7,5 metric tons without permitting a deflection greater than 50 mm at the point of application.
Remarkably, the Bolide exhibited no signs of structural compromise during this testing phase and emerged unscathed in additional evaluations. In a rollover assessment, an astounding 12 tons of force was applied to the B-pillar. In a separate examination, a longitudinal load of 6 tons was imparted upon the carbon fibre monocoque, simulating a rollover scenario culminating in a rearward impact with a barrier. What all of this means is that the carbon shell is capable of ensuring the cockpit and driver remain intact in even the most horrific rollover accidents.
Distinguishing itself from the “standard” model, the formidable 8,0-litre W16 engine, equipped with four turbochargers, has been repositioned 60 mm further forward within the chassis. Despite this, the Bolide maintains a remarkably low dry weight of only 1 450 kg. With such a lightweight foundation and an astonishing power output of 1 160 kW and 1 600 N.m, performance is anticipated to be nothing short of exceptional. All this power is efficiently channelled to the four centre-lock wheels, encased in bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport tires, through an advanced all-wheel-drive system featuring electronically controlled differentials to optimize power distribution.
For contingencies, the Bolide is equipped with a military-grade fire extinguisher. The driver and passenger are securely ensconced within FIA-approved six-point harnesses and are seated in LMH-compliant seats fitted with HANS (Head and Neck Support) systems to enhance safety.
It’s worth noting that the Bugatti Bolide, which has already sold out, is limited to a production run of just 40 units, with the first deliveries scheduled for 2024. Alongside this exclusive model, the Mistral roadster, limited to only 99 examples and similarly pre-ordered, marks the culmination of the W16 era for Bugatti, as the successor to the Chiron is set to transition to an undisclosed hybrid powertrain in the future.