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RE: Prior Convictions: Record Breakers

RE: Prior Convictions: Record Breakers

Friday 10th November

Prior Convictions: Record Breakers

When it comes to production bragging rights, does Guinness really give you extra strength?



Is it a coincidence that the Bugatti Chiron arrives and, not long afterwards, there's a flurry of activity surrounding the fastest production car record? Or is it more than that: is it the appeal of a certain nice round number? One that starts with a three...

Koenigsegg can claim the kudos at the moment...
Koenigsegg can claim the kudos at the moment...
Last week a Koenigsegg Agera RS took to the roads (rather than a test track, wonderfully) in Pahrump, Nevada, and set a two-way average top speed of 277.9mph, thus becoming the current production car speed record holder. Which is excellent. I like a new number, and particularly one that isn't set around the Nordschleife.

You can, though, get a bit pernickety about this number. About whether impartial verification by, say, the excellent people at Racelogic is enough for you (as it probably is for me), or whether you need an 'official' Guinness world record to make it count. Unlike a 0-60mph run or a Nurburging lap time, it seems to matter. I won't go too far into this but I can see the arguments either way.

I can imagine that, say, Bugatti might want - need, even - the official Guinness title, when it goes after it, and it will, with the Chiron. But that Koenigsegg or Hennessey - whose Venom GT once hit 270.49mph, in one direction only, on the Kennedy Space Center's 2.85-mile runway - might not be able to stand the hassle.

I don't want to big myself up here, but I am the current holder of an official Guinness production car speed record. Yes, really. Set in a Vauxhall Astra. Diesel. In Bedfordshire. But anyway, in terms of expertise it practically makes me a land-based Chuck Yeager.

... but Hennessey has big plans too...
... but Hennessey has big plans too...
What I can tell you is that getting Guinness approval is quite hard, and seriously expensive, work. Our production Astras, to make sure they were production standard, were taken straight from the line, sealed, unsealed to put safety kit in them and be run in, under supervision, then sealed again and only unsealed for the record. The process has to be so controlled - not unreasonably, for if Guinness isn't unimpeachable, then what's the point? - that if your production volumes are low, you might think: why bother?

So, look. If you can buy one, and they've built a few, and they go to the trouble of doing the record, then it counts, for me. I suspect, though, that Bugatti will jump through the requisite hoops. It'll have to. Hard though it is to feel any twinge of sympathy for a Volkswagen Group company, the Chiron is, after all, a 'proper' production car.

I know, the Agera and Venom GT are production cars too, insomuch as that, if you had the cash, you could buy one. It's just that the Bugatti has been built to meet the most exacting standards of one of the world's biggest car manufacturers, even when it comes to, say, keeping the cabin consistently cool when it's 30ºC outside and you're doing 186mph, or how quickly it clears its windscreen of fog in cold weather. There will be 500 of them, not a dozen. It's homologated to all global full production standards. It has been crashed, thrashed and tested in a way that, to put it bluntly, most limited-run supercars are not.

... and Bugatti wants another Guinness record
... and Bugatti wants another Guinness record
When it comes to the record, though, it's tyres that give Bugatti the biggest headache. Already Michelin is using aircraft test rigs, rather than automotive ones, for Chiron rubber, because the speeds we're talking about are more inline with aircraft take-off than production car running. To homologate a tyre for road car levels of noise and performance, including wet weather water dissipation, and do the best part of 300mph? It's a massive ask.

It'll happen, though, I'm sure. Wolfgang Durheimer, Bugatti's current President, former R&D head of Porsche and, I suspect, destined for the biggest jobs within VW Group (because he's brilliant, although it presumably helps that he's also untainted by any emissions shenanigans ), told me at the Chiron's launch that he thinks that a production car will one day do 500km/h (310mph, ish). I don't think he'd say that unless he knows it will, and that he knows it will during the Chiron's production life.

I love that the Koenigsegg Agera RS has already got this close. I love that they've had the balls to do it and I love that they've done it on a public highway. I'm thrilled, too, that they found a public body prepared to close the road to let them. Seems unlikely that they'd let you have a go along the A414 between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, doesn't it?

But, somehow, there's a car, and a number, that I'm still waiting to see.


Read Matt's previous blogs below:
Sensible supercars
Performance limits
Phantom or i10?
Pondering the Porsche Passport
The disappearing manual M-car
The undead concept

[Source: Autocar]

 

Author
Discussion

CaptainRAVE

Original Poster:

245 posts

35 months

Friday 10th November
quotequote all
Guinness approval is irrelevant in this day and age tbh.

Oh, and plenty of people seem to have a go along the A414 between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead smile (unofficially of course)

hondansx

2,854 posts

148 months

Friday 10th November
quotequote all
I think you summed things up very well. Agree entirely.

CraigyMc

10,554 posts

159 months

Friday 10th November
quotequote all
CaptainRAVE said:
Guinness approval is irrelevant in this day and age tbh.

