Bugatti has announced that they will offer “Les Légendes de Bugatti”, an exclusive special-edition run of the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse that pays homage to six heroes of their successful history. The first one will debut during Monterey Car Week 2013.
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 Grand Sport Vitesse ‘Legend Jean-Pierre Wimille’ will be limited to a production run of three units and like the other 5 Legend Editions will be launched over the next 12 months. Bugatti will enhance all six special Vitesses visually with design cues from the cars that its heroes drove. They would like to commemorate the renowned names which have played a crucial role in its history.
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.