Bugatti Veyron case study.pdf
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BUGATTI VEYRONSPECIALRicardo supports Bugatti to design,develop and manufacture the driveline forthe Veyron the worlds fastest road car
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One thousand and one horsepower, sixteen cylinders, seven speeds and over400km/h transmission engineering challenges dont come much tougherthan Bugattis fabulous million-euro Veyron supercar.Tony Lewin reports onthe support provided by Ricardo in the development and manufacture of oneof the most sophisticated driveline systems ever conceived
The most advanc e
Its the front-cover splash of almostevery car magazine in the world.Everywhere, writers are strugglingto find new superlatives to describe itsastonishing performance. Andeverywhere the message is the same:this million-euro machine redefines,dramatically and decisively, our ideaof what a car can do.
The concept of a road car faster thana Formula One car is no longer fantasy
but fact; thanks to Bugatti, thisremarkable display is now seen asachievable with a car thats alsoelegant, luxurious and refined, andwhich does not demand racing-driverskills at the wheel.
Bugatti has defied the doubters andproved that 400 km/h and first-classcomfort can indeed go together. Yetwith expectations so suddenly and sodramatically transformed, it is all too
easy to forget what a monumentaltechnical achievement the Veyronrepresents. It is especially important torecall that, at the time it was originallyproposed in 2000, the idea of the 1001horsepower sports car seemed a nigh-on impossible technical challenge.
VW chief astounds the industryA moment of stunned silence grippedthe audience of international
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ed car of our timeautomotive journalists as the crowd ofnormally talkative reporters choked indisbelief at what they had just heard.The scene was the Nogaro HiltonHotel in Geneva in March 2000, whencorrespondents had assembled tohear Volkswagens then CEO, DrFerdinand Pich, deliver his annualstate-of-the-union address to theworlds business and technical media:in the middle of a long stream ofcorporate results, sales predictionsand bland technical statistics, Dr Pichhad casually tossed in the numberwhich was to astound everyone onethousand and one horsepower.
For this, said Dr Pich, would be thepower output of the new BugattiVeyron sports car. Only the absoluteultimate in power, performance andsophistication would suffice for the
21st century revival of what had in itsheyday been the most glamorousmarque in the world. This will be themost exciting and most advanced carof its time, no more, no less, hepredicted.
Previously, only a select few racingcars had breached the thousand-horsepower mark. It would clearly be amajor technical challenge to feed thispower to the road safely enough fordrivers with standard rather thancompetition licences: delivering suchstupendous performance with thesmoothness and refinement demandedby an elite millionaire clientele waslikely to be a bigger issue still.
Bugattis HeritageIt is difficult from todays perspectiveto imagine the awe in which the
Bugatti marque was held during its1920s and 1930s golden age. Its sportsand racing cars were engineered withabsolute purity of focus, always light,ingenious and elegant; the integrity ofthe road-car chassis attracted the verybest coachwork builders of the era,producing style landmarks such as theAtlantique coup and, at the oppositeend of the scale, the mammoth Type41 Royale. In its exotic aura Bugattiwas the Ferrari of its time, but with theequivalent of Rolls-Royce luxury,radical thinking from Lotus and hard-wired race heritage from McLarenthrown in too.
Undeniably, the task ofreinterpreting this unmatched legendfor the 21st century customer hasbeen a daunting one. Accordingly,Volkswagen decided to call upon the
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1250 Nm of torque, but also forautomated shifting and electro-hydraulic control of all key functions.The driveline, too, was to be ofexceptional complexity, with drive toall four wheels, an innovative activerear axle, a Haldex coupling built intothe front axle, and all the electronicand hydraulic control systems to
determine not just straightline tractionbut high speed vehicle dynamics too.
What at the beginning was simplyan outrageously fast pure sports carsoon found itself doing double duty as
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very best skills on offer among theworlds automotive engineeringproviders to ensure the born-againBugatti would satisfy theextremely high demandsplaced on it by customerswhose automotiveportfolios already includethe likes of Bentley,Ferrari, Porsche andMercedes-Benz.
