Bugatti, a brand with a rich history unique in the car industry, is celebrating its heroes. The French luxury marque will bring out an exclusive edition, "Les LÃ©gendes de Bugatti" (Bugatti Legends), to commemorate the renowned names which have played a crucial role in its history and which have helped creating its mystique. In the 90th anniversary year of the 24 Heures du Mans, the first Legend is dedicated to a personality who is central to the history of motor sports and intimately linked with the Bugatti company: Jean-Pierre Wimille, who garnered two victories for Bugatti at Le Mans.
Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.: "This brand has been in large part defined by outstanding personalities and historically resonant moments. We want to tell the story of the brand through these Bugatti legends, and at the same time create a link between its past and presence."
The Bugatti Legend "Jean-Pierre Wimille" relates to the successes of the eponymous racing driver who won Bugatti two victories at the 24 Heures du Mans: in 1937, driving a Bugatti 57G Tank co-piloted by Robert Benoist, and repeating the feat in 1939, this time supported by Pierre Veyron in a 57C Tank.
The winning race car from 1937 is the inspiration behind the design of the "Jean-Pierre Wimille" Bugatti Legend. For the historic race the 57G Tank appeared in the racing blue finish that habitually identified French racing cars. Accordingly, this Vitesse now shines in blue clear-coated carbon fibre and a light Wimille Bleu paintwork finish.
The colour scheme is continued in the supercar's interior, as Achim Anscheidt, chief designer at Bugatti, explains: "The materials and colours selected, as well as a host of details, all reference the essential characteristics of the classic models driven by those figures to whom our edition pays homage. In each case, this care has resulted in vehicles in which the authenticity of the past is combined with the modern design, the sportive superlative and the luxurious comfort of Bugatti as an icon of the present. With these Bugatti Legends we are giving history a modern makeover."
The six Bugatti Legends are all based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. This super sports car, launched in Spring 2012, is officially the fastest series roadster in the world since achieving 408,84 km/h with the top down in April 2013. Centred round an eight-litre W16 engine delivering 1,200 PS, the Vitesse produces unequalled maximum torque of 1,500 Nm (at 3,000 - 5,000 rpm), and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in a lightening 2.6 seconds.
The production run for the Bugatti Legend "Jean-Pierre Wimille" will be limited to three vehicles.
The similarity of the car's interior and exterior design to that of the historical race car, the Type 57G Tank, is apparent even at first glance.
Exterior. The body of the "Jean-Pierre Wimille" Legend is composed entirely of carbon and pays tribute to the Type 57G Tank with its blue paint finish, a color characteristic of French racing cars of the era. The dark and light blue color split of the historic vehicle has also been implemented in the Vitesse, often running across whole body parts - an artistic endeavour demanding great technical expertise and craftsmanship. Perfectly crafted dark blue exposed carbon creates a harmonious contrast to the light blue "Bleu Wimille" paint finish, which was developed especially for this model to remain faithful to the original color of the 57G Tank. The entire front area of the vehicle, side doors and the part behind the doors, the so-called "medaillon" (French), are finished in "Bleu Wimille" paint. Only the upper part of the front wing panels remains in dark blue exposed carbon, thus reflecting the striking design of the historic racing car's "Wimille stripes".
The light blue paint finish also graces the underside of the distinctive rear wing, which bears an eye-catching silver silhouette of the Le Mans race circuit reminding of Wimille's first victory there. Further references to Wimille include the driver's signature, which has been lasered into the dark blue tank and oil caps.
The dual-tone color scheme and attention for detail are also reflected in the interior. The headliner, footwells, and seat inserts have been upholstered in "Bleu Wimille", with the dark blue seat bolsters offering a sense of contour. This dark blue, known as "Lake Blue", is carried through in the dash panel, centre console and doors and creates a color dialogue in the vehicle's interior. Decorative stitching in contrasting light blue delivers subtle accents.
As an homage to Wimille, the vehicle and the brand, the Bugatti designers have developed a special decorative stitching in the French national colors of blue, white and red which has been used on the steering wheel and gearshift lever, lending both parts a real sense of elegance.
The headrests have been embellished with the stitched signature of Jean-Pierre Wimille, adding yet another highlight in "Bleu Wimille".
And references to Le Mans can also be found in the Bugatti's interior: the silhouette of the race circuit gleams as a milled and polished aluminium relief embedded in a prominent position below the EB logo in the lid of the rear centerbox, which is itself made of dark blue exposed carbon.
Further Legends-specific features include exposed carbon inserts in the centre console extension bearing the "Les LÃ©gendes de Bugatti" logo with the renowned Bugatti elephant and on the door sill plates decked with the portrait and signature of Jean-Pierre Wimille.
About Jean-Pierre Wimille
Jean-Pierre Wimille was one of the longest-serving test drivers at Bugatti. The son of a journalist, he was born in Paris on 26 February 1908 and drove almost exclusively for Bugatti throughout his racing career. With a number of victories already under his belt, in 1933 Ettore Bugatti invited him to take up the position of official test driver for the brand. He joined Bugatti at a point when its last great racing triumphs lay a few years in the past, making the string of victories he brought home to Molsheim over the following years even more significant. In his very first year he came first in the Algerian Grand Prix, then in 1935 he collected the title in the then-famous hill climb at La Turbie near Nice driving a T 59, following this with a second place in the Tunisian Grand Prix and fourth place in Spain.
And it was Jean-Pierre Wimille who brought Bugatti what was to be its last ever racing number one, in 1947 at the Bois de Boulogne, behind the wheel of a 4.7 litre Monoposto Type 59/50 B. Wimille was a world-class driver, who played a key role at Bugatti, especially as the brand's racing era came to an end. His greatest racing achievement was without doubt his twin victories for Bugatti at Le Mans. He died in a car crash in 1949 in Buenos Aires.