Last year, Ferdinand Porsche (the great-grandson of Ferry Porsche) and one of his mates had a lightbulb moment. ‘Why not put a load of really expensive, really rare, really cool cars on some frozen water?’ they thought. Then, shortly afterwards, another lightbulb popped off.
‘We could get them to race in front of 8,000 people! And we should tow people on skis behind these really expensive, really rare, really cool cars at the same time.’ So that’s what they did, and the inaugural GP Ice Race in Zell am See was born.
Bentley – having seen everything from big-winged Porsche 550 Spyders with rubber rings behind, to the latest, greatest RS models like the GT2 RS as well as legends like Hans-Joachim ‘Striezel’ Stuck hitting the ice in an Auto Union Type C racer from 1938, and Walter Röhrl keeping things lit in an Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 Group B car – got a bit jealous. So for this year’s GP Ice Race has decided to get stuck in with this sub-zero spec Continental GT.
It’s a proper mother of an ice road trucker, and not the first Conti to hit the ice. Considering all of its cars weigh north of two-tonnes, Bentley has a precarious habit of plonking them on ice. A few years ago, four-time Finnish world rally champion Juha Kankkunen set a world speed record on sheet ice.
The Finn drove a Bentley Continental Supersports convertible on the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea at 205.48mph (330.69km/h), smashing his own previous world record of 199.83mph (321.6km/h) set in 2007 in a Continental GT. Well, even though the planet’s ice is a bit meltier than then, Bentley is not giving up on putting big 12-cylinder Bentleys on frozen water.
The black and blue two-tone Continental GT hasn’t been graced with any mechanical changes – just an exhaust tickle courtesy of a custom system from Akrapovic – so we’re still talking 626bhp from the 6.0-litre W12 engine. Which, when the traction available will be less than zero, is probably plenty.
But there are some studded Pirelli Scorpion tyres to help chew up the ice and get the thing moving, plus plenty of visual mods to make it fit for Austria’s posh ice race.
These include a ski rack loaded with expensive Bentley-branded Bomber skis, a retina-melting lightbar, bloated track width and the air suspension in its most jacked-up state so it doesn’t rip its undercarriage in half at the first sight of a snowbank.
Inside, there’s been an injection of race car. Notably, a rear roll cage, FIA race bucket seats and a full fire suppression system if things go really, really wrong. The lucky so-and-so piloting the car around the 600m frozen track for the weekend in Austria will be Junior World Rally Champ (and your kid’s favourite CBeebies star), Catie Munnings.
As for who she’ll be towing behind during the 600bhp skijoring spectacle (and probably giving a lift to hospital shortly afterwards) is still up for grabs. So, fancy signing yourself up?
STORY Rowan Horncastle