Koenigsegg blames ABS sensor for Nurburgring crash, will repair car

The carbon monocoque chassis of the wrecked Koenigsegg One:1 seen back at a factory in Angelholm. The car will be repaired.

Koenigsegg is blaming a problem with the left-front ABS sensor for a crash that destroyed one of its multi-million dollar One:1 cars at the Nurburgring Nordschleife earlier this week.

On Monday, one of only seven Koenigsegg One:1 cars crashed at the infamous German circuit while testing.

Koenigsegg confirmed the incident and added that the driver had been released from the hospital.

Since then, the vehicle has been taken to Angelholm in Sweden where Koenigsegg examined the car. The monocoque was not damaged, there were no fuel or oil leaks and the car will be repaired.

With regards to the cause of the incident, Koenigsegg stated that:

The One:1 experienced front axle brake lock-up at approximately 170 km/h (105 mph) on a section of the track known as Fuchsröhre before hitting the fence at Adenauer Forst at approximately 110 km/h (68 mph). The impact with the fence launched the car into the air for an estimated 22 meters (72 feet) while it turned 180 degrees before it landed on its left rear wheel and pivoted to land parallel with the fence. The airbags, fuel shut-off and other safety systems all deployed as they were designed to do.

There was a small fire in the rear section of the car due to contact between the carbon fiber rear panels and the exhaust upon landing. This fire was extinguished by the driver using a fire extinguisher that was located inside the car.

The accident has been traced to a fault with the front left ABS wheel sensor signal.

Data analysis shows that the dashboard ABS warning light was triggered as soon as the ABS wheel sensor malfunction occurred. The small yellow ABS warning light is located centrally in the dashboard but may be difficult for the driver to see when he is wearing a helmet and concentrating on high-speed driving around the circuit. The driver may not necessarily notice any difference in the braking feel as long as he is not near the ABS braking zone, i.e. braking hard enough that it would have triggered the ABS system.

Whilst the ABS warning was activated well in advance of lock-up, data analysis shows that the driver’s brake application at Fuchsröhre was the first brake application in the ABS zone. Hence, it was the first opportunity for the driver to notice the ABS fault through the brake pedal.

Our ABS system, like most, includes a back-up feature where the rear wheels are allowed to continue rotating in the event of an ABS fault that results in the front wheels locking up. Letting the rear wheels rotate instead of locking up together with the front wheels prevents the car from rotating. Instead, the car will continue in a straight line. The system worked to specification, as can be seen by the straight skid marks left by the front tires on the track prior to the car colliding with the fence.

Koenigsegg adds that it will implement software changes to help prevent similar problems from arising on its future machines.