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The first time a child can run—you might remember that first time that you ran and you felt the air accelerate over your hair and your ears and you thought, wow, that’s a rush. It’s not about going fast. It’s about sort of being fast. It’s about—it’s about kind of elevating human experience into places that we’ve never been able to go before. You don’t feel the car very subtly, very gently bringing you back into kind of control. This, I think, is the biggest change of the hypercar era is the accessibility of a thousand horsepower or whatever it is. I’m not gonna say no to an open runway and a thousand horsepower car. So we go down. We go about 180. Then he tells me to slam on the brakes and take my hands off the wheel while I’m doing it in a car I’d never driven, in a place I’ve never been, going 180 miles an hour. But if the guy who has his name on the car is telling me to do something, I’m gonna do it. Capturing that imagination, the spirit of what the enthusiast wants and what an engineer wants and what an artist wants, it’s really at the cutting edge of everything. And that what makes it so amazing. It’s beyond art. It’s beyond engineering. It’s beyond sport. It’s beyond racing. It’s all of those things together. So as long as one manufacturer is making a car beyond what anyone else can, a child looking at it will say, "Something better is possible." The sheer beauty of driving, the moment that one can take the steering wheel and try with this wheel to communicate with the road, to feel a series of emotions that satisfy the five senses. I think things that are kind of personated and embodies positive emotions and that you work closely with and put your love into, they kind of come alive. And I think when you’re in the car and it’s done the proper way like most racecars are they really feel like an extension of yourself. What is a hypercar? There may be no better way to ignite an argument than to try and define what a hypercar is. A car whose only purpose is to inspire awe in every aspect. The fastest, the most powerful, the rarest, the most striking, the most thoughtfully designed, the most cutting edge. And even then, that definition only takes us part of the way. The hypercar, like the supercar before it, is the expression, in automotive form, of tomorrow today. These cars do things that, from a power train and energy efficiency standpoint, it was science fiction 10 years ago. It’s the car that’s the ultimate expression of what they can do with technology. Really, it’s like creating the Iron Man suit as a car. A car whose price tag pales only in comparison to the desire it provokes among those who can afford it. They’re big projects. There are hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars on the line. They are very expensive vehicles to produce. A price class above what anyone else has ever made before. It’s the kind of hubris that we tend to do as humans when we want to take something to the ultimate level. The hypercar is really the ultimate expression of intellect and ego. It’s where those two things meet. It’s the manifestation of our human instinct to be superhuman, to have that Iron Man suit, you know. As a philosopher might say, it’s to recreate God on Earth. But, again, it’s also about an automotive global sausage fest between these major manufacturers. And I don’t think there’s any question that part of it is just sheer ego. So it’s brilliant. So you’ve got Ferrari waving its bits about and McLaren going, "I’ve got a bigger one than you," and then you’ve Porsche saying, "We got two." Some of the biggest players in the sports car world have bet enormous budgets and their reputations on building hypercars. The Porsche 918. The Ferrari LaFerrari. The McLaren P1. These brands are locked in a battle to define what a hypercar is, and the risk is very real. After all, hypercars sell not in the tens of thousands or even thousands, but in the hundreds or less. There is a market or there is a business model for small, highly technical super sports car manufacturing that doesn’t have to grow beyond 50 cars a year. You don’t have to be GM to succeed in the car business. You don’t have to even be Porsche or Ferrari. It's just amazing looking at these huge stands. They’ve spent a fortune on these things for two weeks and then they tear them down again. It’s just shocking in a way, I guess. Christian von Koenigsegg’s firm isn’t a global multinational corporation. But the vehicles that bear his name are globally known for helping define what a hypercar is. Christian Koenigsegg is one of the finest people I’ve ever met— an intuitive engineer— not a trained engineer but a person whose intuition is incredible. And in his own quiet way, he is changing the car business. Angelholm, Sweden, is like most northern European beach towns. It’s quiet and cold. But to sports car fans, Angelholm is synonymous with Koenigsegg Automotive, a company founded by a man whose desire to build the world’s best sports cars reaches all the way back to his childhood. For as far as I can remember, I’ve been totally fascinated by cars. When I was about—yeah— 5 years old, I went to the movies with my father and saw a Norwegian stop motion animation movie, which was really fantastically made. And it’s about a bicycle repairman who built his own car on the Norwegian mountaintop to race in kind of a Le Mans style race against the established teams and cars and drivers and, of course, won. And this is kind of a fairytale story, but it’s really made in a fantastic way and it’s still shown in cinemas in Norway today. On every Christmas Eve, they show it on television in Norway. It’s kind of a national icon there. But I was really intrigued by this movie and said, "That looks like a lot of fun creating and building your own car "with a lot of unique inventions and then go compete with it against the establishment." So I remember that point very clearly that I felt I wanted to do what that bicycle repairman was doing. Yes, build his own car with his little team and do something fantastic with it. It’s a dream shared by many like him who grew up worshipping the automobile. But the difference— Christian has done just that. This is an old picture from when we built the first prototype. This was before this car, and this was in ’96. This is Christian and his co-workers working on this car. This was in Olofstrom where Christian started the company, and stayed there— he stayed there for two years preparing the first prototype. I actually lived in Olofstrom as well with Christian during this period. And here’s a picture of us back then. I think it was 12th of August 