We recently got a chance to interview a top official at Bugatti. During our conversation, he talked about Bugatti’s future plans including the brand’s 110th anniversary celebrations. We quizzed him about the Chiron Super Sport and a possible four-door Bugatti.
We also got some exclusive insight about the Chiron successor. To read more about that, click here.
— In order to protect the identity of the interviewee, all questions that could reveal the identity of our source were removed. —
Thank you very much for talking to us. Really appreciate it.
The pleasure is all mine.
Since you’ve accepted my request for an anonymous interview, I am guessing you’ll be telling me all of Bugatti’s plans? (Smile)
Ah, no. Of course not. (Smile)
I would like to start off by asking you about Bugatti’s 110th anniversary celebrations. We have already seen the beautiful one-off “La Voiture Noir” – a tribute to Jean Bugatti’s Type 57 SC Atlantic. How did you decide to do this one-off?
The idea of designing a single car using design elements reminiscent of the Atlantic was decided over a year ago. The project was born at Bugatti and we have been thinking about it for some time now. It is thanks to our new president but also to Étienne Salomé (Deputy Director of Design Bugatti), who is passionate about the Bugatti brand.
When Mr. Winkelmann gave the green light for this project, the team started with a digital rendering. It was presented to Bugatti’s VIP customers and one of them said, “I want this car”.
Then we made a 1:1 model, which was presented at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
And who is the customer that purchased this one-off?
I obviously can’t tell you that. (Smile)
How has the brand progressed since Mr. Winkelmann took over?
He is a remarkable man. A boss determined to make the brand progress and one who has incredible confidence in the employees.
I can understand. So, it is a modern interpretation of the Type 57 SC?
No. Of course, the Type 57 SC Atlantic is a great source of inspiration but there is no question of a modern interpretation. The objective was to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the Bugatti brand, which also coincides with the Jean Bugatti’s 110th birth anniversary.
Will there be more such one-offs?
Yes, I think we could do more.
What does 110 years mean for Bugatti and how are you planning to celebrate this milestone?
We have a lot of things planned not only for our customers but also for the fans. We’re looking into the history of Ettore Bugatti and what he did. He was passionate about a level of perfection that was incredible at the time. As a French company, it is important that we focus on old racing cars like the T35, limousines and GTs like the Atlantic.
Any planned events, such as “Le Tour Royale”?
Yes “the Royal Tour” is one of the events planned for our customers this year. It will be held on June 20-23, 2019.
What’s going to happen at this event?
I can’t tell you that right now.
The legendary “La Voiture Noir”. Where is this car?
No one knows what happened to it on that day in 1940. To escape the German invasion during the World War II, it was sent by train from Molsheim to Bordeaux. Since then, no one has heard about it. But, we, along with our specialists are looking for it. Some experts have estimated that if Jean Bugatti’s Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic reappeared, it would be valued at over 100 million euros!
Do you think Bugatti can find it?
This would be such a historic moment. But, as I said, she has been missing since 1940.
The world has a lot of surprises in store, so I really hope we’ll see her again some day.
Now, let’s talk about the Divo. What does it represent for Bugatti?
The Divo is our first “coachbuilding” exercise in our modern history. The idea of the Divo resulted in a new design, slight reduction in weight, greater downforce and very limited number of copies. Our customers have responded extremely well and it was an incredible success. The 40 copies were sold very quickly.
Can we expect more limited production models based on the Chiron?
Yes, we will repeat these kinds of operations from time to time. The Divo is more of track-focused with angular styling. The next one will be on another aspect…
I can’t tell you that. (Smile)
The Veyron had spawned a Grand Sport version. Can we have something similar based on the Chiron?
Right from the onset, we had decided not to do an open-top version of the Chiron.
Okay, so no Chiron Grand Sport?
There was also a “SuperSport” version of the Veyron. Any plans for a Chiron SS?
It’s all about budget. With an “Big” budget, there would be room for incredible things…
So, that’s not a no.
We’ll see about that. Is there a possibility of having a more powerful Chiron in the future? Well, our engineers are among the best in the world. The challenge with the W16 is the heat.
Let’s talk about the Bugatti 16C Galibier concept. This concept was really impressive. Such a shame it didn’t happen.
Yes, I agree. The 16C Galibier concept was really beautiful. You know, a lot of research and development was carried out on this car.
I know it would be extremely expensive, but can we hope to see it again?
As Ettore Bugatti said: “Nothing is too beautiful, nothing is too expensive”. (Smile)
Can you give us a time frame?
In September this year, we are going to have the “Le Grand Tour” event in Molsheim. It will include a rally divided into two groups. Veyrons and Chirons will do the ‘Long Tour’ from Milan to Paris and then arrive in Molsheim. And on the last stage (Paris-Molsheim), classic Bugattis will join the rally for the final entry into Molsheim. This rally is above all for our customers.
The perfect opportunity to reveal a new model, or a surprise to your customers!
We’ll see in September. (Smile)
How long will Bugatti continue to use the W16 engine?
Our W16 will not last forever, that’s for sure. At some point it will no longer be possible to use it for an obvious reason. But, the engine still has a bright future ahead of it.
Any plans for a “Track Only” version of the Chiron?
We have customers who have already asked us for something similar to that. I would like to make no further comments on this subject.
I still have a question about the future of the Chiron. Is it possible to make it even lighter than the Sport version?
The objective of the Chiron Sport was not weight reduction. Yes, with the Sport version we have reduced the overall weight by 18 kg, but above all, we have strengthened the suspension by 10%. The electronic torque management has been tweaked to make it more agile.
Can we make a lighter Chiron? Yes, but will it always be a Chiron, will it always have driving comfort? We will see.
Can we hope for Bugatti’s return to Le Mans?
No, we currently have no plans to enter the Le Mans 24 Hours race.
Over the years, Bugatti has created some incredible road cars. But, there have also been Bugatti race cars.
90 years ago, the open-air Bugatti Type 35B, with its 140 hp, 8-cylinder engine was running at speeds well above 200 km/h.
In fact, with more than 2,000 race victories the model is probably the race car with the highest number of victories in history.
We know that Bugatti won’t be racing for a while, but a tribute to this icon of motor racing would be great!
Indeed the Type 35 has inspired Bugatti enormously.
Ferrari has its XX program, while McLaren has the GTR program. Does Bugatti have any plans to introduce something on similar lines?
It’s an interesting question. The only answer I can give you is that we’re looking at different opportunities and experiences for our customers.
Let’s talk about the Bugatti EB110. Could we see an EB110 successor or something else?
There will be something related to the EB110 in the future. (Smile)
Let’s talk EVs, shall we? Will there be a Bugatti electric car?
We see an EV as more of for a GT car than a Hypercar. You don’t see a Bugatti EV because the technology is not yet at the level we want.
So, it could happen when the technology is right?
Yes, but if we make an electric Bugatti, it has to be the best electric car out there.
We know that Porsche has invested in Rimac. And Bugatti being a part of the VW Group, do you see the brand using Rimac tech in the future?
This is especially true for Porsche, I can’t make any more comments.
Apart from the coupe and open-top versions, will there be other body styles?
I think we could create something different with a body style that maybe doesn’t even exist today.
Which is your favorite Bugatti?
It’s a difficult question. I really love the Divo, but the next one is going to be really amazing. (Smile)
One last question for you. Will we have a new model this year?
We still haven’t finished celebrating our 110th anniversary. (Smile)
Thank you very much for your time. It was really a pleasure talking to you.