Koenigsegg Explains One:1 Nurburgring Crash, Updates Safety Systems via "Recall"

Koenigsegg Rebuilding One:1 that crashed on Nurburgring 3 photos
Photo: Koenigsegg
Koenigsegg One:1 ABS fault on dashboardKoenigsegg Rebuilding One:1 that crashed on Nurburgring
This week started in a terrible manner, with the Koenigsegg One:1 seeing its quest to grab the Nurburgring production car record from the Porsche 918 Spyder being put on hold by a brutal crash. The Swedish carmaker, which let it slip it would rebuild the Megawatt car, has been working overtime to analyze the crash and we now have the results.
Spoiler alert: it was an ABS fault, not unlike in the case of 2017 Camaro ZL1 prototype that crashed on the Ring back in May. However, while Chevrolet put on its corporate hat and never spoke about the incident, Angelholm opened up about the accident on the company blog, explaining how it happened and the changes it has led to. Speaking of which, we weren't kidding when we said the Swedes deserve a round of applause for their attitude towards the whole story.

How did it all happen?

First of all, since we only have aftermath footage of the accident, the K brand sheds some light on how the crash occurred. Koenigsegg explains the crash took place some 3.5 hours into the testing session, around 16:30 PM local time.

With Koenigsegg's yet unnamed driver (we're probably looking at the driver hired specifically for this job, not Koenigsegg's Robert Serwanski) exiting the Fuchsröhre, the One:1's ABS, which had already quit, led to the front wheels being locked at around 105 mph (170 km/h). As many modern ABS systems, the Koenigsegg's one allowed the rear wheels to continue to rotate, so that the car wouldn't end up spinning.

Thus, the driver carried on braking in a very straight line, which led to the Egg hitting the protection barrier in the Adenauer Forst area at around 68 mph (110 km/h). While covering its kinetic energy dissipation task, the fence acted a bit like a trampoline, launching the One:1 into the air for some 72 feet/22 meters - keep in mind the automaker estimated the figure.

The car turned 180 degrees while in the air, landing on its left rear wheel, turning and landing parallel with the fence, as we all saw in the aftermath images.

Wasn't the driver aware of the ABS fault?

According to the automaker, the anti-lock issue, which was linked to the front left ABS wheel sensor signal, had determined the ABS warning light to show up on the dash.

Alas, despite its central location, the helmet and the vibrator focus of the driver meant he (or she) failed to notice it. Truth be told, a head-up display would come in handy, since many Koenigsegg owners find themselves in such high-velocity scenarios.

This is the part where we must trust Koenigsegg about the Fuchsröhre (Foxhole) being the first braking incident that had required ABS assistance - remember, that corner is some 3.7 miles (6 km) into the course. With the braking system having acted normally under less-than-ABS-requiring conditions, the driver was taken by surprise and that's what led to the looong "11" marks on the track.

The Swedish company replicated the fault using a "similar" car (probably not a One:1, since there are only seven in the world, but an Agera) at its Angelholm factory test track, with the result being similar to the ones shown during the 'Ring incident.

OK, but what about the fire?

Koenigsegg assures that the car's passive safety systems worked, fuel shut-off included and that there were no fuel, oil of hydraulic fluid leaks. The small fire was caused by the carbon fiber panels touching the obviously hot exhaust. Nevertheless, it seems the driver, who had been protected by the airbag, grabbed the on-board extinguisher, exited the car (the doors were still fully functional) and put out the fire. We'll remind you that, according to standard procedures, the driver was taken to the hospital and released a few hours later.

Let's talk rebuild matters

This was also an opportunity for the One:1 to prove that its carbon monocoque provides impressive levels of protection. In fact, while the front and rear subframes, along with other parts, were heavily damaged in the crash, the monocoque is "intact".

The chassis, as well as the twin-turbo 5.0-liter V8, the transmission and other bits will "form the basis for the rebuild of the car in the near future," Speaking of which, we were surprised to find out the removable roof us untouched and even perfectly aligned, which says something about the impact force dissipation paths built into the car.

There's a safety update coming

With the exception of early models, Koenigseggs come with a feature called Active Systems Warning. The proprietary piece monitors the active systems of the car, from the ride height and the aero flaps beneath the front apron to the active rebound damping and rear wing.

When an issue appears, the vehicle enters some sort of a limp mode, being restricted to 62 mph (100 km/h) until the problem is solved and the error is cleared from the system.

Koenigsegg will now include the ABS in the Active Warning System, with the company explaining this will "have the dual effect of heightening driver awareness of the fault and restricting vehicle output until the fault is fixed."

You can probably consider this a voluntary recall, but the kind that sits well above the legal requirements.

When will Koenigsegg resume its 'Ring activities?

While also working to sent the new Regera hybrid out into the world, Koenigsegg is determined to return to the Nordschleife as fast as possible. Using the expected conservative approach, the automaker explains: "Will we be back this year? That is also hard to say at this point, but we won’t say a definite ‘no’,"

Let's just say that we don't see how there could be two sides in a bet involving the 1,341 hp (1,361 PS) machine's Nurburgring record attempt.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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