Drivers have been taking advantage of diminished highway traffic – a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – to set new Cannonball records. The newest record-setting run was done in a goofy modified Audi S6.
As reported by Road & Track, the duo who previously set a Cannonball record in November 2019 have bested their own time, as well as a more-recent sub-26-hour record from May 2020.
The absolute mad lads in question are Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt.
We’re less concerned about the record itself – which gets increasingly dangerous with each new attempt – and more interested in the car Toman and Tabbutt used to make their run.
Road & Track notes that the November 2019 record was set with a modified 2015 Mercedes E63. However, that car was wrecked (while it was parked, if you were wondering).
The new wheels chosen by the team came in the form of a 2016 Audi S6. Again, the car was heavily modified, including the installation of a 45-gallon fuel cell in the trunk. Sure, the huge tank helps cut down on pit stops, but what about when the drivers need to use the bathroom? Maybe it’s better not to know the answer to that one.
The Audi itself, touted as a “fake cop car,” plays up the visual similarities between the S6 and the modern Ford Taurus that is favored by many police departments across the United States.
If you’re like me, you’ve had a brief moment of anxiety when spotting a newer Audi sedan in the rearview mirror. Toman and Tabbutt made the same observation and played up the patrol car-esque elements on their Audi, including a decoy “Ford” badge on the grille, reflective tape on the rear bumper, and blacked-out rims with silver center caps. It’s unclear if the disguise played any role in the success of the run. It’s more likely that spotters helped the two avoid detection by any radar guns.
Tabbutt previously told Cleveland.com that he regretted publicizing the pair’s 2019 run, claiming that he didn’t expect the negative attention he received and was concerned that others might try to copy the legally questionable methods that were employed to achieve the record-setting time.
The December article on Tabbutt goes on to say that “Tabbutt won’t be attempting another Cannonball Run, even if his team’s record is broken.”
Looks like that claim didn’t hold up for long. It appears that Tabbutt and Toman couldn’t resist taking another shot at the record when theirs was broken, and in light of the lighter traffic on America’s roads in recent months.
Far be it from us to encourage anyone to attempt the Cannonball. The stats from Toman and Tabbutt show that drivers will have to average over 110 miles per hour during the run to have a hope at besting the record.