World speed record on ice

MAT-Team cracks over 200 mph... on ice!

Oulu, Finland - A Bentley Continental GT, driven by four-times World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen, smashed the world ice speed record, reaching an average speed of 321.65km/h on frozen sea off the coast of Finland.

The near-standard four-wheel drive Continental GT - which is privately owned by MAT-Team - eclipsed the previous ice speed record of 296.34km/h, set by a Bugatti EB110 Supersport at the same location.

Kankkunen and MAT-Team endured temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius on a 12km section of frozen sea, 50 kilometres north of Oulu in western Finland. Accelerating hard over 70cm-thick ice, Juha took around 5 kilometres to hit his optimum speed before reaching the start of the marked kilometre over which his speed was measured. After a brief check-over, Juha turned the Continental GT around and drove the measured kilometre a second time to fulfil the judge's requirements, peaking at an incredible 331km/h (206mph).

'The Bentley performed impeccably,' said Kankkunen. '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 500 metres.'

Modifications to record car were kept to a minimum. For safety reasons, a rollcage was fitted, along with Nokian winter tyres. Various aerodynamic tweaks were also made by Makela Auto Tuning, but the powertrain was essentially untouched, although the car ran non-standard fuel with matching calibration to cope with the extreme temperatures. As expected, the very cold air entering the Bentley's turbochargers and charge-air coolers enhanced its performance.

MAT-Team's record-breaking achievement shows that the spirit of the famous Bentley Boys lives on and is still harnessed by drivers with sufficient skill and courage.

This most recent world record set in a Bentley continues a long tradition started in the 1920s when some of W.O's more flamboyant customers set the pace at European circuits. In 1922, John Duff drove his Bentley 3 Litre single handed for 24 hours, at an average speed of almost 87mph at Brooklands to secure 39 Class D records. And in 1928, another 3 Litre driven by Dudley Froy, became the first car to achieve more than 115mph over a distance of 100 miles at the same venue.

"World's Fastest Car on ICE" event organized by MÄKELÄ AUTO TUNING OY