Bugatti begins assembling the first 1,600-hp Centodieci prototype

Ronan Glon
·2 min read

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Created as a tribute to the EB110, the Bugatti Centodieci is coming to life. The French firm has started putting together the running and driving prototype that it will use to fine-tune the model before it launches production.

Although the Centodieci is an evolution of the Chiron, it's different enough to require its own development process. Engineers have spent over a year running simulations to find out how the model-specific parts react in a variety of conditions. They studied how air flows over the redesigned body panels, for example, including the fixed rear wing. They also examined how the new aerodynamic profile affects thermal management.

"Every newly developed vehicle poses an immense challenge, as we are creating a very small series that at the same time has to meet and even exceed all of the quality and safety standards of a large series," said André Kullig, the technical project manager for one-off and few-off projects at Bugatti, in a statement.

Bugatti started dyno-testing the prototype's chassis at its Molsheim, France, headquarters in early 2021. It's essentially a running and driving car — complete with an 8.0-liter, 1,600-horsepower W16 engine — without body panels. Images released by the firm provide a fascinating and rare look at what's underneath the surface. They reveal parts of the cooling system (including lines that run down both sides of the car) and miles of wiring.

Everything went according to plan, according to the firm, so the next step involves building the first Centodieci body. Here again, data mined during months of advanced simulation work will guide the production process.

"With the newly designed body, there are changes in many areas that we had to simulate using special computer programs. Based on the data, we were able to establish a basic setup as a starting point for series development and the first prototype," Kullig said. He noted that part of the development process involved adjusting the curvature of the different components to obtain a homogenous appearance regardless of lighting conditions.

Kullig's team will then put the development prototype through its paces in real-world conditions, including high-speed and high-heat runs, before giving the Centodieci the proverbial green light for production. Bugatti plans to build 10 examples, and collectors claimed the entire production run before the model made its public debut in 2019. Pricing started at €8 million (about $9.7 million) before options. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2022.

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