Col du Stelvio Tour: Crossing the Alps in a Bugatti T35 with Andy Wallace, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Col du Stelvio Tour: Crossing the Alps in a Bugatti T35 with Andy Wallace, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans


Andy Wallace driving a Bugatti T35, followed by a Bugatti T51.

Bugatti

It has been published

The destination of the Stelvio PassCrossing the Alps in a Bugatti T35 with Andy Wallace, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Our editor, Michael Lusk, stepped into the shoes of former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andy Wallace’s co-driver. The pair braved the rain and slippery roads in a pre-war Bugatti T35.

Speed ​​has always played an important role in the life of Andy Wallace and in the history of Bugatti. Winner, among others, of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1980s, the Englishman set the world speed record in 1994 with a production car, reaching 386 km / h at the wheel of the McLaren F1 on the track drive. Germany. A quarter of a century later, in August 2019, he did it again, becoming the first person to break the 300mph mark at the wheel of the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+. In the end, the measuring device showed an incredible speed of 490.484 km / h.

Over 2000 wins

In the 1920s, the driving performance of the Bugatti T35 was otherworldly, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 215 km/h. So it’s no surprise that this pre-war racing car, of which only 45 were built, has over 2000 wins to its credit.

This year, on the occasion of the eleventh edition of the regular meeting of Passione Engadina, Andy and the racing car have therefore created the perfect combination to reunite with this success and make a round trip to the Col du Stelvio from St- Moritz, despite continuing. the rain

Our editor, Michael Lusk, had the opportunity to ride in a pre-war Bugatti and take on the role of Andy Wallace's co-driver.

Our editor, Michael Lusk, had the opportunity to ride in a pre-war Bugatti and take on the role of Andy Wallace’s co-driver.

Giacomo Geroldi

Since retiring from racing, the Englishman has been a test driver at Bugatti.

Since retiring from racing, the Englishman has been a test driver at Bugatti.

Passione Engadina/Andrea Klainguti

As it should be, we wore a Bugatti jumpsuit, a leather hat and convertible glasses.

As it should be, we wore a Bugatti jumpsuit, a leather hat and convertible glasses.

Michael Lusk

If something were to go wrong, it certainly wouldn’t be the car’s or the driver’s fault, but my fault as a co-driver and not being able to read the log book to indicate the path for Andy to follow and especially guide him past. many special steps. Although I had read the 100-page book in detail the night before in my hotel room, I still had trouble following the instructions in a pre-war convertible, under the rain and at full speed, dressed as it should be, a. racing suit, leather hat and convertible glasses.

Party to plant everyone

Despite the rain, Andy had no intention of keeping the nearly century-old racing car away from the Bugatti museum. Instead, he gave everything to get the Bugatti T51, which was ahead of us at the start, and set aside another pre-war Bugatti, which its owner was throwing at full speed around the many bends of the Col du Stelvio. One by one we even passed modern tourist cars that took countless turns to climb past.

As the rain subsided, Andy continued to push the eight-cylinder hard through the tunnels and out of the hairpin bends of the Stelvio; Bugatti was literally “flying” upwards. The coolness from the rain also kept our Bugatti from overheating, which was not easy, as we later learned. In fact, the rally put the cars of some of the participants in the race to the test, causing a few mishaps along the way.

Penalty seconds

Only the tire’s lack of grip on the road surface, which was very slippery in places, demanded Andy’s full attention. So we were relieved that the asphalt dried in the afternoon. After more than 200 kilometers traveling for almost six hours, St. Moritz was not far away. Finally, we were faster to reach the finish line. Except that at the end of the event, we were not eligible for the official trophy because of the second penalty received during the special stage. Don’t worry! No one can take away the memory of an unforgettable race.