We just spent two days at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps with the Koenigsegg One:1 and it’s fair to say we had a mixed outcome.
On the positive side, we did manage to set a new lap record for a road legal production vehicle using normal road tires – the same Michelin tires that we put on the car when we deliver it to customers. At Spa last month, we recorded a 2:33.26 lap, which beat all previous known laps for a road legal production car at Spa by nearly 5 seconds.
This week we recorded a time of 2:32.14 – in practice.
Any improvement in a lap record is a testament to the car’s capabilities and should be celebrated, but to be honest, this feels a little more like unfinished business for us.
In our Day 1 track diary, I explained how noise was going to be one of our obstacles at this event. Day 1 had a noise limit of 110dB. The noise restrictions in place for day 2 of this event were even tougher, at 103dB.
If this lights up, you’ve got problems….
Our original plan was to use day 1 as a setup day and day 2 as the day we would shoot for a proper hot lap at the limit, with a set of brand new tires. What we failed to account for was that a car of the One:1’s caliber is louder than 103dB when run flat-out on a racetrack, thereby making day 2 a tricky proposition due to the 103dB noise restriction.
After the on-site team realized that the noise limit was a real threat to us being able to drive the car to its potential, they quickly made substantial (and rather unsightly) adjustments to our exhaust system on the morning of day 2. It was hoped that those adjustments would keep us below the 103dB limit so that we could conduct our sought after hot lap. We had our doubts but we had to give it a shot, given the effort already made to this point.
Contemplation, work and the end result. Click to enlarge.
RSR Spa had about 50 or so clients present on the day, but they generously offered us a slot where we had the track to ourselves for a brief time. Robert took the car out, did a few warm-up laps and all was OK. Sadly, however, when he finally attempted a hot lap at full power, the dB alarm sounded and marshals waved him back in.
Heading our for the attempt
Despite our attempts to modify the car, we did not comply with the 103dB limit on day 2 – it’s as simple as that.
We would have been OK if we had done our fast laps on day 1, but we hadn’t planned the event that way and were not well enough prepared to adjust for it quickly. We’ll improve on that for the future.
One might ask – how can the One:1 be road legal if it can’t meet a lowered dB rating at a race track?
Well, to put it into perspective, it’s not only the One:1 that exceeds this reduced noise level. There are many road-legal sports cars in the same boat.
When cars are homologated for the road, the noise is not measured at top rpm, when the car is producing it’s top power. It’s measured at a lower speed and in higher gears in order to replicate more ‘normal’ driving. This is also the reason why many homologated, road-going sports cars have flaps in the exhaust that open up at higher revs. The engine can breath more freely at top power with this type of exhaust fitted to the engine. The car will be noisier when pushed to the limits – at a racetrack, for example – without breaking the rules for a road legal car.
But back to Spa…..
In the end we are pleased that we DID manage to take a slice out of our previous lap record. This lap was not intended to be anywhere near our fastest lap as it was recorded during practice. Recording a lap time in the low 2:32’s on old tires and with traffic on the track is no small feat. It was something positive for us to take from the days we spent at the track. Our previous record was a significant achievement and this one should be recognized as such, too.
Here is the 2:32.14 lap. Please accept our apologies for the low resolution but the SD card on our GoPro died.
It pays to remember that the previous non-Koenigsegg lap record for a production car at Spa was a full six seconds slower than what you’re about to see right now. It was done on the same tires the car was wearing when we were at Spa over a month ago. Robert slightly overshot the corners at Les Combes and the turn 18/19 combination into the final straight (after adjusting for some traffic on the approach). So there’s plenty of improvement left in this car at this track.
This new record is a small positive, but we can do better.
We came to Spa with certain expectations and to a small degree, they were met. We have to admit, though, that this was an opportunity that we didn’t take full advantage of.
We hope to have another chance to run the One:1 at Spa again in the near future and meet our full potential.
Watch this space.