Bugatti has always been a game changer ever since its conception in 1909, and the recent unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show displays exactly how far that concept goes at the Bugatti headquarters. Following the sale of all 450 vehicles in the Veyron series, the auto maker decided to create a purely indulgent super sports car that pays homage to their great racing tradition of the 1920s and 1930s, specifically their victories in the 24 hours of the Le Mans race, however, re-imagined in a completely futuristic way.
The very exciting and buzzed about collaboration with Polyphony Digital, creator of Gran Turismo, has allowed Bugatti to make the highly exclusive brand available to fans, gamers and high-performance aficionados of all ages. Taking the digital, pixelated world where fantasies are extruded and computer generated into a cosmic array of unearthly possibilities and manifesting it into a turbo charged wild thing was a their mission and labor of love.
“Our Veyron series was limited to 450 vehicles, all of which are now owned by proud automotive connoisseurs,” says Wolfgang Dürheimer, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. “However, our fans, who love the brand and have remained loyal to us for years throughout the world, are unlimited in number. This project is our way of thanking them for their loyalty and enthusiasm.”
“Bugatti will remain clearly positioned in the future as a brand with a strong profile,” continues Dürheimer. “We’re building the world’s fastest, most exclusive, most luxurious and most powerful production super sports car.”
Delicious and muscle-bound, they certainly delivered as the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is a glittering blue jewel of an exotic sports car. The designers were not contained by the street-legal standards that they must adhere to for all other cars. Florian Umbach, head of chassis development at Bugatti, had a lot of fun with the project. “For Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo, we’ve geared every parameter to maximum performance, unlike with our production car, where it goes without saying that comfort and easy handling are also key factors.” They were able to dispense with unnecessary elements which makes the vehicle more lightweight and creates space for the new, high-performance aerodynamics and a new radiator layout that were specifically designed for the virtual race track.
“For Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo, my colleagues and I for once were free from the statutory requirements that as vehicle developers we naturally need to comply with in everyday life,” continues Umbach. “It was an exciting project without any limits or compromises. We were only bound by the safety regulations of the FIA.”
“We wanted to make the project as realistic as possible for our fans, and to introduce a real Bugatti to the virtual world of the PlayStation video game franchise,” explains Frank Heyl, head of exterior design for production development at Bugatti. “Every design feature has a purpose. Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is a successful symbiosis of technology and aesthetics.”
Everything you see in the virtual Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is what you will find in the real version. As every racing enthusiast knows one of the secrets to speed is in the aerodynamics, here Bugatti’s engineering team worked wonders in creating a slipstream effect and harnessed the use of the air flow to cool the fiery heart of the horses in unique ways, such as: the headlights who light up in sequence are encasement free and allow the air to slide into the engine freely; the signature Bugatti horseshoe on the front is now a floating element that holds the front wing in place, like a wing support in a Formula One car; the center line crease is interpreted in a new way that allows an elegant visibility of the air outlet of the radiator and flows up and over, from tip to tail; the door mirrors are multi functional and multi layered, two toned carbon fibre with a camera attached, who also serve as airfoils that guide the air down and into the radiators at the bottom; and so many more clever ideas that combine to make this an exquisite sculpture of motor sport excellence.
The idea and love of racing permeates the form of the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo. The wider, lower shape that generates the feeling of power combines with safety touches familiar to the track. Elements such as a removable roof hatch, to take the helmet off of the driver in case of injury; the emergency switches for fire extinguishers and engine cut off; as well as two tailored pins that allow you to remove the door completely if necessary.
Done in the beautiful and iconic French Racing Blue color the designers cheekily decided to subtly include a French flag touch which is clearly seen on the lower rear wing, as well as using red handles for the exterior of the car and of course the metal flashes white in certain light. Thoughtful and thorough throughout the design the car is boldly numbered sixteen of the front and you can find that number like hidden treasures throughout the design, such as sixteen screws in the metal cap, four turbo charges, and sixteen cylinders arranged in four banks of four cylinders, and so forth. It’s a sweet sixteen.
The engineers have calculated that the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo can drive at over 400 kph (250 mph) on four sections of the virtual Le Mans track.
“With our extreme speed on the long straights, we could make up for any disadvantages on the bends, and would then be as quick in the virtual world as the fastest real-life LMP1 race car, which, unlike us in the video game, naturally needs to comply with all FIA and ACO regulations.” explains Umbach.
On the interior the gracious and bespoke aspects continue. For the first time there are two displays for the driver, both of which are convex for improved readability in line with state-of-the-art design. The display on the steering wheel shows all the relevant vehicle information. The second display is located on the steering column and combines the images from the three cameras mounted on the exterior of the vehicle to provide the driver with a better overview for an even safer driving experience. All displays in the cockpit are backlit so the driver can see the information easily.
With the guiding principles of authenticity and exceptional quality, The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo not only uses carbon fibre, which is typically used in racing to keep the cars lightweight, but blue visible carbon fibre. A high-gloss version is used for the exterior, whereas a matte finish is used in the interior to prevent unwanted reflections. The vehicle is upholstered with a particularly lightweight and durable suede, that until now was used only for racing shoes in Formula One. Now it can be found in parts of the cockpit that need to have a particularly good grip or be resilient such as the steering wheel, the dash panel and the headrest.
Bugatti’s design DNA has reached a new stage in its evolution,” says Achim Anscheidt, head of the Bugatti design team. “Given the nature of the project, our concept car for Vision Gran Turismo is overstated and pushes performance to the limits, but its progressive design language will clearly show the direction that Bugatti’s design will take in the coming years.
Bugatti’s ‘Vision’ is powerful and bold, and the future is certainly exciting. This glimpse into the coming designs is a mouthwatering treat that leaves fans everywhere expectantly looking forward to even more provocative fantasies to coming screaming across the finish line.
The PlayStation video game franchise has sold over 70 million units since its launch in 1997.
Bugatti made its way into the record books once again in 2013 with the world’s fastest production roadster, clocking 408.84 kph (254.04 mph)
Photo Credits: Bugatti
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