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Finland’s four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen drove a Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible on the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland, at a breathtaking 205.48mph (330.695km/h) to set a new world speed record on ice. Kankkunen was an unstoppable force in the all-wheel-drive, 6-liter, 12-cylinder Continental Supersports Convertible, which ran on biofuel. The world’s fastest soft-top enabled Juha to shatter his own 2007 world ice speed record of 199.83mph (321.6km/h) set in the Continental GT at the same location.
With the help of his experienced team plus Bentley engineers, Kankkunen overcame the challenges of temperatures as low as -30˚C, sudden snow blizzards and potentially dangerous crosswinds on the 16.5km track on a 70cm/28”-thick layer of sea ice. The record attempt was driven over a kilometer-long measured distance, with the speed certified by officials from the Finland Traffic Police.
His 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.
“Last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200mph 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 600hp under the hood, a Quickshift transmission and the security of all-wheel drive, the Supersports Convertible was the perfect car for the record,” Kankkunen said.
“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.”
As with the previous record-breaking drive, the Anglo-Finnish team used a car with minimum modifications. A fully-welded, heavy-duty safety rollcage, along with 275/40 R20 Pirelli SottoZero II winter tiresand a rear bumper-mounted parachute were the only provisions made. Front and rear spoilers also provided high-speed stability on the treacherous surface.
To highlight Bentley’s environmental commitment to sustainable fuel sources, Kankkunen’s Supersports Convertible was fuelled with E85 bioethanol. A limited edition of 100 examples of this most extreme Bentley will be made and the car will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1st March.
Juha Matti Pellervo Kankkunen, born 1959 in Laukaa, Finland
Four-time rally World Champion (1986, 1987, 1991, 1993)
23-time World Rally Winner
Started his career in 1978
First World Rally win in 1985 (Safari Rally)
Won Dakar Rally in 1988
World ice speed record in a Bentley Continental GT in 2007
HISTORY OF WORLD ICE SPEED RECORDS
2011: Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible: 205.48 mph (330.695km/h), driven by Juha Kankkunen
2007: Bentley Continental GT: 199.83mph (321.6km/h), driven by Juha Kankkunen
1995: Bugatti EB110 Supersport: 184mph (296km/h)
BENTLEY EARLY HISTORY OF RECORD BREAKING
1924: John Duff in a Bentley 3-liter took records at Brooklands between 87mph (139.7km/h) and 93mph (149.3km/h) and a Double-Twelve race victory at 86.69mph (139.2km/h)
1925: Bentley 3-litre established 24-hour record at Montlhery at an average speed of 95mph (152.9km/h).
1927: The 24hr Grand Prix de Paris at Montlhery was won by a Bentley 41/2 –litre at an average speed of 52.5mph (84.5km/h)
1928: A Bentley 3-litre driven by Dudley Froy became the first car to average more than 115mph (185.1km/h) over a distance of 100 miles (160.9km) at Brooklands
1929: Mrs Victor Bruce drove solo in a Bentley 41/2-litre at Montlhery to set a Class C record at over 89mph (143.2km/h)
1932: Tim Birkin in a Birkin blower single-seater broke the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record with a speed of 137.96mph (221.47km/h)
1934: Walter Hassan in a Barnato-Hassan single-seater set a new Brooklands Outer Circuit record of 142.6mph (228.9km/h). It achieved a faster lap time of 143.11mph (230.3km)