1994— I said, "Now I’m going to build the car." So then I did everything— designing, drawing, creating some kind of business idea planned around a development plan. Then I started finding people around me who could—who could help out. Found a chassis engineer and I found a designer who could help me make a model of my sketches. But it took me two years from the day I decided to do it to have a full running car prototype. With every new his performance iteration, Christian von Koenigsegg and his team at Angelholm keep pushing the hypercar envelope further. But it’s his latest creation that he hopes will really leave a mark. It’s the Koenigsegg One:1. The name refers to the perfect power-to-weight ratio, horsepower to kilograms of curb weight. For every one kilogram the car weighs, its engine produces one horsepower. This is the first prototype One:1 car that we’re going to showcase at Geneva Motor Show. So this is the company test car. So as all other show cars from Koenigsegg, they start out as a show car and then they become our test car and demo car. It will be the first production sports car with one megawatt of power. That’s 1341 horsepower in a car that weighs 1341 kilograms. Usually, we spend a lot of energy and time making our cars elegant. In this case, as it’s going to be a road car which is also very much focused on racetrack driving, we let aerodynamics take the upper hand over elegance. So it’s going to look very racy on the normal road but very at home at the racetrack. It might seem obvious, of course, but the entire car is made out of carbon fiber. The monocoque, the chassis, the body work, all the aero features, everything is carbon fiber on this car, even the wheels. So as before with our Agera R— our more normal cars— we have the most carbon fiber intense road car on the planet. And that makes it lighter, stronger, stiffer than any other car. Carbon fiber is an interesting one because in so many ways it is revolutionizing our industry and it will continue to do so. But it isn’t the answer to all problems. There’s a feeling in the industry at times that you could solve third world debt with carbon fiber. You can’t. It’s brilliant because it’s moldable, because it’s so light and because it’s strong when it’s moved in the direction it wants to be moved. Of course, it’s not in the direction it doesn’t want to be moved and that has to be remembered. In terms of forming the structure of a car, what we’d call a tub, it’s genius. Almost all parts of a Koenigsegg is made out of carbon fiber, and we only use the most extreme type of carbon fiber material available, which is called prepreg. It’s the same that’s been used in Formula 1 and fighter jets and spaceships and things like that. Exotic materials like carbon fiber were once used solely in the realms of aerospace and motorsport. But by the 1980s, a new paradigm would emerge and it would change everything. In the past, the top of the top was the supercar. Everything else was a sports car or a super sports car. Supercars were sports cars incorporating race technology that were street legal. The F40 was street legal. So the F40 was a car that came together where Ferrari used all of its racing resources, where they cared about the aerodynamics. They put it through the wind tunnel and they made sure that it had the, you know, the down force to make it stable on the road at 200 miles an hour. You know, the F40 was a really groundbreaking car, even though it was sort of built on the 288 GTO, which was the car I had on my wall. It was like my personal favorite supercar of the time. The F40 took that platform and just kind of threw it up the technology ladder and said its racing and road cars at a level that nobody had seen really before. The 10 years before the F40 came out were a hugely fertile time for racing technology. You had giant advances in aerodynamics. Material science had come a really long way. You had materials like, you know, composites, carbon fiber, Kevlar, really lightweight materials. On the early ’90s, the Ferrari F40 brought Formula 1 racing technology to the street. A decade later, the next wave in hypercars would focus on absolute power and straight-line speed. Enter the Bugatti Veyron, the first series production car to break 250 miles per hour. I think we created this segment of hypercars. We were the very first to develop a car with a top speed of over 400, and we were the first with a car with a performance of more than 1000 horses. And we were the first to go in a price segment above a million euros. The Veyron is the application of technology against psychology. If you’re able to buy one of these cars, it’s not only your— it’s not your first car. It’s not your second car. It’s not your tenth car. It’s probably your hundredth car in your collection and being able to throw down millions of dollars really means nothing to you. This was a step change in the way people felt about investment in a car. And people were used to spending millions on the arts or spending millions on airplanes. You know, you have to have a plane situation to be one of the people that has this car. You have to be able to ask somebody— one of your friends— and say, "What’s your plane situation?" It took some time, but people understood that the substance of the car is really worth and justifies the price of over a million. It is completely unnecessary but, I mean, our car is not made for transportation from A to B. Our car is an A to A car. It is like you buy beautiful clothes. It’s like you want to go for the best. What the Veyron does, giving the customer the possibility of driving in a speed category where he has not been with his supercars before obviously left something to desire for the other manufacturers. Other players in this arena, they actually are very thankful to us that we opened this field— this field of cars of above a price tag of a million. And for them, this also opens a market and opens the possibility to build ultra sports cars. The Koenigsegg headquarters occupies a base once used by the Swedish Air Force. Runways from which fighter pilots once took to the skies patrolling Sweden’s sovereign perimeter in jets mainly built by Saab are still across the property. The guys here, they tried to stop the Germans from flying here, helping the aircraft from US and from England. And this first division, they always started early in the morning when the mist was still there. And everybody just heard and stopped. They heard them land. They couldn’t see them. So they said, "They must be ghosts." So that’s—it’s taken up as the division badge. They came to us with great pride and showed us their ghost symbol and asked