For the embryo Bugattidivision, set up underVolkswagens Wolfsburgroof pending thecompletion of the BugattiAtelier at the marquesfamous Molsheim homeacross the border in France,Ricardo was the natural choiceof engineering partner for thetransmission and driveline system.
Michael Kodra, Bugatti engineer incharge of the liaison with Ricardothroughout the programme, explains:
We had already worked withRicardo on smaller programmes theybuilt the axles for two different showcars that were presented, and theseaxles worked perfectly and without anyfurther problems. We also needed acompany which could supply us with agearbox at low volume: most of theother big gearbox suppliers are seekingto make money through volumes, andwe can only offer a run of about 300.Thanks to this and our previousexperience with them on the W18 andW12 sports car, we decided thatRicardo would be the best company tosupport us on this job.
Ricardos biggest-ever drivelineprogrammeThough Ricardo enjoys anunparalleled reputation in the field ofultra high performance transmissionsystems across both sports and racingcars (providing drivelines for theJaguar XJ220, McLaren F1 and AudisLe Mans winners, for example), oncethe specification of the Veyron wasrevealed it soon became clear that theBugatti transmission system would bemuch the most sophisticated thecompany had ever built. As a result,the programme would be the largestever supported by the companysdriveline and transmission engineers.
Bugattis brief called not just for aseven-speed dual clutch gearboxcapable of handling an unprecedented
With seven speeds, dual clutches, four wheel drive and an active rear axle,the Veyron driveline (right) is one of the most complex ever bulit
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a much moreluxurious, more
Bentley-like vehicle while of course retaining
all its daunting performancerequirements. Attaining all
these demanding design goals,many of which would
conventionally be seen as totallyincompatible, was a major
achievement by Bugatti and all the
companiessupporting theVeyronprogramme.Yet, at thesame time,the fact thatthe Veyron
programmebecame part of
product developmentprocess provided what
was to be the most challengingtask of all.By bringing the Veyron in-house,
Bugattis new technical director, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, ensured thewhole vehicle met the same dauntingdurability targets that would normallybe fulfilled by standard million-a-yearGolf-platform family cars modelswhich have to perform faultlessly inservice over many years of hard use.Prior to the arrival of the Veyron, thenormal life expectancy for a raresupercar was frighteningly short, withnumerous pit-stops and replacementsystems required at frequent intervals.What Schreiber prescribed wasmassively more demanding than
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anything ever seen among normallyfragile supercars.
The durability requirements maketruly terrifying reading for anyengineer with an ounce of mechanicalsympathy. Given that much of its50,000 km is driven with thethousand-horsepower engine at fullthrottle, the Veyrons transmissiondurability programme must rate asone of the toughest the auto industryhas ever devised.
Mike Everitt, senior programmesmanager at Ricardo, believes that thisregime makes the Veyron thestrongest ultra high performance carever built. Wolfgang Schreiber hasgenuinely shifted the goalposts in thesupercar segment, he says.
Big-name supercars all too oftenprove fragile in service. It is rumouredthat one model is only capable ofdoing three full-bore launches beforethe clutch needs to be replaced. TheVeyron, on the other hand, completed200 consecutive full-throttle launcheswith consummate ease. The testersonly stopped because it was gettingtoo dark, remembers Everitt. Theclutches were still fine.
When exposed to the full 1,250 Newton-metres torque of the 16-cylinder engine, the resistance of the air and even the force ofgravity itself seem to have no chance: the EB 164 Veyron eats upthe road as if these physical laws had just been abolished
Bugatti publicity, 2003
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brings home the scale of the multi-national Ricardo and Bugatti drivelineteams achievement. There are nofewer than 660 part numbers for thedrivelines 1200 components and thesystem breaks new engineeringground particularly in its use ofseven forward speeds and twinclutches, and in its real-time role indetermining high speed vehicledynamics through its act