Earlier this week, we showed you some rather fiery footage of a Koenigsegg CCX doing a dyno run. During the course of this run, lots of fire happened in the ‘Segg’s exhaust, turning the 806bhp twin-turbo machine into a rather oversteery barbeque.
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Koenigsegg uses nuclear tech
But there was one thing you might also have spotted during the course of this fire occurring. The rest of the CCX didn’t explode. And that’s because its fiery exhaust is layered with a nuclear-grade ceramic coating keeping the rest of the supercar safe.
Many moons ago, Zircotec - formerly part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority - developed a coating to help manage the heat in nuclear reactor pipes, and during the mid 90s were approached by Prodrive who were in a spot of bother. The engineering gods needed to keep the heat out of the cockpits of their rally cars and wanted to use their special ‘thermal barrier’ for motorsport.
This opened up a new beginning, and from there, this special coating made its way across a variety of other motorsports and, as TopGear.com learns, is used by 80 per cent of the teams on today’s Formula One starting grid.
The coating is applied using a Dr Evil-inspired plasma-spray, something we instantly want to own. The coating is literally fired onto the exhaust at temperatures approaching 10,000C - melted, of course - where the droplets flatten, cool and quickly solidify. Think of it like this - it’s like welding on a pair of long johns to your legs. You won’t take them off in a hurry.
Today it finds itself on cars such as the Ariel Atom V8, Jaguar C-X75 concept, Lamborghini Murcielago SV, and even the Reventon. Head of exhausts at Lamborghini, Luca Meschiari said the coating was ‘durable and offered significantly better performance than any other solution’. In diamond black colour, it even satisfied their styling requirements.
But this tech isn’t limited to high-end sideways machinery. You can even spec it for your Ford Focus…