us, "Would you do us the honor "to put this on your cars? "It would be a shame for this to die "just because we have to shut down. "And you’re doing something very different, "but it’s still kind of extreme, fast-moving, "fighter jet-like kind of creature "so we would be very happy if you would put this on your car." So we said, "With great honor." We accepted their symbol, and ever since, we’ve been putting a ghost on each car we build. Every car we build in that factory will have a ghost. If we build cars elsewhere, we will not put the ghost on the cars because they’re not in that premises. So we’re out at the Koenigsegg runway, which has been very instrumental for us in the creation of our cars and what we do. So our factory is actually a former fighter jet squadron hanger. And here, we can go 24/7 any day, any time, to test whatever we want to test with very little planning. As soon as we come up with an idea for an engine tweak, a gearbox tweak, break pads, brake discs, aerodynamics, whatever really, we can just go out and test. And that’s quite unusual even for large car manufacturers to have that opportunity, and that has really shaped what we’re doing, and it’s the reason why our cars can be so extreme as they are as we anytime can go out and test drastically. While the Koenigsegg team has yet to finish their first One:1 hypercar, one of the biggest names in the global automotive market is already in production with a hypercar of their own. Porsche’s legacy of high performance cars spans six decades. But as the first mover in unproven territory, Porsche is shouldering a big technological risk, a hybrid electric hypercar. At a factory in Stuttgart, Germany, Porsche has planned a run of 918 cars built at a rate of four per day. In the hypercar market, that quantity is unprecedented. Are these big, risky decisions? When we get to the big car companies, the proper car companies, the Porsche, McLaren, the Ferrari, that’s different. The Porsche is the riskiest because the Porsche is using more complicated technologies. It’s a much more complicated calibration device and it’s coming from a brand that requires a higher level of finish and development, let’s say. I’m not demeaning the other two, but the Porsche has to meet all the standards of durability of a Boxster. There’s lots of rich people in the world now, but to sell 918 when there’s another two hypercars, three hypercars on sale at the same time is a real gamble. 918 cars, nearly triple what Porsche’s closest rivals have planned to build, and each one with a price tag of just under $1 million. And they would go on to sell every single one. Here at the Formula 1 circuit in Austin, Texas, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long is behind the wheel of a 918 Spyder for the first time. Yeah, the beauty of this 918 is that you’re dealing with a lot of aerodynamic downforce so that initial attack on the brake is similar to the race car and you’re able to do that with some added help from ABS and hybrid charging. That generation of electricity really helps in stopping the car. The most stunning feature is its packaging density. It’s the same size as a Carrera GT. It has one-wheel steering, all-wheel drive, a very elaborate multistage hybrid system with a crazy battery. But you can’t get a postage stamp under the skin anywhere because every centi— every millimeter is filled with something. The man behind the 918 project is Dr. Frank Walliser, who was able to take the 918 from concept to production car in only four years. Frank Walliser, what a great guy. Always smiling— under massive pressure in 918— massive pressure. You know, Porsche, in fact, had people saying that it was a project that wasn’t that loved internally. It caused massive strife. It was expensive. Did they want to make it? Should it have been a hybrid? They were under huge pressure, and Frank marshaled the whole thing brilliantly. We really started with the development in, let me say, October of 2010. And we had around 200 people together starting on the project, working on everything. We had a highly motivated team that had a clear target. We want to make the best super sports car of the world. When I think about the 918, I think it was perhaps the most technically complicated car that will ever be built. To get everything in and in a beautiful enveloping shape that’s also air efficient, that you’ve got room for the struts—it’s insane. The thing is insane. Porsche always starts with racing, right? So Porsche starts with what works on a racetrack. What can we learn on the racetrack that we can apply to the road cars and what, in some cases, do we learn from the road cars that we can apply to the racetrack? We could really carry over a lot of technology from racing now to a street car and definitely will come from this street car then to other street cars down. And it just makes it— makes it interesting and— and, yeah, important for us. It’s an important car for Porsche. But what’s happened is as they developed these hybrid packages, they found so much more performance from them. And they found a way of augmenting torque, of creating a new way of building performance cars. And I think the discovery process has been enlightening. You know, watching Frank Walliser of Porsche go through his battles visually as I met him over the three-year period, you know, he started out going, "What do I do with this electricity?" And then at the very end, he’s confidently saying, "This car is fast around a track because it’s a hybrid." Okay, competition is always nice. It shows you it’s the best that you can get. You know who’s best and it’s objective. And I think with our car, with the layout of the car, considering the fuel consumption and performance and they know we'll bring day to day usability, it’s definitely the best package. The P1 just feels like it was just plunked on here from another planet to me, and I love that. I just stood behind it at night with light shining in the back of it. It’s just completely porous and it’s tiny and it’s small. And I think so much of that appeals. I think you need to see the effect this has on a crowd of tourists as they come out of the Yasmarina Hotel to understand how important the motorcar is in our lives. This is the ultimate expression of a motorcar. And even if you don’t like cars or are not interested in them, when you see that shape, you’re drawn to it. These are magnetic objects that, alongside things like space shuttles and very fast fighter jets, represent the ultimate expression of what human beings can do with the materials that we drag out of the ground. We obviously add the power and torque from the electric motor to