World Ice Speed Record Broken in Bentley Convertible
Four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen was behind the wheel of the Bentley Continental Supersports convertible as its transversed the sheet ice of the Baltic Sea off the coast of Finland, his native country. Kankkunen propelled the soft top convertible to 205.48 mph (330.695 km/h) to set a new world speed record on ice.
Wrap your mind around the fact that the world sheet ice speed record was set in a convertible of all vehicles. Of course, there are few convertibles in the world as luxurious as the Bentley Continental Supersport.
Here at TorqueNews we don't usually quote verbatim from news releases but Kankkunen's quotations need to be presented in their entirety because one can sense the thrill of his adventure. “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.
“200mph came up after 5km [3.1 miles] 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.”
Among the challenges the Kankkunen faced in his record attempt were temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees, sudden snow blizzards and potentially dangerous crosswinds on the 10.3 mile track on a 27-inch thick layer of sea ice.
The record attempt was driven on a 1000 meter long measured distance with the speed certified by officials from the Finland Traffic Police. The new world record was based on the average of two runs in opposite directions with measured speeds ratified by a representative of The Guinness Book of Records.
Bentley claims it didn't make extensive modifications to the vehicle. It did have a fully-welded safety roll cage for obvious reasons. It used Pirelli winter tires and a parachute mounted to the rear bumper, which apparently is not on the options checklist for the Bentley but probably should be. The Bentley also had front and rear spoilers. The
So, what does one do for an encore after setting the world speed ice record in a Bentley convertible? You can bet Ezra is already wrapping his mind around some scheme.