Bugatti is sending two of its most successful historic racing cars to this year’s Mille Miglia: a Type 35 and a Type 51. Additionally, a current model of the long-established French brand will be represented on the legendary 1,000-mile race from Brescia to Rome and back with the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. This year, German actor Erol Sander will participate as part of the Bugatti driving team. The Mille Miglia runs from 15-18 May 2014.
Bugatti, a supercar manufacturer with a successful history in motor racing, is participating in the most famous classic car rally in the world, the Mille Miglia, with one of the purest cars built for Grand Prix: a 1926 Type 35. With over 2,000 victories and podium finishes, the Type 35 is the most successful racing car in automobile history. Beginning in the 1920s, this vehicle won all of the most important races for more than ten years, including five consecutive victories at the Targa Florio at the time it was considered the world’s most challenging open road race.
Following the motto “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday”, the Bugatti Type 35 played a key role in the Molsheim manufacturer’s golden era, with founder Ettore Bugatti selling numerous Type 35 vehicles to wealthy customers immediately after successful race weekends. In its time, the Type 35 was the only car that could be driven both on the race track and on the streets.
The Type 35 is powered by a 120 PS 2.3l in-line eight-cylinder engine. Its 750 kilogrammes are distributed perfectly across the axles (50 to 50 per cent), making the car incredibly dynamic.
The second racing car of the Bugatti factory team is a Type 51, which was manufactured between 1931 and 1934. The Type 51 represents the high point of Bugatti racing car construction. Designed as a successor to the supercharged Type 35B, it has a 2.3 litre double overhead cam engine, which produces between 180 and 190 PS. This was the first Bugatti race car to use a double overhead cam.
Bugatti achieved important victories with the Type 51, such as in 1931 at the Monaco Grand Prix with driver Louis Chiron and at the Tunis Grand Prix with driver Achille Varzi. In the same year, both won the 10-hour French Grand Prix in Montlhéry with a Type 51. Bugatti achieved another victory at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1933, when Achille Varzi won. The Type 51 won further victories in the same year in Monza, at the Grand Prix in Dieppe, and on the AVUS with Pierre Veyron as the driver.
This classic car with an incredible past will be accompanied by a modern day icon: the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. This representative of the current model range is handmade at the company’s historic headquarters in the Alsatian town of Molsheim, like all previous models, and has an 8-litre W16 engine. The Grand Sport Vitesse exhibits performance characteristics which are one-of-a-kind: 1,200 PS, 1,500 Nm of torque and exhilarating acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in 2.6 seconds. With a top speed of 408 km/h with the top down, the Grand Sport Vitesse is the world’s fastest production roadster.
The most prominent driver in this year’s Bugatti factory team is the German actor Erol Sander. He will pilot the Type 35 and is excited to be part of this special challenge. “I am a huge car fan and have already taken part in various classic car rallies,” said the TV personality. “Taking part in the legendary Mille Miglia is amazing, but doing so at the wheel of a Bugatti means that I get to realise two dreams at the same time.”
Since 1977, the Mille Miglia has been run in homage to the legendary races of the past; between the début race in 1927 and its provisional end in 1957, it was known as one of the world’s longest and hardest motorsports events. Even though the race is now conducted as a regularity and reliability rally, it has lost none of its aspirations or fascination. The 1,000 miles (approximately 1,600 kilometres) will be driven over the course of four days of racing. The rules stipulate that only cars that took part in the original Italian classic races and are still in their original condition may participate in the competition.
The Mille Miglia runs from 15-18 May 2014. The Bugatti Type 35 will drive with the start number 22, and the Type 51 will have number 35.