give it additional, you know, head-on performance. But where the car is totally transformed is by using the hybrid power, the electric motor power to torque fill. The only thing that comes close is a Formula 1 car. McLaren developed the P1 at its cutting edge technology center in southeast England. Designed by world famous architect Norman Foster, the MTC is home to McLaren’s Formula 1 team, which is based just a few steps away from where McLaren’s road cars are designed and built. Company boss Ron Dennis is said to have a particular eye for detail. And so McLaren cars reflect the sensibility of the place in which they’re built. This production line is the P1 production line, and at the moment we’re building the P1 production cars, the 375 cars, and also the P1 GTRs. So we’re making a track variant of the car for customers to play to their heart’s content on the circuit. It really is about the best technology. Our target for the P1 is to produce the best driver's car, the best technology that was available on the day. The McLaren P1 is a savage automobile. It has the brightest response of any of the three cars. It has the most— even though LaFerrari doesn’t have a seat and you’re sitting in the tub, the P1 is—I would say probably has the quickest reaction time, but it’s mostly just light. It feels like a titanium foil or something. It’s just an amazing car. So P1 is about ultimate performance, ultimate drivability, ultimate driver engagement. Obviously the price tag is high. That enables you to really work with technology and put that new technology into these vehicles. The fact you have two driver modes in the P1, the fact you have a comfort mode for road driving, with the press of a button, the car lowers by 50 millimeters. The aerodynamics, the wing raises by 300 millimeters, and there you get a car focused for the track. We were sold out before a customer had actually driven the car. Independently, three OEMs decided performance hybrids were the right thing to do in the ultimate segment in this time period, which is quite incredible. I actually think each car is better because the other people were doing the same thing. This current batch of ultimate segment cars has been a great point in history. Yeah. I think the 3 manufacturers coming out together, presenting these cars, is great. The question is— when are we going to get that next step? And it’s probably going to be— 8 to 10 years' time is going to be when we get that next batch of hypercars coming out. The question is— what is the technology? What is going to be the differentiator for those batch of cars? One thing about hypercars is it’s not only about the cars and the technology. And we can nerd out on them all we want, but it’s really about the performance that people want to know about. Which one is faster than the other? The Nurburgring is basically the whole history of motorsports on one single road. I mean, it was built in the ’20s in the Eifel Mountains. It’s the most demanding racetrack in the world. It’s 22 kilometers, 144 corners. It’s the ultimate test of any car really, I mean, because it tests every part of the car. Nurburgring is the only constant context of measurement capability of cars in the history of the automobile. It’s the only place that manufacturers have gone consistently over time to test vehicles. The Nurburgring is, of course, an amazing track in Germany in that it— amazing in that it’s long and it has an incredibly storied history. But it’s become much more than that. It almost has become the soul of the auto enthusiast. It is one of the last tracks that’s truly dangerous that we still see commonly used. The curbs are really high and you have to know which curbs you can hit and which you can’t. It’s going to unsettle the car very quickly. The tarmac is rougher in some sections than the others, so you want to have a suspension that is loose enough to take that but stiff enough to keep the body, you know, really level. There’s sections of the track where you might have rain and another section where it’s sunny and warm. All of these things come together to make a single lap in the Nurburgring almost a race in and of itself. Some of it’s video games. Some of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy where certain manufacturers had success there and were touting the number and then more would and more would and it became the benchmark. You know, they say Nurburgring tested, and you see the cars being tested there because there are people with video cameras just sort of hanging around the track on industry days. But what’s happening now is that, you know, people really, really want to know which of the hypercars is fastest. You have four cars that are all competing with each other, with the LaFerrari, the P1, the 918, and now the One:1. Everyone wants to say that their solution is the fastest thing around there, and right now the 918’s the only one that’s published a time. So right now, we know that Porsche is about at 7 minutes— right—so that’s the time to beat. No hypercar maker wants to be slower than 7 minutes at this point. You know, McLaren’s out there now and they haven’t given a lap time yet. And everybody in the world is waiting for McLaren to, you know, say whether or not they beat Porsche. I mean, it’s really created so much drama in the car world. But while the enthusiasts and automotive press are waiting for McLaren’s lap time, Christian von Koenigsegg is back in Sweden working to get the first One:1 finished. Even though the car’s not done yet, its purpose is to be the fastest car ever made. And that means it must tackle the Nurburgring with an official lap time. Nurburgring is definitely on the agenda, so that’s coming, I think, sometime midsummer— end of summer— we’ll get into that seriously. And do you actually start testing in the summer then? That’s the plan—yes— to start tests in the summer. - Cool. Do you want to say anything about lap times now or anything? No. I have no idea. Nurburgring is definitely a very interesting track to test that, and I don't see why we shouldn’t be the fastest. We should be the fastest. That’s what our calculations tell us. - Cool. - So we’ll see. And when Christian first came up with the idea, it was just, you know, we just— okay let’s do it. Yeah, and now we’re standing here and the car is— yeah, it’s getting ready, so it’s gonna be great. We have a lot of testing to do. They’re going to be thousands of kilometers on tracks finding the perfect setting. I mean, the idea is, of course, we wouldn’t be here if we would have been aiming for second position. Then we could have gone home many years ago. So, of course, we’re aiming to be the