On the occasion of the French National Day on July 14, Bugatti explores its intimate connection with the color “French Racing Blue”, from its origins in motorsport to its development for exclusive hypersport cars. At the beginning of a new era for Bugatti, this blue reinvents itself.
From the first motorsport successes of the Bugatti Type 35 to the revelation of Chiron marking its era, “French Racing Blue” has always been at the heart of Bugatti’s identity and way of life: “The life in blue”. Over time, it became the symbol of Bugatti’s extraordinary achievements and supremacy in world motorsport and has since represented the best in French engineering, innovation and design. As Bugatti enters a whole new era today, the brand is rethinking “French Racing Blue”.
Achim Anscheidt, director of design at Bugatti, said: “The blue representative of French motorsport or” French Racing Blue “is synonymous with passion, success in motorsport and patriotism. Early French race cars, including many Bugatti models – like the hegemonic Type 35 – was adorned in a vibrant blue that could be instantly recognizable to the spectators, even though these racers roared at over 100 km / h before their eyes. “
This emblematic color has evolved over the years, much like Bugatti vehicles. Legend has it that Ettore Bugatti’s wife, Barbara, liked to smoke ‘Gauloise’ cigarettes, and that their light blue packaging is said to have inspired the first shade of ‘French Racing Blue’.
Pre-war Bugatti from the early 1920s had a very light, light turquoise blue hue, which later changed to a more saturated dark blue in the mid-1920s – the one that Bugattis and enthusiasts notice even today associate with the race cars of Molsheim. Later, in the 1930s – in the days of Jean Bugatti – the use of two shades became very popular on both touring cars and racing vehicles, making the combination of vibrant blue and turquoise blue clearly characteristic of the Type 57 Tank, which won at Le Mans. It was during this period that the brand identity based on the use of two colors for the body, still at the heart of Bugatti’s design DNA today, was born. “Bugatti cars and blue in all its shades were so closely connected that the French racing blue or ‘French Racing Blue’ eventually became ‘Bugatti Blue’.”explains Anscheidt.
When Bugatti reinvented itself with the arrival of the Veyron in the early 2000s, the design team set out to find a new “Bugatti Blue” to mark this whole new era for the brand. In 2007, after carefully analyzing the many shades of blue used since the company was founded in 1909, Bugatti unveiled its new interpretations of this color to celebrate the brand’s rebirth under the Volkswagen Group umbrella. A warmer blue, a colder blue, a neutral blue and – very important for this new development characterized by the use of carbon fiber – a blue carbon, have been defined.
The process of creating this color is the result of hundreds of hours of research that draws on Bugatti’s legacy. Thanks to authentic models of the first Bugatti cars, pioneers within the brand, presented during the Concours d’Elegance, such as Pebble Beach or Villa d’Este, it was possible to get your fingers in samples of original paint carefully preserved. These shades then had to be reworked to match current quality standards and modern tastes.
Anscheidt added: “Early paintings were often made from what the workers had on hand. They no longer correspond to today’s standards, and we simply could not use these original paints today. Today we have to create something timeless that reflects the lines and style of classic and modern Bugatti. ”
In modern Bugatti vehicles, the use of “French Racing Blue” is not limited to the body. Intricate seams full of contrasts clothe the leather interior and a particularly difficult process of anodizing aluminum is used for the surfaces. Creating blue anodized aluminum, for example, is extremely complex, especially when the blue hue needs to be uniform across all of the car’s components. Each piece of aluminum will react differently during this process.
As Bugatti now writes a new page in its history with the Bugatti-Rimac alliance, the latest reinterpretation of the famous “French Racing Blue” and the definition of a new “Bugatti Blue” are already essential elements of the brand’s future identity. This new identity must have a timeless nuance, recognizable at first glance and pay homage to Bugatti’s rich heritage. This new “Bugatti Blue” should reflect “La Vie en Bleu”, the Bugatti style, for owners as well as for fans and enthusiasts, in digital as well as in physical form. But most important, of course, will be its application to the future range of Bugatti vehicles.
Anscheidt concludes: “It is important for us today to review all aspects of our design, engineering and production phases. Of course we work according to the basic Bugatti principles of speed, luxury, beauty and innovation, but we are also more attentive than ever to sustainability. And the creation of a new “French Racing Blue” with a focus on sustainability is already underway. textiles, and what is now considered a noble material.If, for example, we go back to the past, we see that the drivers sat on leather – this material was not considered luxurious at the time – while the members of the nobility took place on silk and other noble textiles. Today is something that makes us reflect on the beginning of a new era for Bugatti. “
Photos – Video: Bugatti