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It is a tradition at the Goodwood Festival of Speed to run up the hill of this famous estate. Just about every type of road and racing car make this trek, and the Bentley ice racer is no exception.
Earlier this year, Bentley set a new record of the highest speed achieved by a car on ice when it hit 205.48 with their 631-horsepower Continental Supersports convertible. The record run took place on a section of the Baltic Sea on a 10-mile track, just off the coast of Finland, and the car was driven by rallying superstar Juha Kankunnen.
The weather at Goodwood was a lot warmer and the crowd was much bigger for the run up the hill, but Kankunnen delighted the crowd with some quick runs. He said; “Driving this very special Bentley Continental in front of the packed Goodwood grandstands was a special experience for me. Driving on a frozen sea was a unique challenge and only a few Bentley engineers and my support crew were there to witness the new world record. So it was a pleasure to provide a glimpse of the capabilities of this Bentley to a huge audience of motorsport enthusiasts on a beautiful summer’s day.”
However, Kankunnen wasn’t the only celebrity on the Bentley grand stand, as five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell was also in attendance. Bell, who now works as a driving consultant for Bentley also made the run, choosing to drive the new Continental GT coupe up the hill. Bell who was part of the winning 2003 Bentley Le Mans team said; “Driving the GT at Goodwood was a lot of fun. The new car maintains all the luxury and refinement for which Bentley is renowned, but is even quicker, dynamically sharper and more powerful than its predecessor.”
In Finland, rally champion Juha Kankkunen has cracked the 200-mph barrier on ice in a Bentley Supersports, setting a new world speed record on ice.
Atop the frozen Baltic Sea at temperatures of minus 30 degrees, he drove the AWD, W12-engined, biofuel-powered Bentley Continental Supersports convertible to a record 205.48 mph, which bested his own previous world record of 199.83 mph set at the same location in 2007.
“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT,” he said. “When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys.”
One of the goals of the British/Finnish team was to keep the car as stock as possible: modifications included a roll cage, low-resistance Pirelli winter tires, front and rear spoilers, and a bumper-mounted parachute. Juha Kankkunen fought crosswinds and sudden blizzards on the 10-mile track, atop 27 inches of ice, to complete two runs in opposite directions. The speed was verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Of course, Kankkunen is no stranger to racing in extreme conditions. Since he started rallying in 1978, he has over 23 World Rally victories under his belt, been crowned World Champion four times, and won the Dakar Rally outright in 1988. Finland breeds rally champions, so the saying goes, and off the coast of Finland Kankkunen seemed within his element.
Bentley is planning a limited edition 100-car run of the Supersports to reflect this achievement, in case well-heeled buyers want to tackle the record on their own.
Hit the jump to read the official press release.