Ricardo DCT in Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport

The automotive industry tends to work by certain norms and patterns. For example, by the time one model is ready to be phased out, we usually have a pretty good idea of how its replacement is shaping up and when it will appear. But Bugatti, of course, is no typical automaker.

The House that Ettore Built has, for the past seven years, subsisted on the Veyron alone. Don't get us wrong, it's one heck of an automobile around which to build a brand, but it won't be around forever. In fact, Bugatti announced a while ago that Veyron production was running its course and nearing its end. The open topped Grand Sport, as it turns out, was outside that original allotment, but even that is nearing the end of its road.

So you can imagine our surprise when Ricardo, the company that makes the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission for the Veyron, announced today that it had extended its contract with Bugatti for another two years. Which would be straightforward enough if there were cars in which Bugatti would be installing said transmissions, but as we already established, the marque's sole product is nearing the end of its life-cycle, with no replacement in sight.

So where are these transmissions going? There can only be a few explanations. One is that Bugatti is planning to extend Veyron production with another derivative – likely the Super Grand Sport that is expected to combine the removable roof panel on the Grand Sport with the more powerful engine and bodywork of the Super Sport. Another is that the Galibier – a four-door super-sedan in the pipeline at Bugatti's Molsheim, France HQ – is closer than previously expected, but that model is expected to shift to a different type of transmission altogether.

One possibility we can't quite accept is that Bugatti is stockpiling components as substantial as a gearbox without having a model in which to install them, so watch this space for more news. In the meantime, scope out the press release after the jump to inspect for yourself.
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RICARDO WINS FURTHER BUGATTI DCT PRODUCTION CONTRACT

Bugatti has placed a further contact for the production of the advanced, award-winning Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) system of its iconic Veyron supercar. The new order represents a further two years of production for the DCT unit – which was designed in collaboration with Ricardo – and will be manufactured at the Ricardo facility at Leamington, UK.

The seven-speed DCT of the Veyron is the result of a highly successful and long-standing design, development and manufacturing collaboration between Ricardo and Bugatti, a joint endeavour that encompasses both the transmission hardware and its electronic control unit and software. This state-of-the-art transmission is an important contributor to the high quality driving experience offered by all versions of the Bugatti Veyron. In addition to providing support on the design and development of the DCT, Ricardo has been responsible for the manufacture and supply of these class-leading transmissions for all versions of the Veyron since the launch of this exceptional supercar product.

"Ricardo is really pleased to see a further extension of the partnership with Bugatti on the dual clutch transmission of the Veyron, a supercar that represents the ultimate in high quality automotive design, engineering and manufacture," said Ricardo director of high performance transmission products Mark Barge. "We look forward to two further very successful years in the story of this truly great automobile with its advanced Ricardo transmission."