Bentley Continental Gt Smashes World Ice Speed Record

By: Benjamin Hudson

One of the major subsidiaries of Volkswagen, Bentley, has given Europe's largest automaker something to celebrate about when it smashed the world ice speed record last week with an average speed of 199.86 mph (321.65 km/h) on the frozen sea off the coast of Finland.

The almost standard four-wheel-drive Bentley Continental GT which is privately owned by the world rally star has been able to topple down the previous ice speed record by a Bugatti EB110 Supersport recording 184.14 mph (296.34 km/h) set at the same location.

Kankkunen's team bear the minus 30 degrees Celsius temperature on the 10 km section of frozen sea, 50 km north of Oulu in western Finland. Kankkunen's team had to make it over 70 cm thick of ice which took them around 5km to hit optimum speed before finally reaching the start of the marked kilometer where his speed was measured. Despite the incomparable gripping power and traction of the Continental GT still it experienced a wheel spin above 120 mph.

But after a brief check up by the team, the Continental GT continued and drove the measured kilometer for the second time to accomplish the judge's requirements reaching an amazing 205 mph (330 km/h). The team have not stopped there and continued the next day to see whether they could surpass their record and they did. They were able to reach an even higher peak velocity of 206 mph (331km/h). But as much as the team would like to continue with their pursuit they were held back due to the increasingly rough and snow covered track.

According to Kankkunen, "The Bentley performed impeccably. 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 meters."

The Bentley Continental GT that was used was a modified one but the Kankkunen ensured that the alterations done on the Bentley were kept to a minimum and for safety reasons a rollcage was fitted along with Nokian snow tires. Various aerodynamic tweaks were also made but the powertrain was never altered despite of the fact that the car runs non-standard fuel with matching calibration to cope with the extreme temperatures.

Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Member of the Board, Engineering said that the record-breaking achievement of the Bentley Continental GT is something that they have expected especially since its owner is the rally record star Juha. "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!"

The record-breaking achievement of the Bentley Continental GT also implies the remarkable quality of Volkswagen vehicles which streams to every component equipped in every VW masterpiece such as the or . Every auto parts added are carefully chosen and tested for quality and endurance.

In addition, the world record set by Bentley is actually a long tradition that dates back to 1920s when some of the W.O's Bentley Boys set the pace at European circuits. It the year 1922, John Duff drove his Bentley 3 Liter single handed for twenty-four hours at an average speed of 87 mph at Brooklands just to secure a Class record. Another 3 Litre in the year 1928 was driven by Dudley Froy and became the first car to achieve more than 115 mph over a distance of 100 miles at the same venue.

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