quickest around the Nurburgring for street legal production cars. And, I mean, even if you haven’t been there with the Agera R, we are very confident that even that car will set a very good lap time. And even though this is a limited edition, it’s still a production car, and that will be even quicker. These hypercars are amazingly engineered. They’re breaking new ground. They’re trying new things. It’s experimentation. It’s engineering. It’s computer modeling. All of those things go into just shaving a hair— a hair’s bit of time off of that Nurburgring record or off of that zero to 60 time. For over a decade, Dan Greenwalt has been on a mission to take the cars that only a few thousand people in the world own and make them accessible to the masses via video game consoles like Microsoft Xbox. So this is actually a laser scan. There’s millions of points of data in here. Even though it looks like it was modeled, this is actually just a laser scan. He’s the creative director of Turn 10 Studios, the maker of Forza Motorsport. And in their small offices outside Seattle, Washington, the team is working to accurately replicate and simulate the driving performance characteristics of these hypercars. We’ve really been trying to establish a vision for car culture and gaming culture and be on the vanguard of what those two things mean and what they’re going to be in the future. So new media—which is video games and Facebook and Twitter and everything else— has really changed how car culture works. And some people lament it. You know, the magazines are kind of going away, but new things have emerged. There’s a lot of things that have come up that are filling the void. But what’s really speaking to a group of players or a group of car enthusiasts that are becoming car enthusiasts? What makes them into car enthusiasts? Is it racing? It’s hard to watch racing. It’s hard to even get it in the United States. But I see it as the responsibility of games like ours, a franchise like ours, to get a younger generation into cars, to replenish our ranks as enthusiasts. There’s a hand-in-hand relationship there that I think video games are taking the spot of a lot of the magazines. Where what was on the cover of the magazine, what’s on the cover of the video game? What was the highlight story? What’s the highlight race? Now, you’re getting to interact with it. You’re getting to experience it. But moreover today’s generation, you’re getting to create your own media out of it. You get to be your own magazine. You can paint the car. You can put videos on Twitch. You can have people watching your— subscribing to your channel on YouTube. It becomes an ecosystem where the group fuels itself, and that’s why I’m not too pessimistic about the future of automotive when it comes to the next generation. And as a result, the car companies have fundamentally changed their relationship to video games. They now see us as an essential way of communicating to a younger customer. They’ve empowered us to actually stoke passion in a new generation. The Geneva show is less than two weeks away. Christian and his team at Koenigsegg are pulling another all-nighter to get the One:1 show car ready in time for its very first public appearance. No one but the team has ever laid eyes on it. It has to be perfect. The sub-assemblies, we have front and rear bumper. That’s the sub-assemblies and polishing area. The roof as well has had polishing. It’s been done over there. Yeah, of course, in sub-assembly. Yeah. Interior is in sub-assembly as well. But some panels are starting to come out now, and we are finishing the electrics tomorrow. And after that, we can put in the interior. We were running a little bit late. We started a little bit late with this car, so we have to push really hard now in the end to actually get the car done. This is, for me, the most hard one. I’ve been working really hard with this new car here. And this is even harder than when we showed off the Agera first time. One week to go with three weeks' work to do, so people just stay here working, sleeping a few hours at home or coming and going or just pulling 24-hour shifts. So it’s really super dedicated people that brings all their energy and love into this to get it done. Geneva is, for us, the most important event every year. It’s the most international, prestigious car show on the planet from my perspective. It’s a small show but— In the size it’s somehow small but everyone is there. If you’re not there, you're not in the industry. Like one or two days earlier, it looks like this is never going to happen, but we’re really used to that because it’s the same every year when we do a new project for Geneva. It just— everything kind of just comes together at the last point in time. And it’s happening today again and it looks really great, and I think everyone is feeling good about it. It’s just working out well. He’s the guy that thinks that nothing is impossible, and that’s how he is working. It’s the same as working here as working for Christian. It’s not for everyone. He puts a lot of pressure, not pressure in a bad way but pressure as in he has high expectations with the people he works with. Of course, because the product needs to meet a very high standard. That spirit goes into the people who work here and into me, and it’s really fun because he’s always motivating. [ speaking Swedish ] I think we chose— I think we chose this present shape here exactly what it has to be because we get flush there and then— And people may not know— always think that way or not just a toy or a thing you buy, actually buy a story, a dream that we try to create. But that’s just so emotional and the car looks just— I just want to get in and drive it. That’s all I can say. It just gives this fantastic feedback and it’s a ready to go kind of thing. I know what’s gone into it. I know it’s so for real. It’s just going to— just going to shine. That’s all I can say. If you have the power to influence our own work, that is very motivating to people. And I think that’s what happens here. Breaking new grounds and doing the impossible all the time and that's because he truly believes they can do it. And then when someone believes in you, you can do it. All roads to the hypercar lead here, to this glittering center of global wealth on the western shore of Lake Geneva, a city of royals and celebrities and the very, very rich. It’s here the auto industry puts on its most exotic face every year. It’s where Italian design houses parade their automotive haute couture. The Geneva Motor Show is the one motor show that you have to go to. It is compact and small and anything that’s relevant is there. And car