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The Tragic Story of Koenigsegg’s GT1 Racing Attempt

Brendan Byrne ’22

Koenigsegg: a company whose renown has grown worldwide in the past few years due to their astounding advancements in automotive technology and their record-breaking hypercar. The brand truly began their pursuit of greatness in the Koenigsegg CCR in the early 2000s, and subsequently in the CCX, a car which was essentially an improved version of the CCR.

Both the CCR and CCX produced impressive performance numbers with high horsepower numbers, low weights, and fast speeds. A more fascinating vehicle, however, with a far less simple story, was the Koenigsegg CCGT. The CCGT was developed by Christian von Koenigsegg as a racing edition of the CCX model, and the idea behind it was to appear in GT1 racing, partaking in endurance races like the 24 Hour of Le Mans.

The specs of the CCGT were incredible. It weighed in at below 1000 kg, one ton, before homologations and pulled its power from a masterfully crafted, 600 horsepower, naturally aspirated V8 racing engine. The downforce produced equaled approximately 600 kg, and the suspension was incredibly stiff, causing the car to handle beautifully around the track. Every curve on the body of the car, all the edges, and vents, every inch of the car was designed to perfect its aerodynamics and speed around the corners, without compromising its speed on the straights by too much. 

Now it may seem that if the CCGT was homologated perfectly to the standards set for GT1 racing, and that no real issues were present in the vehicle itself there would be no reason that the car would be unable to compete in  The reason for this was drastic rule change originating from the FIA only two months after the vehicle was complete.

The first of the rule changes was the ban of carbon monocoques, which the Koenigsegg CCGT had made use of in its construction for weight reduction. While this did present an issue, it would seem as though it were an obstacle that was at least possible to overcome, but the second major rule change is what caused Christian von Koenigsegg to give up. Prior to the rule change, in order for a car to compete in GT1 racing, there were a required 20 production versions to be produced.

The rule change hiked this number all the way up to an almost ridiculous 350, which was impossible for a relatively small Swedish company that handbuilt every car which rolled out of their factories. It was not like Koenigsegg was a company on the same scale as Porsche or Ford who could easily make 350 or more production versions of a GT1 vehicle, for these companies had history and financial backing, while Koenigsegg had a very detailed and difficult process for even making a single vehicle.

With this in perspective, it’s easy to see how impossible it seemed to reach this quota, which ended up rendering the beautifully constructed vehicle as useless, at least in terms of racing. Thanks to this there is only a very small number in existence, the total numbering in the single digits. It’s a ludicrously valuable car that holds a special place in the collection of any car enthusiast who happens to be fortunate enough to own the astounding vehicle.

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