Unless you live in Alaska, Northern Minnesota, Vermont or Maine, chances are you may not have heard of Nokian Tyres. It certainly doesn’t have the same name recognition of Michelin, Goodyear, BFGoodrich, Continental or even Hankook. But the boutique Finnish tire company has found its niche in winter tires, and perfected it to a science. To demonstrate the capability of its tires, it staged an ice speed record attempt in Northern Finland.
An Audi RS6 shod with its studded Hakkapeliitta 8-series tires hit the ice near the Gulf of Bothnia at the company’s specially-constructed 7.5 mile tire test track at over 200 miles per hour. Behind the wheel of the Audi was Nokian’s resident “Iceman” Janne Laitinen. The average two-way speed attained in the 2013 attempt was 208.602 mph, or 335.713 kmh for our Canadian and metric friends. This beats the former 2011 ice tire speed record, also set by Laitinen, of 206.05 mph.
Per Guinness rules, the Audi was allowed a flying start, and up to an hour to attain its top speed. The Gulf of Bothnia is the northernmost part of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. Nokian takes pride in being the world’s only tire company specifically focused on the development of winter tires. Its 1700-acre development center in Ivalo, Finland is known as “White Hell” for its punishing winter conditions.
We don’t speak Finnish, which is the language spoken during most of the video, but Nokian kindly included English subtitles. But no subtitles are needed for the exclamation when the race crew relayed news to Laitinen that he’d set a new ice tire speed record….”Yeehaw!”