manufacturers will delay the launch of a car often to make it happen at Geneva. The Geneva Motor Show is where you go if you want to find the auto industry’s most exciting, most outrageous, and rarest of birds. How are you? I’m in the house. - Good to see you again. - Oh yeah. - Are you running? - Yeah. It’s a very interesting place here because because everyone kind of lowers their guard in a sense. I mean, they’re showing off their product like we are doing, but there’s also an opportunity to meet up and talk in a fairly casual way. And it’s more of an even-playing field. I mean, we’re a tiny, tiny manufacturer from Sweden, but we get to talk to the big boys and the execs at the big companies, and they treat us with respect, which is really nice for us. And I guess they think we’re kind of an interesting flair at a place like this as well. So a lot of interesting stuff is going on here, apart from showing off cars. There’s also mingling and meeting contacts and so on. I’d like to congratulate you doing the One:1. - Oh. - It’s just a fantastic car. - Thank you so much. - Brilliant. Well done. So let’s see. There they have the super charger. Have a quick look. I really like Tesla. I have a Model S. It’s definitely one of my favorite cars. They’ve done a fantastic job at kind of just pushing forward the EV awareness and the technology and what you get for your money. I mean, even though they’re expensive, they’re a great value for money. No one is even close to supplying what they’re supplying presently. Actually, we can stop just quickly here. So it’s kind of like a door, but it’s not a door. It’s just panel. This is just insane. A Ferrari V8 trike or something. And you have these intake tracks in your face. Imagine the sound of that. Oh, did you see that cool thing down at Porsche, this concrete thing with all the model cars? - No. - You need to shoot that. That’s super cool. This thing caught my eye. I really like this thing. I wanted one in my living room. It’s so cool. All these model cars casted into this concrete block. Just something about it. I don’t know exactly what it is, but— The Geneva show is a triumphant moment for Christian von Koenigsegg and the One:1. And there’s something else to celebrate as well. Koenigsegg’s entire run of cars has already sold out sight unseen. The enthusiasm amongst the world’s hypercar buyers bolsters Christian’s optimism for the car and for his company. A strong showing at the Nurburgring later in the year will only add to the One:1 mystique, but only a few feet away, a longstanding rival looms large. It’s multi-million dollar display booth projects one of the world’s most powerful brands. A name that has always been synonymous with the highest caliber of sports car— Ferrari. LaFerrari is about holistic driver experience. Not about zero to 60, although it crushes. Not about top speed, although it’s 217. Not about cornering, although it pulls a staggeringly casual 2Gs. The roads around Maranello were not great. There really are very few good roads. There’s that one Ponte Samone road that we’ve used for years and I think I’ve driven every single corner sideways and I’ve probably nearly crashed on every single corner. So we drove the LaFerrari there and after about quarter of an hour, it was clearly apparent that that was not the canvas on which you could paint any other performance. It was just too much to really enjoy yourself. You have a great company with a great history and about 8000 of the smartest people in Italy working at the campus there at Ferrari. And only the best and the best of them got to— promoted to LaFerrari. There’s a mixture of emotions when you come to a place like Maranello because we have heritage. In fact, we have unparalleled heritage. This is the home of fast cars. It’s the home of the supercar. It’s the home of the hypercar. This is supercar valley, so within a 20 mile radius, we have Pagani, we have Lamborghini, we have— we used to have Bugatti and many others that have tried and failed to compete with the red one, which remains the daddy of them all. So we have history and heritage, but also we have this very forward-looking sense that they’re trying to take a type of motoring that perhaps is unacceptable to people, that perhaps need to change, and they’re making new technologies to take that forward. What comes out of Ferrari is so technically refined and reified, you know, so cost unconstrained that when you put it all together as they have, it’s just a superb driving experience and there’s a real— as I say, it’s a real honor. It’s like being— my job is like being the art critic in Florence, you know, in the 15th century because everybody is fucking great, right? You know, everybody’s— everybody’s a genius and I mean, there’s no shit everywhere, right? Every car is great. - Awesome. Now you should ask me about the Pagani. If you had to imagine in your mind the autocratic charismatic creator of probably the most impressive hypercar brand to emerge on its own in the last 30 years, you couldn’t actually make up Horacio Pagani. He is—he’s perfect. I find inspiration everywhere. I'm curious by nature. I observe things, and from every thing, even from a button, I get an idea. That's why nature is a big inspiration. You know, he made his bones in, I think, military supply and then bikes. Really, you know, frankly, he didn’t even study carbon composites that long. I mean, he had a 10-month internship at Lamborghini ages ago, but the guy’s self taught. Total autodidact. A guy who doesn’t do e-mail, doesn’t do CAD drawings, doesn’t speak English, which is the universal language of engineering. He’s the Italian Argentinean who says he doesn’t speak English but understands everything you say and can speak English perfectly but chooses not to. I love that. There is aesthetic research and technical research. In our specific case at Pagani, the aesthetic design goes a little further because we believe that the automobile can be a work of art. In fact, I do not want to trivialize the word "art,” but I believe that the work of my designer colleagues and that of my artisanal colleagues, those who work with their hands is a true artistic expression. At our company, in our own small way, we try to retrace the path taught by Leonardo Da Vinci where art and science join together. There’s a creative energy to him that comes out in his car when you—especially when you go all the way to the Huayra. When you and spend $1.5 million euros to buy a Pagani or you end up spending as much as $3 million euro to $4 million euro to buy a Pagani and in some countries that have really high taxation, even more, one can never think that this was a