Rally champion Juha Kankkunen sets a world ice speed record of 205.48mph in a Bentley Continental Supersports on the frozen Baltic off the coast of Finland.
Well, there’s a turn up for the books. The Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible breaks the world speed record on ice. And we never even knew there was a world speed record on ice.
Or if there was , and we’d bothered to think about it, we’d have assumed it belonged to one of those guys we see every four years at the Winter Olympics, with thighs the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest and hands locked in a Prince Philip pose.
We certainly wouldn’t have given a thought to the possibility that anyone would want to set – and indeed break – the speed record for driving on ice. Much less in a Bentley. Although if you are going to do it in a car, we can think of a lot worse cars than the 4WD Bentley Continental Supersports in which to do it.
Which is obviously what Rally champion Juha Kankkunen thought. Actually, Juha first thought of the Bentley Continental GT when he realised he had what it takes to set the world speed record on ice. And he did. In 2007 he set the world ice speed record of 199.83 mph in a Continental GT.
Bentley’s willingness to resurrect the ‘Bentley Boys’ Spirit with the insanely powerful Continental Supersports – a car that runs on lentils yet produces 621bhp and develops an iceberg-moving 590lb/ft of torque – gave Juha the chance to have another crack at the record.
He very sensibly chose the Convertible Supersports with its much comfier seats (these things are important when it’s cold) and set off across the frozen Baltic off the coast of Finland to set a new world speed record on ice of 205.48 mph.
Juha set the record with an average of two runs across a measured 1000m in temperatures as low as -30C. The whole game was watched, recorded and ratified by Finnish plod and the man from Guinness.
All of which is a great story and Juha Kankkunen now deserves a bit of time off. Somewhere warm. But we’re not sure he’s going to get it. We were talking to the man from Bentley today, and he’s off to Finland tomorrow. Which tends to suggest that Juha Kankkunen and Bentley may not yet have finished playing at automotive speed skaters.
We’ll let you know.