Finland’s four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen drove a Bentley Continental Supersports convertible on the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea at 205.48 mph (330.695 km/h). He registered a new world speed record on ice.
To accomplish the feat, Kankkunen battled temps as low as -30F, snow squalls and crosswinds as he drove a 1,000-meter stretch of sea ice measured at 70 cm thick on a 16.5 km track. The record is based on the average of two passes, in opposite directions, with the speeds measured by a representative from The Guinness Book of Records. Finland Traffic Police certified the speed.
“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT. When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys. This time, with over 600bhp under the bonnet, a Quickshift transmission and the security of the all-wheel drive system, the Supersports convertible was the perfect car to go for the record, ” Kankkunen said.
“200 mph came up after 5km on sheet ice. Then it was just a question of getting everything right in the timing zone and hoping the snow kept away. There’s nothing to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment which gives you the confidence to push even harder.”
Modifications to the car included adding a fully-welded, heavy-duty safety roll-cage, along with Pirelli winter tyres (Pirelli SottoZero II 275/40R20) and a rear bumper-mounted parachute provided reassurance in case of an emergency. Front and rear spoilers provided optimum high speed stability.
Intead of regular fuel, the Bentley ice sled was filled with E85 bioethanol. All cars in the Continental can run on regular gas, E85 bioethanol or any combination of the two.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley’s new Chairman and Chief Executive, said:
“The ice speed record is an amazing feat by Juha Kankkunen, whose skill and courage in extreme conditions truly make him one of the modern-day Bentley Boys. We will be celebrating this achievement with a very special ‘extreme’ Bentley, which will be the most powerful model ever to bear the famed Winged B emblem.”
A limited edition of just 100 examples of this most extreme Bentley will be made and the car will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show March 1.
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