• Mar 16th 2007 at 5:58PM
  • 20

Most carmakers usually head somewhere warm like Nardo in Italy or the Bonneville Salt Flats to explore the upper reaches of their vehicles performance potential. Bentley went the other way recently when a Continental GT went to Oulu, Finland. Running on frozen sea ice (how much longer will be able to say that?), four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen achieved a two way average of 199.86 mph over a flying kilometer.

Kankkunen was driving his own personal Continental on the six-mile course across ice that was only 28 inches thick. His maximum speed on the record run was 205 mph. A roll cage and some snow tires with wicked spikes, along with aerodynamic tweaks like flush wheel and headlight covers, were the only significant mechanical changes. The engine calibrations were also adjusted to work with some non-standard fuel that was used to cope better with the minus 30C temperatures.

The press release along with a video showing the car making its record runs is after the jump.

[Source: Bentley]


Bentley Continental GT smashes world ice speed record

2 March, 2007

Oulu, Finland - A Bentley Continental GT, driven by four-times World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen, smashed the world ice speed record last week, reaching an average speed of 199.86mph (321.65km/h) on frozen sea off the coast of Finland.

The near standard four-wheel-drive Continental GT - which is privately owned by the world rally star - eclipsed the previous ice speed record of 184.14mph (296.34km/h), set by a Bugatti EB110 Supersport at the same location.

Kankkunen's team endured temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius on a 10km section of frozen sea, 50km north of Oulu in western Finland. Accelerating hard over 70cm-thick ice, Juha took around 5km to hit his optimum speed before reaching the start of the marked kilometre over which his speed was measured. In spite of the Continental GT's exceptional grip and traction he experienced wheel-spin even above 120 mph.

After a brief check-over, Juha turned the Continental GT around and drove the measured kilometre a second time to fulfill the judge's requirements, peaking at an incredible 205mph (330km/h).

Yesterday, a further attempt to better this speed resulted in an even higher peak velocity of 206mph (331km/h), but bettering the average figure set a few days before proved impossible due to an increasingly rough and snow covered track.

'The Bentley performed impeccably,' said Kankkunen. 'I was amazed how stable and secure it felt at these high speeds, despite the track's rough and icy surface being scattered with powdery snow. I even managed to stop the car from its top speed within 600 metres.'

Modifications to Juha's Continental GT were kept to a minimum. For safety reasons, a rollcage was fitted, along with Nokian snow tyres. Various aerodynamic tweaks were also made, but the powertrain was essentially untouched, although the car ran non-standard fuel with matching calibration to cope with the extreme temperatures.

'Juha's record-breaking achievement is just what we've come to expect from some of our more adventurous owners,' said Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Member of the Board, Engineering. 'It shows that the spirit of the famous Bentley Boys lives on and is still harnessed by drivers with sufficient skill and courage to extract the full potential of our motor cars in extreme conditions - though, naturally, we would not recommend our other owners try to attempt such high speeds on sheet ice!'

This most recent world record set in a Bentley continues a long tradition started in the 1920s when some of W.O's Bentley Boys set the pace at European circuits. In 1922, John Duff drove his Bentley 3 Litre single handed for 24 hours, at an average speed of almost 87mph at Brooklands to secure a Class record. And in 1928, another 3 Litre driven by Dudley Froy became the first car to achieve more than 115mph over a distance of 100 miles at the same venue.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      omg GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!!!! the sky is falling :(
      • 8 Years Ago
      the real reason for global warming is because all those chicken littles keep smoking weed
      • 8 Years Ago
      (how much longer will be able to use bad grammar)
      • 8 Years Ago
      hardcore... he isn't even wearing a seatbelt LOL

      (unless its just something weird with the pic). But then again, I guess seatbelt or not, if you crash at 200 MPH you're screwed either way
      • 8 Years Ago
      to: master jedi dan
      wrong, weed helps 'patch' the hole in the ozone.
      the death star makes them
      go hump a wookie!

      nice bentley, i would imagine his tires do warm up some. as for dirving on the open ice... well it looked like fun, but i would have been done more doughnuts then dunkin.
      • 8 Years Ago
      JUHA was the group B supercar god of rallying.
      • 8 Years Ago

      Are you married? Common sense really gives me a charge.


      P.S. I have been known to buy and eat organic foods, but I drive my SUV to the market to get them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Science fiction". Sure. And I'm sure you've seen the movie (not) and that you're a recent MIT grad and can speak intelligently on the subject (not.)

      You rightwingnuts just amaze me.

      Global warming is an absolute fact. Man's contribution to it is a 99.9% fact. You're perfectly free to question the extent of the problem or dispute the role we all play, but no one is asking you to give up your lifestyle and live in a commune raising organic tomatoes. So what the he ll are you so wound up about?

      Or is this just another chapter in the long, sad story of the poor victimized conservatives, being trampled under the feet of the jack-booted liberal tree-hugger army? Gee. Let me stop and wipe your tears.

      But when you're done crying about your victimization, just stop and remember that whether our generation lifts a finger or not, it's our children and children's children who will pay the price.

      Ahhh - but I'm wasing my time. People like you put more value in the delusional ramblings of comedians like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter than you do in highly credentialed climatologists and Nobel prize winners. So why listen to a lowly soul like me, right?

      As you were.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Running on frozen sea ice (how much longer will be able to say that?)"

      Oh you environmentalists (or should I say chicken littles), you're so funny!
      • 8 Years Ago
      (how much longer will [we] be able to say that?)

      A few hundred more years . . . at least.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Rigtwingnuts (sic)? Friend, this is a car blog, not a place for running your political flag up the pole. So take this good natured advice from one car guy to another, with absolutely no malice intended: Do yourself a favor TD and do some research before you come around throwing out the sweeping generalizations. Don't want to come off as a wanker.

      You present the idea that one must be an MIT grad to understand and speak with intelligence on the subject of global warming and I think this may be the key to the problem. Last time I checked I was not anywhere near MIT during my college days. However I still somehow managed to benefit from exposure to the basics of logical thought. Plus a healthy dose of being able to think for myself, regardless of my politics, religious views or any other affiliation.

      When this global warming rallying point started making the rounds something didn't smell right, so I took some time and did the research. Followed the logical trail and asked some basic questions. No MIT degree required. If you feel so inclined you can do the same and here are a few places to start:

      1. How long has this period of global warming been actually going on? (Take a hint from Susie on this one)
      2. How many warming/cooling cycles has the Earth seen?
      3. How many of those warming (or cooling) could have possibly occurred as a result of human activity?
      4. How accurate is the actual data being used to calculate the warming trend? And is there even a global trend or just localized misinterpretations?
      5. How many times has the media latched onto the highly dramatic concept of global climate catastrophe? You can start with the last big media inspired doomsday scenario in the late 70s/early 80s when the media was convinced we were entering the next ice age. If you're good you'll see that the New York Times has a rich history in global climate disaster prediction. Starting in the late 1800s they have swung back and forth between warming and freezing at least five times.
      6. How many times has the media been right?
      7. What would the media have to gain from running with a highly dramatic story like this?
      8. What would a politician have to gain from running with a highly dramatic story like this?
      9. What would an organization(s) funded by donations have to gain from running with a highly dramatic story like this?
      10. What would I have to gain by refuting it?

      And the big one:

      11. Do you want to be part of 99.9% of the population that is blindly taking their science from Al Gore and Time magazine?

      From one car guy to another, go do your homework TD.
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