Insight: Designing the Bugatti Bolide
This ambition is built on the incredibly rich history of Bugatti’s acclaimed racing heritage of the glorious 1920s and 1930s, while looking ahead to experiments that push the boundaries of technical innovation. As the most extreme vehicle concept in the French luxury brand’s recent history, the design journey of the Bugatti Bolide1 – aligned with the company’s core values of excellence, courage, dedication – is an inspiration in its own right.
Bugatti’s design ethos ‘Form follows performance’ for the Bugatti Bolide, the new hyper sports car that answers one of the great ‘what if?’ questions. What if Bugatti built a radically light vehicle around its iconic 8.0-litre W16 engine without any limitation as regards the weight-to-power ratio. The result is the most extreme, uncompromising, fastest and lightest vehicle concept in Bugatti’s modern era, with Molsheim’s famed W16 engine producing 1,850PS2 and delivering performance akin to a Formula 1 car. Its top speed is well above 500 km/h without any compromises in maximum handling and maximum agility.
As a binding force behind one of the most ambitious experiments of Bugatti, designer Nils Sajonz was an integral part to the creation of the French luxury brand’s newest hyper sports car. Already instrumental in the design of a number of limited-run models before working in the team that shaped the Bugatti Bolide, Sajonz helped bring to life phenomenal flagship models such as the Divo3, revealed in 2018, the one-off La Voiture Noire4, in March 2019 and the Centodieci4, in August of the same year. It is the hard work, maturity and tenacity that Sajonz gave to the design of the Bolide, while working in a team of five, that rewarded him with the recent promotion to Head of Special Projects at Bugatti Design.
Sajonz joined the Bugatti design team in 2015, starting as an intern, and even wrote his university thesis on a Bugatti design study for autonomous racing. The designer’s experience in developing limited-run, concept and creative experiments makes him perfectly suited for the position of Head of Special Projects, taking charge of forthcoming studies to continue Bugatti’s unrivalled take on hyper sports car design. Supporting projects such as the Centodieci, Divo and La Voiture Noire gave Sajonz a first-hand view of what it takes to design the world’s most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive hyper sports cars. Sajonz will report directly to Achim Anscheidt, Director of Design.
The Bugatti team developed a light monocoque made of carbon around the drive. The integral front end joined to it is also made of high-strength carbon fibres, as are the fully aerodynamically effective underbody and the monocoque itself. The single-fibre tensile strength of the fibres used is 6,750 newtons per square millimetre, the single-fibre stiffness is 350,000 newtons per square millimetre. These represent figures that are only reached in the aerospace industry.
Instead of water-to-air intercooling, the Bugatti Bolide has air-to-air intercooling with water pre-cooling for optimal performance on the racetrack. The two water coolers, which are arranged in front of the front axle, provide a more effective radiator system in terms of flow than is customary even in Formula 1. Newly developed and hybrid carbon titanium turbofan radial compressors ventilate and cool the high-performance ceramic racing brake system.