The Supersports model is undoubtedly the most powerful and fastest ContinentalBentley has ever built. And, if you don’t believe us, check out the new world record set by the Continental Supersports convertible. The droptop Bentley was able to hit a top speed of 205.48 mph on the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland.
With only a roll-cage, Pirelli winter tires, a rear parachute, and a few minor aerodynamic changes added to the Bentley, world rally champion, Juha Kankkunen, got behind the wheel of this powerful beast and sped his way through the slippery terrain to achieve the world record. He said, "200mph came up after 5km on sheet ice. Then it was just a question of getting everything right in the timing zone and hoping the snow kept away. There’s nothing to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment which gives you the confidence to push even harder."
Kankkunen visited this piece of ice at least one time before in 2007 when he made his first attempt to break the 200mph mark. Driving a Continental GT at the time, the rally driver fell short of his mark by only getting up to 199.83 mph. It wasn’t enough to achieve his goal, but it was enough to set a new ice speed record. One that had not been broken until now.
With such an amazing accomplishment now tucked snugly under Kankkunen’s and Bentley’s belt, it would seem frivolous for the British automaker not to mark this occasion in a way befitting of a world record, so Bentley has decided to offer a 100 unit limited edition Continental Supersports convertible. No details have been provided for the vehicle the automaker is calling its "most extreme Bentley," except that it will be making its global debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, so check back with us on March 1st, 2011 for all of the official details.
Finland’s four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen drove a Bentley Continental Supersports convertible on the hazardous frozen waters of the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland, at a breathtaking 205.48 mph (330.695 km/h) to set a new world speed record on ice.
Kankkunen was in irresistible form with his all-wheel drive, 6-litre, 12-cylinder Continental Supersports convertible which, in line with the Company’s CO2 strategy, ran on biofuel. The world’s fastest soft top enabled Juha to shatter his own 2007 world ice speed record of 199.83 mph (321.6 km/h) set in the Continental GT at the same location.
With the help of his own experienced team and Bentley engineers, Kankkunen overcame the challenges of temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees, sudden snow blizzards and potentially dangerous crosswinds on the 16.5km track on a 70cm-thick layer of sea ice. The record attempt was driven on a 1000m long measured distance with the speed certified by officials from the Finland Traffic Police. His new world record was based on the average of two runs in opposite directions with measured speeds ratified by a representative of The Guinness Book of Records.
“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT. 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, a Quickshift transmission and the security of the all-wheel drive system, the Supersports convertible was the perfect car to go for the record. ” Kankkunen said.
“200mph came up after 5km on sheet ice. Then it was just a question of getting everything right in the timing zone and hoping the snow kept away. There’s nothing to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment which gives you the confidence to push even harder.”
As with the previous record-breaking drive in the Continental GT the Anglo-Finnish team used a car with minimum modification. A fully-welded, heavy-duty safety roll-cage, along with Pirelli winter tyres (Pirelli SottoZero II 275/40R20) and a rear bumper-mounted parachute provided reassurance in case of an emergency. Front and rear spoilers provided optimum high speed stability on the treacherous surface.
To highlight Bentley’s environmental commitment to sustainable fuel sources, Kankkunen’s Supersports Convertible was fuelled with E85 bioethanol rather than petrol (gasoline). All models in the Continental range are capable of running on petrol (gasoline), E85 bioethanol or any combination of the two.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley’s new Chairman and Chief Executive, said:
“The ice speed record is an amazing feat by Juha Kankkunen, whose skill and courage in extreme conditions truly make him one of the modern-day Bentley Boys. We will be celebrating this achievement with a very special ‘extreme’ Bentley, which will be the most powerful model ever to bear the famed Winged B emblem.”
A limited edition of just 100 examples of this most extreme Bentley will be made and the car will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1st March.