It’s unclear if the record will be recognized once their identities are revealed

While a lot of Americans are hunkered down at home observing state and federal laws amidst the coronavirus pandemic, a group of individuals have reportedly set a new Cannonball Run record, traveling from New York’s Red Ball Garage to California’s Portofino Inn in just 26 hours and 38 minutes.

That time upends the existing record of 27 hours and 25 minutes that was set last November 2019 by the trio of Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick. The identities of the individuals who reportedly set the new record are still unknown, but Ed Bolian, a Cannonball insider told Road and Track that the run appears to be legitimate based on his analysis of multiple sources.

Regardless if the record was set or not, doing it in the middle of a pandemic strikes a lot of people as a callous and insensitive attempt at glory. It’d be interesting to see if the record-setters will identity themselves knowing the massive backlash they’re likely to receive.

Is the new cannonball record legitimate?

It appears that it is. A comprehensive report by Road & Track revealed that no less than Ed Bolian — who once held the Cannonball Run record and has since become a Cannonball Run historian of sorts — believes that the 26-hour and 38-minute run was achievable given a number of factors that were ticked during the record-setting run.

Supposing that the chosen route stretched for 2,800 miles, it would mean that the drivers of the Audi A8L that was used in the run had to maintain an average top speed of 105 mph.

It’s an obscenely high average top speed — that’s almost double the highway speed limit of 55 to 70 mph depending on the road — but given the circumstances brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s possible that the drivers faced less traffic on the road on their way to completing the run in 26 hours and 38 minutes.

Doesn’t the achievement feel hollow given what the country — and the world — is going through?

A Mercedes AMG E63 Just Made the Cannonball Run in a Record 27 Hours and 25 Minutes
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Absolutely. There’s no doubt about it.

First of all, a 105-mph average top speed is not only dangerous, but it borders on complete recklessness.

Granted, there are fewer cars on the road these days, but to average 105 mph for the entire stretch of the run means that the drivers compensated for their slow runs in certain areas by blasting off in other areas at speeds that could have reached the A8L’s 155-mph top speed. I understand that the whole concept of the Cannonball Run is to chase precious time, but to do it in such haphazard fashion strikes us as excessive and downright irresponsible.

Sure, the Cannonball Run is an illegal cross-country run, but is it too much to ask to be sensitive during these times?

A Mercedes AMG E63 Just Made the Cannonball Run in a Record 27 Hours and 25 Minutes
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This is why a lot of people are upset about. It’s one thing to make a Cannonball Run in normal times, but we’re not living in normal times. We are living under the shadow of what is, without question, one of the worst pandemics to hit the modern world. People from all over the country are being obligated to stay home for their own safeties, and here are these people who thought it would be the perfect time to do a Cannonball Run.

Worse, they came from New York, which has become the epicenter for the coronavirus with more than 200,000 confirmed cases and over 10,000 deaths. Even if these people don’t have the virus, they’re still coming from New York City. The recklessness and irresponsibility is disgusting.

Will the record be recognized?

Someone Used The COVID-19 Pandemic To Set a New Cannonball Record
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This is the tricky part. For now, nobody has come out to claim the record. People who know the Cannonball Run scene say that the attempt likely happened so even if they get to break the five-month-old record, there’s no certainty that everyone’s going to recognize the record given that it wasn’t achieved under real-world driving conditions in America.

Add that to everything that we’re dealing with as far as the coronavirus is concerned and it wouldn’t be surprising if this attempt ends up getting unrecognized by the Cannonball Run community. For what it’s worth, you won’t find any arguments from us.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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