A few days ago, I got a text that was just a screenshot. It was the image above, which shows a current-generation Audi A8 with its trunk open. Inside the trunk is a large fuel cell which, according to Road & Track, is from a boat. The most important bit of this image, however, is the caption. It says that there’s a new Cannonball record and the time is a blistering 26 hours and 38 minutes. That bests the recently set record time of 27 hours and 25 minutes, which was set back in December. And it raises questions from the Cannonball community about whether this was truly a wise move or not.
Now, for the rest of the world at large, the answer is of course that this was foolish at best. Most consider these runs to be the attempts of assholes. With the current times and averages speeds required to reach them, that view makes sense. Still, there’s a level of intrigue to be had from such runs. I’d be a hypocrite if I said otherwise. I attempted a cross-country run in an electric vehicle last fall. My own attempt was to examine a different side of the record runs. We knew we had no chance of getting the EV record. Instead, we wanted to see what it was like to drive an EV across the country.
But the focus on this latest run isn’t just a question of the reckless nature of such an attempt, but the decision to do it during a global pandemic. Now, there’s no question that it’s the best time to make this run from a purely logistical standpoint. However, it’s also the worst time. We need to be staying at home and reducing our impact on those around us. Sure, the team in the Audi A8 only needed to stop maybe two times but they are also leaving from the hardest-hit area for COVID infections in this country.
If something can be both asinine and smart at the same time, this is it. I’m sure we’ll disagree on this in the comments, and I fully understand the purely negative viewpoint on this.
What I do find funny though is the odd moral high ground taken by some in the Cannonball community. Some of the comments in the Road & Track article linked above shine a light on this. Ed Bolian, a former record holder himself, says “Do I think this is the best use of time while the country is staying in during a pandemic? Probably not, but for me to say it’s awful is like a cocaine dealer saying a heroin dealer is awful.”
Outrage over a Cannonball run, in general, makes a lot of sense. Anger from the community itself over the timing of the run is ridiculous. Go read the R&T piece for more.