Koenigsegg have a slightly chequered history at the Nurburgring. From having their lap record attempts thwarted at the last minute to crashing at high speed, their goal for Nordschleife lap time dominance has not yet been achieved.
This article takes a chronological look at the various Nurburgring Koenigsegg run-ins over the last few years.
October 2005: Koenigsegg CCR lap time
Koenigsegg’s reputation has been built on producing ridiculously powerful and lairy cars. The Koenigsegg CCR was no different. As the most extreme version of the early CC range, the limited edition CCR only saw 14 cars being built, each with over 800bhp.
In the early 2000s Koenigsegg didn’t undertake any official Nurburgring lap record attempts, so it was left up to journalists and racing drivers to see what the cars were capable of around the Nordschleife.
The German publication Sport Auto took up the challenge. They put their Green Hell Guru Horst von Saurma behind the wheel of a CCR. The lap time? The Koenigsegg CCR managed a 7:34 full lap of the Nurburgring.
In 2005 that was a mighty impressive time for the big beast. Things have moved on, however. Now that lap time can be matched by a Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT or an Audi RS3.
August 2008: Koenigsegg CCX lap time
The CCX was the US version of the CCR. Modified powertrain and styling was required to meet US regulations, but it still made pretty much the same power output as the CCR. This is the car that the Stig infamously crashed on Top Gear during one of their power laps.
In 2008 the racing driver Marc Basseng had a go at setting a lap time in a CCX. Unbelievably his lap time was less than a second faster than that set in the CCR. It was a 7:33.5 full lap. Not a record, but impressive.
March 2014: Koenigsegg One:1 revealed
Skip forwards a few years and Koenigsegg reveal the final edition of their Regera model, the One:1. The name relates to the power to weight ratio. With 1360PS and weighing 1360kg, it had one PS for one KG.
Christian von Koenigsegg signals his intent to take this car to the Nurburgring for an attempt at the lap record in the coming months or years.
March 2015: Nurburgring VLN deadly crash
During a VLN race in March 2015 a Nissan GTR gets airborne over the Nurburgring jump at Quiddelbacher Hohe. Air gets under the front of the car and flips it backwards, sending it upsidendown and over the catch fencing. Tragically it lands in the spectator area and one person is killed.
This reminds everyone of the dangers of the Nordschleife.
May 2015: Koenigsegg ready for Ring record attempt
Despite the accident a couple of months earlier, Koenigsegg are gearing up for an official lap record attempt in the One:1. This attempt will be the final act in the Apex: Story of the Hypercar film that has been in production for around 3 years at this point, following the Koenigsegg team’s bid to change the hypercar game with the One:1. The film crew are all set to fly to Germany to document the record attempt.
The current production car lap record at this point is held by a Radical SR8 LM with a 6:48 lap time, followed closely by the Porsche 918 Spyder with a 6:57. Koenigsegg’s simulations suggest the outright lap record is well within their sights.
June 2015: Speedlimits imposed on the Nurburgring
As a result of the terrible crash a few months earlier, Nurburgring management impose a number of speed limits around the circuit in various places:
- Dottinger Hohe straight: Maximum 250kph / 155mph
- Antoniusbuche corner: Maximum 200kph / 124mph
- Quiddelbacher Hohe corner and jump: Maximum 200kph / 124mph
- Schwedenkreuz corner: Maximum 200kph / 124mph
Whilst setting Nurburgring lap times is not banned, the speed limits make attempting it pointless. Nurburgring management forces all manufacturers to stick to these speed limits.
Koenigsegg’s plans are scuppered. The One:1 would easily exceed 250kph down the Dottinger Hohe, getting closer to 350kph. There’s no chance of breaking the lap record. The Apex filmmakers have to come up with another grand finale.
July 2015: Koenigsegg set the Spa lap record
The back-up plan is to take the One:1 just across the Belgian border to Spa Francorchamps. Whilst lap records at Spa don’t attract anywhere near the level of attention or credibility as those set on the Nordschleife, it’s still an incredibly fast and fearsome circuit.
Koenigsegg set their test driver loose on the circuit and he sets a 2 minute 32 second lap time. That’s the fastest ever recorded production car lap record of Spa.
The record stands for a few years until the Manthey Racing Porsche 991 GT2 RS pips it with a 2:31 lap in 2018. And a year later a road going McLaren Senna sets an unbelievable 2:24 lap time, 8 seconds quicker than the One:1 lap time.
Considering the Manthey GT2RS held the Nurburgring production car lap record for a number of years, you can only imagine how fast the Senna could go around the Ring. Come on McLaren, set some Nurburgring lap times.
March 2016: Nurburgring speed limits are lifted
A year after the GTR crashed and 9 months after the speed limits were put in place, the Nurburgring official ly removed them. Additional safety measures had been installed which included new spectator safety fences, viewing areas moved a little further back from the track in certain places and new, smooth tarmac laid to remove some of the bumps
Without the speed limits manufacturers could once again set their sights on the lap records. Christian von Koenigsegg heard this loud and clear.
June 2016: One:1 Nurburgring lap record attempt
In June of 2016 Koenigsegg head to the Nordschleife. Finally their time has come to prove just what the 1300bhp One:1 is capable of.
The team spent a number of days practicing, testing and fine tuning the car’s set up to cope with the demands of the Nurburgring. But this was still a road legal car, so any tweaks were all within standard adjustment ranges.
After much testing they set about making their first bid for the record. Around a third of the way around the lap as the driver exited the Foxhole and braked for Adenauer Forst, disaster struck. The front wheels locked up, despite the car having ABS, and he careened in to the barriers at high speed. Pictures below from Autocar.
The car leapt in to the air and landed the other side of the armco. The £1.8m One:1 was destroyed. Luckily the driver was ok, but that was the end of the long awaited record attempt.
Upon getting the car back to the factory in Sweden the engineers diagnosed a faulty ABS sensor as the cause. The ABS light had popped up on the dash but the driver hadn’t been able to see it. The braking for Adenauer Forst was the first time he’d braked hard enough to enter the ‘ABS zone’, but without it working the front tyres simply locked up, as the skidmarks below show.
March 2019: Koenigsegg Jesko revealed
The crash with the One:1 at the Ring put a pause on any Koenigsegg lap record attempts. In March 2019 they revealed their new model, the Jesko, at the Geneva motorshow.
In an interview with Misha, Christian von Koenigsegg says that they plan to return to the Ring with the 1600bhp Jesko. He joked that it would be impossible for the car to go any slower than 6 minutes 40 seconds.
We have yet to see Konigsegg return to the Ring for any testing, but as the Jesko is nearing release this could well be the year.
However, with the new Mercedes AMG One lap record of 6 minutes 30 seconds, the Swedish boys might need to turn the wick up a little further on the Jesko if they still want that long sought-after Ring record.
Were Koenigsegg banned from the Nurburgring?
Contrary to popular belief, Koenigsegg were not banned from the Nurburgring. Instead speed limits were imposed on the circuit meaning that lap record attempts were pointless.
It’s likely we’ll see Koenigsegg back at the Nurburgring in the next couple of years to see how fast the Jesko can lap the Nordschleife.