SOURCE: Top Gear
The story went like this. There was only one CCXR in existence, the first-ever biofuel-powered Koenigsegg. Now the possession of a valued customer, the worth of this car was said to be greater even than its £606,000 price tag suggested.
The understanding was that once the Stig and I had spent enough time at the wheel to secure our cover feature, one of Koenigsegg's senior engineers would take over the responsibility of driving the car between photographic locations for us. We'd all be safer that way.
And so it was that I found myself a passenger in the biggest crash I've ever experienced.
Between the blur of the approach, the hit, the spins, the ditches, the field, the adrenaline, the shouts, the blue lights and the picking out of pieces of grit and dirt from my eyes, ears and scalp, some details I can remember.
1. We were travelling faster than I was comfortable with at that moment, on that road. 120mph is a conservative estimate of our speed at the point of first impact.
2. The engineer who was driving may well have forgotten that he had unbolted the rear venturi only moments before, to assist with the process of fitting camera equipment to the underside of the car at a location we were expecting to arrive at only a little further up the road. I really can't say. What I can say is that the venturi would have been good for 100kg of rear downforce at the speed we were travelling at.
3. After accelerating hard up a long straight, the driver turned into a potentially open but partially blind right hander.
4. The largest traffic cone known to man had been left on the inside of the corner; a six-foot high lump of orange plastic with a solid, square-edged, extremely heavy base. We hit it.
5. There was a loud crunch from beneath the right-hand front corner of the car. One of the exotic, lightweight wheels with magnesium spokes bolted to a carbon-fibre rim had completely shattered, almost certainly at this point.
6. The car span once, and suddenly. I still had time to ponder.
7. Our trajectory took us towards a ditch. I imagined my face being ripped right off if the front of the car dug in and we flipped over. This was the worst of several bad moments. Like the venturi, the roof had been removed earlier.
8. The car bounced against the edge of the ditch and back out into the middle of the road, spinning violently four times again before heading back for the same ditch only further up the road. It skidded along on its flat underbelly like a plastic sledge before coming to a stop with the wheels straddling the ditch, facing the right way, not having hit an oncoming car, not having turned over. The structure of its carbon-fibre chassis tub remained perfectly intact. Behind us were the longest tyre marks I have ever seen: 265 metres of pirouetting rubber.
9. The underside was a mess, all four corners were shattered and the wheel had long since fallen apart but really, the state of the car belied just what carnage could have resulted.
10. A muck-spreader had just passed through the field we landed in. As a result, and only because of this, we now smelled of ****.
Thus the Koenigsegg CCXR joins a roll call of the most infamous Top Gear crashes: the Ferrari Enzo that was hit by a bus en route to a cover feature two years ago; the Koenigsegg CCX that ploughed off our track with the Stig on board; and, of course, Richard's 288mph barrel roll in the Vampire jet car, the crash to top all crashes. If not to end them.