Oh, and plenty of people seem to have a go along the A414 between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead smile (unofficially of course)
These records should be set with FIA participation.

pardonmyenglish

32 posts

34 months

Friday 10th November
quotequote all
For me the times coming from small manufacturers don't hold the same weight as those from bugatti. They could easily make a 2000+ hp chiron which would be brutal, unreliable and compromised just like its competitors. But that's not bugatti ethos.
Bugatti probably spent more money on designing the seats than hennessey for his whole car development.

williamp

15,639 posts

196 months

Friday 10th November
quotequote all
well, when the British are aiming for 1000mph very soon, the rest of the world have to do something!!! paperbag
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RoverP6B

3,429 posts

51 months

Friday 10th November
quotequote all
I've not heard of Koenigseggs being unreliable or horribly compromised. On the contrary, they appear quite usable, complete with a very good traction control system.

Doesn't Guinness rely on Racelogic to verify speeds anyway?

noble12345

140 posts

139 months

Friday 10th November
quotequote all
I couldnt care less, they publish a book and turn up in naff blazers from the 80's with a stopwatch and a clip board. Their approval is meaningless to me, especially when just about everything in the world that can be corrupt usually is. Would Guiness really know if the Bug had an extra 100hp from factory? Considering the lengths companies like for example ferrari goto with their "production line press cars" with tuned suspension, extra hp/torque, F1 rubber, i very much doubt Guiness would.

And look at Lambo's Huracan P ring time lol the whole "im the fastest" idea has just lost cred.

I think the Koenigsegg Agera RS could have gone faster still with a longer top gear.

Ironman523

1 posts

7 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all
What a load of old rubbish, who cares apart from Top Gear producers so they can make a Telly program. A car should be judged by how much fun it is to drive and whether you look a tw*t in it or not. How fast it goes is completely irrelevant.

samoht

537 posts

69 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all

Post-dieselgate, the idea that just because Guinness have supervised the record it is unimpeachable seems a bit of a stretch to me. The car could easily check GPS locations or lack of steering input and switch to another map with an extra 0.5 bar boost etc ;-)

Amanitin

97 posts

60 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all
samoht said:
Post-dieselgate, the idea that just because Guinness have supervised the record it is unimpeachable seems a bit of a stretch to me. The car could easily check GPS locations or lack of steering input and switch to another map with an extra 0.5 bar boost etc ;-)
agreed. The term 'production standard' is quite difficult to interpret when basically every single car is a one-off.
Unless the Guinness representative is able to choose blind folded from a production lot signed off and ready to be driven away (eg ten cars at least), sealing the car and such antiques make no sense.

CanAm

2,710 posts

195 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all
<<Already Michelin is using aircraft test rigs, rather than automotive ones, for Chiron rubber, because the speeds we're talking about are more inline with aircraft take-off than production car running.>>

Its actually over 100mph faster than the take off speed of passenger jets!

Yipper

3,947 posts

13 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all
The Guinness Book of World Records is the best and most respected arbiter of world records out there. They've been doing it for 62 years, longer than anyone else, and have built a solid reputation across the entire planet, from China to Europe to America. I also am in the Guinness Book (not car-related) and I can tell you their processes for verification leave no stone unturned. They are surprisingly thorough and don't just roll up on a Monday morning with a lab coat, clipboard and stopwatch.

gigglebug

543 posts

45 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all
Yipper said:
I also am in the Guinness Book (not car-related) and I can tell you their processes for verification leave no stone unturned.
For the most amount of posts where you haven't actually done what your claiming to have done on a web based forum presumably?

samoht

537 posts

69 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all
CanAm said:
<<Already Michelin is using aircraft test rigs, rather than automotive ones, for Chiron rubber, because the speeds we're talking about are more inline with aircraft take-off than production car running.>>

Its actually over 100mph faster than the take off speed of passenger jets!
True, although Concorde took off at approx 250mph 40 years ago, so it's not massively beyond the state of the art.

Cold

3,068 posts

13 months

Saturday 11th November
quotequote all
samoht said:
True, although Concorde took off at approx 250mph 40 years ago,
That's a long journey.

ukaskew

3,469 posts

144 months

Sunday 12th November
quotequote all
CraigyMc said:
These records should be set with FIA participation.
Whose road agenda is solely based around safety, so I find that unlikely. I know speed doesn’t equal unsafe, but it’s still somewhat outside of their remit.

CraigyMc

10,554 posts

159 months

Sunday 12th November
quotequote all
ukaskew said:
CraigyMc said:
These records should be set with FIA participation.
Whose road agenda is solely based around safety, so I find that unlikely. I know speed doesn’t equal unsafe, but it’s still somewhat outside of their remit.
Except that obviously they also have a massive sporting arm and are the regulator for all the land speed records.

Outside their remit? Read what they do.