Sixty two years since Bugatti first took to the ice, the French luxury marque returned to Austria’s GP Ice Race with a Bugatti Type 51 and Bugatti Baby II.
Taking to the GP Ice Race track and its accompanying 50m-roundel photo circle for the annual GP Ice Race in Zell am See, Austria, a Bugatti Type 51 and a Bugatti Baby II – based on the Type 35 – were the first Bugattis to partake in the historic event since 1960.
Born out of ‘skijoring’ – meaning ‘ski driving’ – the mode of transport turned-sport first came to Zell am See, home of the Porsche family, in the Winter 1937. The sport later inspired the first Professor Ferdinand Porsche Memorial Race, on February 10, 1952. In 1960, a Type 35 inaugurated the GP Ice Race event alongside two motorcycles, with an airplane flying at low level above the start line.
Passionate racers attend the historic weekend of competition from 28–30 January to witness fellow competitors take to the wheel of both modern and classic circuit racers alongside iconic rally cars.
This year’s adrenaline-fueled event – named ICEolated – took place on the Flugplatz in Zell am See, and did not include spectators, due to COVID-19 restrictions. At past events, over 10,000 passionate spectators have lined the course to celebrate the unique racing spectacle.
Bugatti Baby II ‘Ice Spec’ Safety Car
The Bugatti Baby II, created by The Little Car Company, acted as the ‘safety car’ for the event, despite its smaller than usual scale. Based on the Bugatti Type 35 – the marque’s legendary racer that is widely regarded as the most successful racing car of all time – appeared in a specially-commissioned ‘Ice Spec’. The Pur Sang model was painted in French Racing Blue colors and featured a number of modifications, allowing it to safely conquer the wintery conditions. The car boasted studded tires, limited slip differential, 1930s-inspired racing livery with GP Ice Race branding and safety car-style hazard lights. The Bugatti Baby II also featured the #35 on its bodywork in honor of the Type 35 and its historic victories. The vehicle led cars out on track before the start of the Ice Race GP.
The Bugatti Baby II is available in three versions: Base, Vitesse and Pur Sang. Targeted at collectors, the Pur Sang edition offers the same powertrain as the Vitesse but with the addition of beautiful, hand-formed aluminum bodywork. Using the same traditional coachbuilding techniques as the original Bugatti Type 35, each aluminum body takes more than two hundred hours of skilled craftsmanship to create.
Offered exclusively in rear-wheel drive, all versions of the Baby II have a fully electric powertrain, high performance hydraulic brakes and selectable driving modes. The Base model comes with two modes; Novice which is limited to 20kph (12mph) and 1kW (1.3bhp) of power, and Expert which is limited to 45 kph (30mph) and 4kW (5.4bhp) of power.
The Vitesse and Pur Sang models include the Novice and Expert driving modes, but also offer extra performance from an upgraded powertrain, unlocked by the famous Bugatti Speed Key. This enables drivers to deploy up to 10kW (13.4 bhp), and with a total weight of just 230kg, achieves a top speed of 70kph (42mph). Depending on the weight of the driver, 0–60 kph is achieved in just six seconds.