Bugatti's Historic Racing Cars
French car marque Bugatti has been around for a long time, having recently spent their 110th anniversary last 2019.
For Italian-born Ettore Bugatti, the 1920s represented the peak of Bugatti’s racing history, scoring victory after victory in almost all competitions taking place at the time.
“Bugatti has always produced exceptional and excellent sports and road vehicles. In our history of over 110 years, we have proven more than once that our vehicles are quite successful on circuits, but also on roads and mountain races. Our DNA includes perfect coordination with every road surface”, says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “It has always been our aim to build the best, high-quality-performing, fastest and most luxurious vehicles in the world, even away from race tracks. This has been our guiding principle for the last 110 years. “
The Type 13 signifies Bugatti’s humble beginnings. As early as 1911, the Type 13 finished second at the France Grand Prix.
Despite lacking in power (only having a 1.4 liter engine that made a measly 30 horsepower), the Type 13 made up for it in handling, steering, and braking. The Type 13 maxed out at 125 km/h, but it was still fairly maneuverable. Five examples of the Type 13 were made and entered the French Grand Prix at Le Mans- with a 20 minute lead over the runner-up. The small, high-performance car quickly became popular - with both racing drivers and spectators.
A year later, the volume of the Type 13 engine was just under 1.5 liters and an upgraded output of up to 50 hp. In addition to the power, the low weight of less than 400 kg also plays a role in the races: the Type 13 drives reliably, and maneuverability was significantly better than its rivals.
It wasn’t until 1924 that the Bugatti Type 35 would be a worldwide sensation. The newly designed sports car was equipped with a powerful eight-cylinder engine, a refined front axle and light aluminum wheels. Bugatti set themselves up to dominate race tracks worldwide in the coming years. Be it on circuits or road races: the Bugatti Type 35 is considered a technical masterpiece, nearly impossible to be beaten.
For the first time since the invention of the automobile, a double roller-bearing and triple ball-bearing crank operation was used, a brand new technology that allowed the engine with the eight pistons to rotate at up to 6000 rpm.
There are two carburetors instead of one, which increased the output of the 2.0 liter engine up to 95 hp. The first Type 35 drove faster than 190 km/h and easily passed all its competitors.
As the model was further developed, Bugatti now had the Type 35 B, which had a 2.3-liter 8 cylinder and a supercharger. The power increased to up to 140 hp and it was able to reach a top speed of over 215 km/h.
In 1924, Bugatti used the Type 35 in mountain races such as the one in Gometz-le-Châtel near Paris, where the open sports car demonstrated its power by being the first to race through the finish line, leaving all the other participants behind. Its elegant lines also make it the most beautiful racing car of the era.
Ettore Bugatti called the Type 35 the "forefather of a breed of thoroughbred racing horses from Molsheim - a real thoroughbred."
"It is not just the high performance that have always characterized Bugatti vehicles, but also the high reliability, durability and ease of driving”, explains Stephan Winkelmann.
“Not only experienced racing drivers immediately feel comfortable in a Bugatti, but also ambitious sports drivers. The simplification of exceptional technology, paired with luxury and ease of use still characterizes us today.”
The DNA of the Type 13 and Type 35 has survived to this day and will continue to do so in current and upcoming models by the French luxury brand.
Today, Bugatti is now owned by the Volkswagen Group, and is mostly known for making ultra-exclusive luxury cars with extremely high prices. Bugatti’s current lineup only consists of the Chiron, a starts at approx. $2.990 million or Php 151.2 million).