Actor Idris Elba has driven a Bentley Continental GT Speed to a new UK ‘Flying Mile’ land speed record by recording 180.361mph on Pendine Sands in Wales.
The challenge to beat the 88-year-old record of Sir Malcolm Campbell and his Napier-Campbell Blue Bird was part of an upcoming Discovery Channel Series, Idris Elba: No Limits, which will be on TV in July. Elba was required to do two runs in opposite directions to claim a new record, independently verified by the UK Timing Association, with a top speed recorded of 186mph.
Rather than a specially-built car as Campbell used in 1927, Elba was driving a new Bentley Continental GT Speed, which is powered by a 6-litre twin-turbo W12 engine. A wise choice, as the £175,000 Bentley can hit 0-60mph in 4 seconds, and has a top speed of 206mph when it’s not snaking across tightly packed sand.
The Bentley Speed model also has an enhanced chassis with up-rated springs, anti-roll bars and bushes, a lowered ride height (by 10mm front and rear) together with re-tuning of the electronically controlled damping and steering systems.
The seven mile stretch of beach in South Wales has always been popular for speed records, since it was first used by Malcolm Campbell to reach 146mph in a 350hp V12 Sunbeam Blue Bird. It was also the venue for record-breaking runs by Welshman J.G Parry-Thomas in his own vehicle Babs, which sadly ended in tragedy when the car went out of control. It was restored in the last 1960s and early 1970s and is now displayed at the Museum of SPeed during the summer months.
Not only that, but the Vintage Hot Rod Association and Pendine Land Speed Racing Club have been holding events once more since 2013. Our sister site, Rescogs, attended the first motorcycle-only speed trials since 1927 when they resumed in 2013 with pictures of some amazing motorcycles.