New 26:38 Cannonball Record Allegedly Set With America On Pause Over COVID-19

The traffic-free roads apparently proved too tempting for a crew in an Audi A8L this past weekend.

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New 26:38 Cannonball Record Allegedly Set With America On Pause Over COVID-19 © New 26:38 Cannonball Record Allegedly Set With America On Pause Over COVID-19

Cannonball Run records are as difficult to obtain as they are controversial in the enthusiast community. They require precise planning, impeccable driving, a good deal of luck and a willingness to break the law in state after state. But with America's roads emptied by stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, it seems one team took advantage of this once-in-our-lifetimes chance to set a new record for a cross-country sprint in an Audi A8L: 26 hours and 38 minutes, or about 45 minutes faster than the mark set in 2019 by Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick.

The names of those involved in this cross-country sprint are yet to be released, because again, this is highly illegal stuff. Here's where we must point out the absolute lunacy of pulling this stunt this weekend, when America's emergency services are gearing up to deal with the waves of disease spreading through the states. They do not need to be dealing with the aftermath of a high-speed crash involving a cannonballing Audi right now—especially given the sketchy marine fuel tank trunk setup visible in the Audi's post-run pic.


There is no such thing as a safe Cannonball attempt, but this one stretches even the non-rules of this unofficially official race. Ed Bolian of the VinWiki YouTube channel and a cross-country record himself released a video today denying he was involved with the effort, noting that the danger level has paradoxically increased recently given the number of semi-trucks out there hauling ass to keep the economy running on life support.

Anyway, details are few and far between, but we do know the basics. The team drove a 2019 Audi A8L, complete with a pair of marine fuel tanks strapped in the trunk, from the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan to the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California. Kicking off at 11:15 p.m. local time on April 4, they rolled into the Portofino just over a day later, supposedly beating the official record in the process.

A since-deleted Facebook post gave away the news, showing the Audi parked with its trunk open, the fuel tanks ratcheted in haphazardly with the claimed time in the caption. The Drive was in contact with the man who posted the image shortly after, who explained he had watched most of the record attempt via a now-dead Glympse link: He provided evidence in the form of another conversation with a friend of the drivers, in which that friend was commenting on how the Audi had been coasting along at 122 mph with "no traffic" to impede its progress.

For reference, the average speed for the 2019 record run was 103 mph including fuel stops.

via Instagram

The "official" Cannonball Instagram account spoke out against the outlaw speeders given the timing of the run, denying the legitimacy of the time given the extenuating circumstances. 

Whether you're a Cannonball purist (whatever that means) who thinks these drivers took advantage of a national emergency, or someone who sees these attempts as completely out of bounds regardless of when they happen, it seems there's plenty to be angry about here. 

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