Bentley isn’t new to the world of racing, even when it comes to setting speed records on ice. In 2007, a Continental GT broke the previous ice speed record, but now, rally driver Juha Kankkunen managed to push a 2011 Continental GTC Supersports Convertible to a new record of 205.48 mph.
In 2007, Bentley and Kankkunen went to Oulu, Finland and clocked the fastest speed for driving on ice at 199.83 mph, topping the previous ice speed record of 184 mph, which was set by a Bugatti EB110 SS in 1995. This year, the same Bentley team returned, albeit with a 2011 Continental GTC Supersports Convertible in tow.
The test track used by the team wasn’t exactly a track, per se. Instead, the team shoveled snow off a 1000-meter stretch of the frozen Baltic Sea. With temperatures dropping to as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit, strong crosswinds, and the chance of a sudden blizzard, piloting the car to over 200 mph was no easy task.
However, the record-breaking team felt the GTC Supersports was up to it. The car used was only a lightly modified version of the production GTC. Powering the convertible is a twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter W-12 producing 621 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. On dry land, the GTC Supersports Convertible can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Few modifications were made for the record-breaking run: the team added only a full roll cage and bumper-mounted parachute for safety, new front and rear spoilers for stability, and Pirelli SottoZero tires for traction on the ice. To showcase its effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Bentley ensured the GTC was fueled with an E85 ethanol blend.
The run was officiated by the Finland Traffic Police, and a representative from The Guinness Book of Records verified the speed after two runs in opposite directions.
“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT,” Kankkunen said. “When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys. This time, with over 600bhp under the bonnet, the Supersports convertible was the perfect car to go for the record." Make sure to check out the video of Kankkunen's 2007 run below.
We will also find out more information next month on a limited-run commemorative version of the GTC Supersports.