rational act. If you ask me, this it totally irrational. Because you would think to yourself and you would say "Damn", for the price of one Huayra I could have bought myself 30 or 40 rational cars." But the Pagani buyer is purely emotional buying. We are always the fabricators of dreams. We are trying to satisfy a client who wants a suit designed to fit. Isn’t he a mystery? Isn’t he an enigmatic figure? He’s the living, breathing expression of his cars. He’s tangible and I love that. He is the ultimate hypercar business owner. You know, he’s the man. I think what's important is to convey to all young people regardless of your love for the automobile as long as you have dreams and passion and with the energy that comes with having dreams and passion which is useful in everything that you do. Continue to believe in your intuition, continue to believe in whatever you do and do it with passion. Speaking personally, this message comes from someone who started with nothing and with average intelligence. There’s this yin and yang. There’s this push and pull between engineering and artistry. And I think when you look at Koenigsegg and Pagani, you’ve got a bit of opposite in some ways that Pagani is really this artistry at its finest and Koenigsegg is really engineering focused. Then there is Koenigsegg. Koenigsegg is this young guy that has a huge passion and creates this car with a lot of horsepower, very fast. That's why he has his niche of clients who love to own an object that is so fast, with such high performance. That's why I said before, all these brands have their own purpose. Back in Sweden, it’s business as usual. The Koenigsegg team is on the runway testing cars for customer delivery. After two years of development, the One:1 is finally ready to stretch its legs. Well, right now we have five of our One:1s in the same room so they’re kind of going out a little bit at once. We’ve been building them parallel to our testing program where we’ve had our test car running for almost a year now. And we’re just at the finalization stages of that, so we’ve already delivered one to the customerand the other ones are ready to go out the door. So it’s an exciting moment. I hope we don’t see as many of them here at the same time ever again because it’s getting crowded, so. September 2014, Koenigsegg goes out to the Nurburgring and they’re testing a lot of the components that are going into the One:1, they’ve put into an Agera test car. We were there for almost three weeks and did a lot of miles and got up to good speed. And things go wrong. Things can go wrong. One corner just, you know, messed up can cause tragedy, and that’s kind of what happened with Koenigsegg. Yeah, we went off the track at relatively high speed, but everyone was okay. A little bit shooken up. The car was a little bit damaged. But we checked the car afterwards, technically looked all fine. Our test driver said, yeah, it was—could’ve been— honestly it could’ve been something— the track as a whole felt slipperier. Well, we don’t know for sure exactly what happened, from the incident. I mean, the actual thing that caused it, because, yeah, on the industry board, you have limited— you know, you can’t video as much and all that. But—so there are a few different things that could have been the cause. But we focus on the new— new challenge. So—so we’ll see. You know, there is pressure to do this. I mean, these guys are under pressure to get that lap time and not only to test the car and to test the components of it, but to get the lap time, to make a good showing out there. We’re very keen to get back on the ring with this car because, when the weather gets better, we’re going to be there really to see what the car can do officially. But another tragedy will soon make Christian rethink his ambition to break a Nurburgring record. I often feel there’s something to the danger of driving that defines a lot of things. I think some of the Nurburgring is that it’s really dangerous. It’s not like other tracks. And we still have, you know, Le Mans. There’s—there’s still deaths occasionally there. And other FIA tracks. But the Nurburgring is dangerous on a level that you just don’t see popularized or publicized quite as much. March of 2015, a fatal crash during a race at the Nurburgring. The death seems to be a final straw for officials, ushering a series of unprecedented restrictions at the track. When we started getting info like yesterday or the day before that there are speed restrictions on this area called the Flugplatz where this—I don’t know if you saw this—some GPR crashed out in the audience a couple of months ago in a—in the—in a GT race. So they’re restricting that area to 250 km per hour, and we knew that for a while, but that’s not a big issue. We can live with that. And then, there is another area called Schwedenkreuz or something which is restricted to 200, 215. We could also live with that. But then, we started hearing that the long straight is restricted to 250 kilometers per hour and that’s where we can go 400 kilometers per hour. So that’s a big restriction for us but we said okay, maybe we can get around that or we’ll see how fast we can go. And then, they said, we’re— they’re not— no one is allowed to go for all-out records anymore this year. So all of those things together kind of put a lid on it today. So we’re kind of scrambling to get everything out and get ready and now they said, hang on, hang on. What are we doing here? If we’re not allowed to, what are we doing? So, yeah, so that’s where we are basically suddenly. For the One:1, the ban on hot laps at the Nurburgring now makes an attempt at a lap record impossible. We’vealready kind of done a record at Suzuka and we have to keep on going and taking record at all the other tracks we’re allowed to take records at. Disappointed but still confident, Koenigsegg sets his sights elsewhere. We can try to go back to Spa again. I mean, we didn’t even try to go for a record there. We can drive probably four or five seconds faster than what we did already. I have a very close relationship with Christian, and he knows that I make the decision what’s safe to do or not. So he’s just gonna be— do whatever you feel comfortable with. Go as quickly as you can, of course, but he knows that I do the balancing between pushing boundaries and not putting cars at risk. Because anyone can go out and be super quick, but what’s the risk? You can take, you know, world champion of something, say go and do, you know, a lap record. And he might make it and he’ll probably be quicker than I am, but he maybe will not make that at all. And the question is— is it worth it if you make it? Yes. Is it