Steeped in countless racing victories and revered for incomparable design and engineering artistry, Bugatti continues to electrify legions of owners and enthusiasts today. Dominant in Grand Prix competition until the Italian and German state-backed Alfa Romeo, Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz entries proved overpowering by the mid-1930s, Bugatti’s lithe and fast T59 was still a major threat on any starting grid, especially in the hands of Jean-Pierre Wimille, who began his professional racing career with a Bugatti 37A at the 1930 French Grand Prix in Pau. Following his victory at the deadly Deauville Grand Prix in 1936, Wimille contested the Long Island, New York, Vanderbilt Cup, finishing second to fellow living legend, Tazio Nuvolari.
Of all of Wimille’s many victories, his two overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans would cement his enduring legend. Co-driving a streamlined Type 57G “Tank” with Robert Benoist, the pair scored Bugatti’s first victory at Le Mans in 1937. Wimille repeated the feat in 1939, this time sharing the drive with another legendary Bugatti pilot, Pierre Veyron, at the wheel of a supercharged Type 57C—again with sleek, envelope-type, “Tank”-style bodywork.
Synonymous with the Bugatti marque, Wimille served in the French Resistance during World War II with fellow racers Benoist and William Grover-Williams, and he was the trio’s sole survivor. Postwar, Wimille manufactured a car of his own design and won his second French Grand Prix in 1948, this time for Alfa Romeo. Seemingly invincible, Wimille was a strong bet for a future Grand Prix World Championship; however, he was killed driving a Simca-Gordini monoposto in practice for the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix when he swerved to avoid spectators. Through it all, however, the legend of Jean-Pierre Wimille will forever be most closely associated with Bugatti.
Fast-forward to August 2013 and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where the reborn Bugatti marque, Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. of Molsheim, France, premiered the new Legends Edition of its electrifying Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. Powered by an 8.0L/1,184 HP quad-turbocharged W-16 engine and automatic transmission, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is more than worthy of its name as the world’s fastest roadster and the embodiment of Bugatti Founder Ettore Bugatti’s Pur Sang (Thoroughbred) ethos. Fittingly, the first Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse model released under the Legends of Bugatti program was the Jean-Pierre Wimille Edition.
Showing just 1,185 miles, this stunning example is one of only three Jean-Pierre Wimille Edition cars produced, replete with numerous enhancements emulating the iconic presence of the champion driver’s 1937 Le Mans-winning Bugatti Type 57G “Tank.” Beginning with its Bleu Wimille paint finish and Dark Blue visible carbon fiber accents, exterior highlights include a Le Mans circuit motif in silver to the lower surface of the Veyron’s power-adjustable rear spoiler, Dark Blue visible carbon fiber for the rear storage-compartment lid and Jean-Pierre Wimille’s signature laser-engraved onto the Dark Blue fuel and oil filler caps. Interior enhancements include Wimille’s signature embroidered on the seat headrests, the “Les Légendes de Bugatti” series interior door logo and a Le Mans circuit logo etched on the central “waterfall” between the seats.
Proven capable of reaching 408.84 KPH (254.04 MPH) in tests, worthy of its 280 MPH speedometer and 1,200 HP power meter, this Jean-Pierre Wimille Edition Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse features extremely luxurious passenger amenities to match its staggering performance, including automatic climate control and an audiophile-quality Burmester AM/FM CD audio system. Stunning alloy wheels mounting Michelin Pilot Sport extreme-performance tires provide the finishing touch to this one-of-three, ultra-performance automobile that appropriately celebrates one of the greatest racing drivers of all time, Jean-Pierre Wimille, and the immortal Bugatti sports racer he drove to his first victory at Le Mans.
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