Bentley commissioned a team of its finest engineers to prepare a Continental Supersports Convertible which later went on to set the ice record at 205.48mph. Because of the extreme skill needed to drive a car on ice at high speed, Bentley called in the four times World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen.
In reality the team and Juha were setting out to break their own previous record set in 2007 at 199.83mph. Prior to that the record stood at 184mph, set in a Bugatti EB110 in 1995.
The location was near the Finish coastal town of Oulu, Bentley’s engineering team found a 700mm thick ice pack, measured a 16.5km test circuit and then sent Juha Kankkunen to see how fast the Continental Supersports Convertible would go.
The Continental was fuelled-up with E85 bio-ethanol fuel, the tyres were 275/40 Pirelli SottoZero’s and the Continental was fitted with a roll-cage.
The world’s most powerful soft-top convertible, driven by 463kW of twin-turbo W12 made a smooth get away. When Kankkunen finally passed the speed trap on his return run, he had recorded a two-way average speed of 205.48mph. The 51-year old rallying star deployed a parachute to stop him and then waved to the team.
“200mph 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” says Juha.
Bentley will use this achievement as a sales opportunity, as they are preparing a special edition version in homage to Kankkunen’s triumph. This car will debut at the Geneva motor show and be limited to a total production of only 100 cars.