Tuesday, March 15, 2005

2005 Geneva Motor Show - MSN Autos

2005 Geneva Motor Show - MSN Autos: "Unlike most years and most motor shows, there's absolutely no argument in Geneva this year about which car tops the performance league—there's even video evidence to prove it.

It shows test driver Loris Bicocchi at the Nardo test track in Italy—a vast, gently banked circular bowl with a circumference of 12.5 km that allows the fastest sustained speeds of any test venue in the world. Bicocchi went there with a specially prepared but otherwise mechanically standard version of the Koenigsegg CCR supercar, plus a team of five engineers and Koenigsegg founder Christian Koenigsegg.

They came away with a new maximum speed record for a production car, officially timed by the Nardo Prototipo technicians and rounded out to 388 kph, or almost exactly 242 mph. And that's just over 1 kph faster than the McLaren F1's outright record of 387 kph set on the 9 km long straight of VW's Ehra Lessing facility in Germany. At Nardo, where the tire-slipping effect of the continuous banking literally scrubs off speed compared with a pure straight-line run, the Koenigsegg CCR was an amazing 16 kph, that's 10 mph, faster than the McLaren when that car ran at Nardo in 1993.

Best of all, Bicocchi set Koenigsegg's record on 28 February, only one day before the first Geneva Press Day—so both the dust-stained record car and the video achievement were on the Koenigsegg stand by the time the show opened. And next to the red record breaker was the virtually identical production version of the CCR—with its 806-horsepower (yes, that's the right number) twin-supercharged 4.7-liter V8, carbon fiber and honeycomb chassis, and racing-style pushrod suspension. It also does 0-62 mph in a mere 3.2 seconds, and Koenigsegg says that in a straight line, without the speed-scrubbing effect of the banked track, it would reach 395 kph—or more than 246 mph. Oh, and it has a removable hardtop."

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