Ringside Seat: playing with the big boys


It takes a lot to turn my head these days. Living and working at the Nurburgring can leave a man jaded to the sounds and sights of supercars. It's sad, but it's true. Porsche GT3s are more common than Boxsters and there are more BMW M cars than regular models.

You'll need more than that to stand out here
You'll need more than that to stand out here
But once a year an event so rich and ostentatious comes to town that it's impossible to ignore. So yesterday I made excuses to my boss, and went for a lunchbreak wander around the Nordschleife carpark like any other gobsmacked tourist would.

This is Gran Turismo Nurburgring; now officially the Premier League Nurburgring trackday. At a mere 3,500 Euros per car (plus tax), it's a three-day, five-star party with more tracktime than most cars can handle without a service of some kind. Ferarris and high-end Porsches abound. A nice 996 GT3 or E46 M3 looks like a poor-man's car in this company.

An event like this attracts the kind of customer who has a very special car, and who doesn't mind forking out a lot of money to enjoy it with some likeminded petrolheads. And one of those customers is Bard Eker - founder and MD of Eker Group. The company that also owns 49 per cent of Koenigsegg.

Two amazing cars, one incredible ride
Two amazing cars, one incredible ride
Half the carpark seem to be gathered around the Swedish hypercar manufacturer's latest offering. Bard's efforts to enjoy the trackday like any 'normal' millionaire are constantly thwarted by people like myself asking him questions.

But who can blame us for forming a crowd around his parking spot? He's driving a bright red Agera R. An 1,115hp hypercar that at just 1,295kg in weight makes a Veyron look heavy and a tad-underpowered.

Only one other car in the car park can hold a candle to the presence of the Swedish monster. It's got a 'for sale' sign in the window, and a read of the spec-sheet reveals it's not just a Pagani. It's a Zonda F Clubsport. One of just 25 ever made.

Boys with (very expensive) toys...
Boys with (very expensive) toys...
And thanks to a swift conversation with the organisers and respective hypercar owners, we're about to put the two together for a very special photoshoot. Using every trick in the book, my 'instructor' tags and a whole lot of smiling maniacally, I'm soon sitting in the passenger seat of the Pagani while the event photographer outlines what he wants from the two drivers. Basically, he wants them to drive slowly, so he can manoeuvre his Jaguar XFR camera car around for the best shots.

After only a few corners it's obvious that both drivers are not too happy with this. Not only is it like trying to keep an amphetamine-addled tiger on a short leash, but the photographer keeps motioning for about two million Euros of cars to come closer together. Terrifying...

Just when my nerves can't take it anymore, the 1.5 mile Doettinger Hoehe straight appears in front of us. I look across and see the grin on Bard's face. Photographer be damned. My head isn't about to be turned by these cars, it's going to be thrown back into the blue leather headrest by 600 of AMG's finest V12 horses being trounced ... see the video below!


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Comments (71) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Jayfish 11 Apr 2012

    Dale (& PH) your story has made the front page of koenisegg's website smilewww.koenigsegg.com/

  • Tom73 09 Apr 2012

    stephen300o said:
    Some great leading edge tech from Mr Koenigsegg especially considering it's only a tiny company.
    Indeed. And this is why Koenigsegg is so charming. While comparatively massive Ferrari is bragging about it's new aerodynamics and brake cooling in the F12 Berlinetta...

    "Boosting downforce by 76 percent is the new Aero Bridge which uses the bonnet to generate downforce by channelling air away from the upper part of the car onto its flanks, reducing drag and increasing downforce along the way. The Active Brake Cooling is a system that opens guide-vanes to the brake cooling ducts only at high operating temperatures which trigger better downforce at high speeds."

    ... Koenigsegg have not only done it...



    ... but are moving forward to bigger and better things like ANS nano coated cylinder sleeves, Cargine pneumatic hybrids and hollow carbon fiber skin constructions without making much noise about it.

    http://www.appliednanosurfaces.com/pressrelease201...

    http://www.cargine.com/index.html


    Some good stuff from the man himself here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-zv6ZY4p4A

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laQz0Ih4u0U

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV2h2I4UeXs

  • stephen300o 09 Apr 2012

    vincegail said:
    This one of the Agera R against Veyron SS is also very interesting, especially the relative speed (speeddifference between the two). At first the Veyron has the upperhand, but the Agera R catches up pretty quickly!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV4mV7qb1Wk
    Thats what was said earlier, the Veyron starts running out of puff while the Agera relentlessly pours on the pace.
    Some great leading edge tech from Mr Koenigsegg especially considering it's only a tiny company.

  • vincegail 09 Apr 2012

    This one of the Agera R against Veyron SS is also very interesting, especially the relative speed (speeddifference between the two). At first the Veyron has the upperhand, but the Agera R catches up pretty quickly!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV4mV7qb1Wk

  • Kawasicki 09 Apr 2012

    BelfastBoy said:
    Kawasicki said:
    Why is it hard to believe that 250mph is possible on the straight, why would it result in a crash? I've reached about 180-190mph on that straight and it was drama free, that was in a car with a lot less power and far more weight.
    Personal scepticism, that's all. That level of performance seems far in advance of anything I'm aware of on the Nurburgring straight. Having said that though, I haven't been there, you have. If you believe that it's possible for an Agera to hit 250mph on that straight, then that's your opinion and I can't argue with you. Like I've already said, I've no doubts whatsoever that the Agera is capable of those sorts of speeds, and wish that Koenigsegg would demonstrate the performance themselves with some proper independent figures from somewhere long enough to discover the top speed.

    To try and understand the other side of the argument, I dug up the old Car And Driver article from Nov 2005 about the Veyron hitting 253mph at Ehra-Lessien. This quote in particular is interesting: "I barely touched the car's top speed governor that was set at 253mph (407.5kph) on that first lap, but on the second I held the car there for at least three of the back straight's five miles." So, on the assumption that the Veyron hit the straight from the banking at 120mph or whatever it is and started harder acceleration, it must've hit the top speed in well under two miles - to allow the driver to sustain the speed for a few miles and still have enough space to slow down again. So, going back to the Nurburgring, on the assumption that the Agera accelerates at least as hard as the Veyron - I'm guessing it's faster? - and also assuming the driver carried plenty of speed onto the straight, maybe it did hit 250mph. I can't say that it didn't, but would be REALLY impressed if it did.
    I'm a natural sceptic too, but look at this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctMg_p_3Afo
    The car goes very, very hard. I would friggin' love to have a go in this.

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