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Bugatti’s new boss knows his limits

From April 2023 issue car and driver.

Around 2005, we interviewed Spyker CEO Victor Muller to ask him why he started a car company. He replied, “Why do dogs lick? [itself]?Because I can. “

He then promised that I would drive the Spyker soon. That turned out to be as sound a pledge he made about saving Saab years later. The point is, you have to be a very confident geeky to start a car company. He has two reasons why I bring this up. For one, I’ve been waiting for years for an opportunity to use a Victor Muller quote. Second, I recently found out I was wrong. Mate Rimac is no maniac.

The 35-year-old doesn’t just own a Bugatti, he owns a Bugatti. period. And at times, he sounds just as awed by it as everyone else.

“If 20-year-old me could see a day in my life right now, he’d be surprised, but he’d think something else would have happened,” Rimac says. I thought that my main business was manufacturing automobiles, and that I also wanted to provide technical consulting. However, it turned out to be the opposite.The kid who once replaced the motor BMW E36 Creating an EV that burns tires is working on a brand of behind-the-scenes magic for OEMs.and he’s busy building Rimac Neveraset a new EV production car record of 258 mph at the Papenburg test track in Germany. He wants to put one of his SMP_900 motors in his old Bronco. It makes 603 horsepower, 664 lb-ft of torque and weighs 106 lbs. That’s pretty decent power density compared to the 351 Windsor.

About three years ago, when Volkswagen’s head of strategy suggested that Rimac take over Bugatti, he didn’t reply for three weeks. “I didn’t respond because I thought I misheard or there was something wrong with the matrix,” he says. But it wasn’t a glitch and now Mate Rimac is working on Bugatti’s Rimac first car. This will be a hybrid instead of his EV.

“I know how to make a very exciting electric powertrain and a very exciting combustion powertrain,” he says. Think 2000 horsepower total naturally aspirated. Very different from Nevera, they do so on purpose.

Rimac is a vegetarian and keenly aware of humanity’s ecological stupidity. He strives to make his business as sustainable as possible. He even plans to recycle rainwater at his new factory campus in Nedelja, Croatia, where he produces food to feed the people. His 1900 employees in the company. There is no fence around the property so you can see the neighborhood kids building cars from your window. The factory is surrounded by rice fields and forests, but the fields and forests are complete with power outlets and his Wi-Fi in case an employee wants to work outside. Surrounding roads include the racetrack corner curbs. The decision, he says, was informed by the question, “How can anyone here have the best day ever?” While he Googles “moving to Croatia,” he takes a short break.

But Rimac’s idealistic tendencies coexist with sober realism. It is possible because he is rational and the world is complicated. He knows that he alone cannot change the trajectory of mankind. And he also points out that there is an inherent contradiction in, for example, Porsche owning a Carrera GT and producing a gas-powered Bugatti while being concerned about the impact of consumerism on the planet. “I don’t know the answer,” he says. “The real change is owning two pairs of pants, but I don’t think we’re going back to that.”

So while he’s going to keep building cool cars, he also has some ideas for energy storage, robo-taxis, and a new campus that folds into an even bigger one. “I get here by solving problems every day,” he says. “I have to walk a million steps. I still don’t think I’ve done it.”

That’s the correct posture. even if he was wrong.

senior editor

Ezra Dyer is car and driver Senior editor and columnist. He’s now based in North Carolina, but he still remembers how to turn right. He owns his 2009 GEM e4 and once drove it at 206 mph. These facts are mutually exclusive. Bugatti’s new boss knows his limits

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