Bugatti Veyron prototype at the Nürburgring

It's been sixteen years since Volkswagen acquired the Bugatti name and started showing off successive concept cars to preview the Veyron that followed. It's been eleven years since the first Veyron prototype started testing, and nine years since it entered production. But soon – probably sometime next year – Bugatti will have sold the last of the Veyrons it will ever build. And considering that the Veyron is the only model it offers, it will need something else to take its place, lest the marque effectively go dormant once again.

Having ruled out the prospect of doing a less expensive sports car years ago and, more recently, the production prospects for the Galibier super-sedan, Bugatti is committed to further the concept of a super-sports car that will, in all likelihood, be lighter than the current Veyron – which may seem like a no-brainer, considering the car weighs over 4,000 pounds – but with an engine that is, by every metric but output, twice the size of the one you'd find in, say, a modern McLaren, trimming weight will be no mean feat.

That does appear, however, to be what Bugatti is seen testing at the Nürburgring in this video clip below. Going by the handle fastsportscardriver, the videographer/uploader doesn't seem to know what he has captured here, but the Grand Sport prototype he's spotted seems to be wearing some sort of metal frame over the exposed engine, suggesting something's at work here. Just what that is, we don't know. But when you're dealing with an engine that already produces upwards of a thousand horsepower, whatever they're working on, it's got to be good.