worth it if you don’t make it? No. Spa-Francochamps, an hour west of the Nurburgring, a racetrack built in the same motorsports era. Spa is smaller than the Nurburgring, but it challenges drivers with high speeds and blind corners. It’s been a long process and, I mean, it's— we’re never done because as Christian says, perfection is a moving target. So there will always be new things. I will always figure out something new, the suspension or the air or something. So there’s not really a goal for it. We just want to make it as good as possible in the given time frame. If the Koenigsegg One:1 were to set a lap record at Spa, it would truly be in a class by itself. But Spa has its own dangers and its own rules and regulations. Just went red. Fuck. There was a red flag in every corner. And I’m also standing halfway out on the track waving yellow and red flags, so. Okay, well, we’ll— we have check what is— what is the problem. What was going on at the end there? Yeah, they put marshals in the middle of the track. Yeah, and there was red flags all over the track. In every single post, there was a red flag and there were red lights. By the time I got to the end of the straight first time, the whole track lit up for red. And they had marshals physically on the track to prevent me from going. I mean, what we’re doing with hypercars or now megacars or call them whatever you like, I always ask myself, what am I doing for humanity? I mean, how is— how are these, let’s say, "luxury," super expensive sporting goods or whatever they are, how do they influence everyday lives of humankind in a broader sense? And I think it does actually. Well, number one thing is, of course, everyone thinks I’m living my dream, which I agree, and I think that is important thing to show that it is possible, that it’s important to dream and to realize your dream and that that really works. That is one very important part of it. But also the technology we develop we’ve seen many things already trickle down into more normal cars. Combustion engine philosophies, how it interacts with the transmission and the clutchand all of these things that are really on the edge in our industry, is trickling down to more normal cars. It’s like— yeah the Bugatti Veyron had one of the first dual clutch transmissions. Now you’re finding it in kind any—every Volkswagen around the world more or less. So that is just happening and it’s one of the few industries where that’s going quite quickly from high end to low end. Christian is an inventor, I would say. That’s his passion. That’s what he lives and breathes, to invent new things. And at the moment, he’s focused on race cars. But it could well be anything. Hypercars are built by people where there’s a sort of cult of personality around that person. I mean, whether it’s Enzo Ferrari built the Ferraris. Ferruccio Lamborghini wanted to best Ferrari, right? He—there was a rivalry. Guys like Horacio Pagani and Christian von Koenigsegg come along and they put their names on the cars for a reason, because they’re personal, but this is where the ego part kind of comes in where they want to bend the world to their will to create something that is just— not only the highest expression that they can come up with, but the coolest thing that they’ve probably ever dreamed of. And that they can actually put it together and— and fabricate it, you know, is kind of an amazing thing for a car guy or just for a kid who grew up wishing that they could do that. I get the feeling that Christian’s that guy. I think he knows what he wants. He wants to experiment with technologies. He wants to display what he can do and he wants to then sell it to people and he wants to go really, really fast. In the end, having a bloke who wants to go really, really fast is a fantastic basis for making a hypercar company. So what is a hypercar? If we believe those who build, buy and obsess over them, a hypercar is, in automotive form, a vision for the future today. So what is the future for the hypercar? Like others, Christian von Koenigsegg is betting on electric propulsion. His next hypercar will be called the Regara, and he’ll push technology and horsepower even further using both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Where is it going? We’re moving away from fossil fuels inevitably. BP, a couple of weeks ago, went out and said it reckoned there was 58 years of oil left in the ground. So, okay, I don’t believe in peak oil theory, but, you know, we are reaching a point where extracting— it’s costing too much. We have to change. Human beings—the human race has always responded to times of profound change. That’s when we do things. We—if you tell us we ought to do something to mitigate against a risk in the future, and we’ll be lazy and we won’t do anything. But if you tell us we have to change, then we will. That’s why at times of world war and conflict, we tend to invent things much faster and build things much faster because we have to do things. We have to respond. So I think this gradual process is okay, but I think it will ramp up fairly soon. Once the oil becomes too expensive to get out of the ground, then you’re going to see the electrification of the motor car. It’s inevitable. Engineers are smart. We’re gonna keep figuring out ways to make cars go faster. My body can’t take a lot of the stuff that these cars can do now, and at some point, Lewis Hamilton’s body is not going to be able to take the stuff that these cars can do. That’s the place we’re heading to, and I think it’s exactly that idea that kind of comes into our head that what— it’s what makes hypercars so fascinating. A car can’t do that. It can’t do that. And then it does. So the—so the hypercar is the most, you know, important manifestation of this democratizing force. The—it’s the mani— it’s the ultimate manifestation of freedom, technology, and art. It is the apex of all these ideas in one statement of what is possible, however irrelevant that item—that thing is. It is—it’s meaning transcends its irrelevance. It’s about being something that you’re not. And what you’re not is a, you know, 250-mile-an-hour beast that can kind of storm across a landscape and do superhuman things. And that leaves only one question. Will humanity’s desire for speed endure? It is just an anomaly of human evolution, temporary, a fad? Or is it our desire for speed that makes us human? If someone who didn’t know anything about cars asks me why hypercars matter, the only possible answer is— like jazz, if you have to ask—

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Posted by: tangentvector on Jan 25, 2016


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