Someone please pour Christian von Koenigsegg a drink.
The butterfly effect, a theory that small causes can have major and far-reaching effects, is a real thing. In the case of a recently wrecked Koenigsegg, all it took was for one small ABS wheel sensor signal to short its tiny circuits and one of seven $2.8 million dollar Koenigsegg One:1s was relegated to the scrap pile. The accident occurred halfway through the third hour of the Nurburgring’s Industry Pool testing session when the driver of the 1,341-horsepower machine lost control at 106 mph.
They promptly braked, and smashed it into a barrier going 68 mph. The impact launched the hypercar an estimated 72 feet into the air where it spun 180 degrees before coming to a rest in a position parallel to the now-mangled barrier. The impact of carbon fiber and exhaust components started a fire, which the driver was able to put out with an onboard fire extinguisher. Koenigsegg reports that the car’s safety systems including the airbags and fuel shutoff system all did their jobs well and not only saved the driver’s life, but allowed them to walk out of the hospital the same day. As we speculated before, the cause of the crash was the ABS system. When the wheel sensor on the front left side of the car failed, an ABS warning light flickered on.
Unfortunately, the driver’s helmet prevented them from seeing the warning, so testing continued. Given that brake feel remains normal when the ABS is off as long as the emergency braking threshold isn’t crossed, the driver was unaware of the issue until they reached the section of the Nurburgring named Fuchsrohre. Koenigsegg makes it clear that like many other ABS systems, its unit has a secondary safety feature that allows the wheels to roll when the ABS unit has a problem and causes a lockup of the front wheels. This keeps the car skidding forward in a straight line instead of rotating out of control and explains the straight skid marks we saw resulting from the crash.
As we see in the previous picture, Koenigsegg engineers have been hard at work these past few days dissecting the wreckage to search for any additional clues and the findings have resulted in a proposed improvement to the One:1 and other applicable models. Koenigseggs are relatively safe thanks in part to an alert called the Active Systems Warning light, which monitors the active aerodynamics, ride height systems, and rebound dampening. If it detects an issue, it flashes a large and more noticeable warning light while restricting the car’s top speed to 62 mph. Koenigsegg’s update will include the ABS system to this group of monitored systems, making a high speed accident similar to the now infamous Nurburgring incident unlikely.
To prevent future problems, Koenigsegg will include ABS failure. Like any good batch of batshit crazy dreamers, the incident won’t stop Christian von Koenigsegg and his team from attempting to break the world record. What’s even more impressive is that their next attempt will be made behind the wheel of the exact same One:1 that got a Nurburgring nose job, meaning that not only is the hypercar repairable, but this planet will continue to house seven Koenigsegg One:1s. The Swedish hypercar manufacturer said that it does not have a definitive date as to when it will come back for testing given that its engineers will be rebuilding this car, but it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning later this year for another round in the ringer.