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Koenigsegg isn’t interested in speed records, founder says

The Koenigsegg One:1 has over 1,000 horsepower, and a claimed top speed of 273 mph. That could make it the fastest production car in the world, if it’s ever verified.

But that apparently isn’t something the Swedish supercar skunkworks is in a hurry to do. In a recent Top Gear interview, company founder and namesake Christian von Koenigsegg isn’t very relevant in this day and age, and that “usable performance” is more important.

“How important is it really?” Koenigsegg asked the magazine, claiming most of his customers are more interested in the excitement of driving a supercar, and being able to harness its overall performance, than in outright speed. He also noted that it’s hard to a find a place to actually reach the top speed of the fastest cars.

Koenigsegg wouldn’t comment on whether it is necessary for carmakers to test the top speeds of their products, or whether such endeavors are purely marketing exercises. He did note that Koenigsegg itself has found difficulty setting up top speed tests, claiming they are expensive, and that suitable locations are hard to find.

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When setting speed records with the Bugatti Veyron, the Volkswagen Group used its own test track in Ehra-Lessien, Germany. The track was built during the Cold War, and a situated in a no-fly zone near the East German border to enhance secrecy. It’s high-speed circuit includes a straight that’s more than five miles long.

Von Koenigsegg said Ehra-Lessien would be a good place to test his cars, but obviously Volkswagen wouldn’t be too eager to allow a Veyron competitor into its super-secret test facility.

Top speed isn’t the only performance metric von Koenigsegg has approached with a cavalier attitude. Nürburgring lap times have become something of a yardstick for everything from supercars to family SUVs, but von Koenigsegg initially said that his company would only go for the lap record to appease its customers, who value the bragging rights.

Koenigsegg’s efforts to set a Nürburgring record were stymied by the declaration of speed limits on certain sections of the track, following a crash during a race earlier this year that killed a spectator. The One:1 Koenigsegg planned to use for the record attempt will have to go off to its owner soon, von Koenigsegg claims, meaning that the company has run out of time.