- Written by webmin
Hmmm… the press release we received this week from (German-owned) British luxury carmaker Bentley was very intriguing, but unfortunately, left us with as many questions as answers.
According to the release, four-time World Rally champion Juha Kankkunen of Finland piloted a Bentley Continental Supersports convertible to a record setting 205.48 MPH — while driving on a frozen section of… the Baltic Sea.
Okay, first question: How do you pronounce “Juha Kankkunen?” Turns out it’s like “You-ha Kon-konan.”
Alright next question: How is it possible that saltwater can freeze over? Well it seems that less than half of the Baltic actually does freeze, and the Gulf of Finland, where the successful record-setting attempt was made, stays frozen into late April early May. (Yeesh, and we carp about the cold in Bennington, Vermont.)
Okay, third and final question, how thick does the ice have to get before you can cruise out on the surface of the Baltic with a 621hp twin-turbo W-12 Bentley that costs $280,000? Well, it seems that the ice was 70 centimeters or 27.5 inches thick and the stretch of open sea on which Kankkunen sailed his Bentley was 10.25 miles long. The top speed was measured over a .62-mile distance.
It all sounds especially nuts when you learn that the temperature was as low as -22 Fahrenheit during the stunt.
The Bentley was essentially stock, with the exception of a full roll cage, Pirelli Sotto Zero II 275/40R20 winter tires, a rear bumper-mounted parachute to slow the car down and front and rear spoilers for a little more down-force on the ice. Because the Supersports is a flex-fuel car, they ran E85 during the record-setting run rather than straight gasoline.
If you’d like your own quarter-million-dollar super convertible for racing around on the surface of frozen bodies of water, Bentley is planning to build 100 copies for us regular folks. You can check it out at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1.