Cracking the World Ice Speed Record

On the frozen sea off the coast of Finland, four-times World Rally Champion, Juha Kankkunen, smashed the world ice speed record in March 2007.

Taking his privately owned Continental GT to an average speed of 199.86mph (321.65km/h), Juha eclipsed the previous record of 184.14mph (296.34km/h), set by a Bugatti EB110 Supersport at the same location.

On a 10km section of frozen ice and in temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celcius, Juha took around 5km to hit his optimum speed before reaching the start of the marked kilometre over which his speed was measured. In spite of the Continental GT’s exceptional grip and traction he still experienced wheel-spin even above 120mph.

To fulfil the judges requirements, after a brief check over, Juha turned the Continental GT around and drove the measured kilometre a second time, peaking at an incredible 205mph (330km/h).

According to Kankkunen, “The Bentley performed impeccably. 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 600 metres”. 

Modifications to Juha’s Continental GT were kept to a minimum. For safety reasons, a rollcage was fitted, along with Nokiam snow tyres. Various aerodynamic tweaks were also made, but the powertrain was essentially untouched, although the car ran non-standard fuel with matching calibration to cope with the extreme temperatures.