Three years ago we first visited Bugatti headquarters in Molsheim, France — the gilded 19th-century Château Saint-Jean, a palace complete with museum and ultra-modern atelier — to witness the hand building of their newest hypercar, the Chiron. Bugatti’s then head of sales and marketing, Dr. Stefan Brungs, made a comment at the time underscoring the rarefied air that Bugatti occupies, declaring that the guys who drive Rolls-Royces own private suites at the football club, but the guys who drive Bugattis — they own the football club. That brought everything into focus, and has remained emblematic of the marque that sits so far above even the pinnacle automotive brands.
In January of last year Stephan Winkelmann, who was born in Berlin and raised in Rome and once served as a paratrooper, took the reins of the vaunted hypercar manufacturer. Bugatti’s newly minted President brings with him an admirable resumé heading two of the most coveted performance brands in the world. He ran Lamborghini from 2005 to 2016, launching landmark vehicles like the Huracán and Aventador, and raising the Raging Bull’s sales to their highest point yet. And in 2016 he briefly took over Audi Sport (formerly Quattro) before moving to what is arguably his most challenging post yet: leading Bugatti into the future.
Winkelmann arrived just before Bugatti unveiled the Divo, a $5.7 million limited run hypercar (only 40 units) that sold out