Bentleys Continental Gt Speed Shatters Underwater Speed Record

Bentley’s Continental GT Speed Shatters Underwater Speed Record

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(Crewe, 9 July 2024) — The fourth-generation Continental GT Speed will make its global public debut at this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Fresh from achieving an unofficial underwater speed record—likely the fastest speed ever recorded through a tunnel—the 208 mph / 335 km/h daily supercar will be showcased in both coupe and convertible forms.…

Bentleys Continental Gt Speed Shatters Underwater Speed Record

(Crewe, 9 July 2024) — The fourth-generation Continental GT Speed will make its global public debut at this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Fresh from achieving an unofficial underwater speed record—likely the fastest speed ever recorded through a tunnel—the 208 mph / 335 km/h daily supercar will be showcased in both coupe and convertible forms. It will tackle the famous Goodwood Hill Climb twice daily from Thursday through Sunday.

In addition to the two GT Speed models on the Hill Climb, a third car will be on display in a unique installation celebrating the underwater speed record. The ‘FOShtank’ is a custom adaptation of Bentley’s glass ‘Toy Box’ display units, used at its Dream Factory campus in Crewe, England. This special version includes a custom-built fish tank, embracing the underwater theme with a playful twist.

The Tourmaline Green Continental GT Speed will be displayed behind a three-tonne fish tank filled with 1,400 litres of water and 30 Shubunkins and other goldfish. The tanks, weighing over three tonnes when filled, feature 80 mm thick acrylic sheets to contain the water. The setup is flow-rated and filtered to ensure clean water, with an on-site aquarium specialist overseeing the welfare of the aquatic occupants throughout the festival. An outdoor LED screen will show both the Underwater Speed Record launch film and behind-the-scenes footage of the record-breaking attempt.

The Underwater Speed Record – Behind the Scenes

On 18 April, the new Continental GT Speed achieved its top speed through the 14.5 km Ryfylke tunnel in Norway, the world’s longest and deepest sub-sea road tunnel. Powered by Bentley’s new Ultra Performance Hybrid electrocharged powertrain, the GT Speed effortlessly deployed 782 PS and 1000 Nm, running on Coryton’s SUSTAIN second-generation renewable biofuel and a hybrid battery charged by Bentley’s solar panel array.

The class-leading powertrain delivers extreme performance, surpassing the outgoing W12 in both horsepower and torque, while significantly reducing CO2 emissions to 29 g/km. This provides an extraordinary range of driving capabilities, from extreme performance to silent, effortless electric luxury.

Thirteen months of meticulous preparation and planning were required to achieve the high-speed tunnel run safely. Although every new Continental GT Speed can reach its top speed without modifications beyond proper tyre inflation, the tunnel run demanded additional precautions.

Securing the right tunnel was the first step. The Ryfylke Tunnel near Stavanger, Norway, with its straight, smooth, and lengthy design, was the perfect choice. Bentley appreciates the support of the Norwegian highways authority (Statens Vegvesen) and the Stavanger police for their unwavering assistance in securing both the tunnel and the necessary permits to exceed the speed limit.

Simulations using Computational Fluid Dynamics revealed that aerodynamic drag would be 11 percent higher in the tunnel. The shock waves and wake of the car bouncing off the tunnel walls required Bentley’s body engineers to assess the atypical forces on the car’s panels. Simulation showed the importance of running the car in the tunnel’s center—proximity to the sides would accelerate airflow between the car and tunnel wall, creating a suction effect.

The Vmax car, prepared exclusively for high-speed runs, was fitted with 22” Pirelli tyres that had been x-rayed for inconsistencies. Former British Rally champion Mark Higgins, who holds the lap record around the Isle of Man TT course, drove the car for the run.

The top speed runs were conducted at 01:00 local time to minimize traffic disruption. Despite increased drag, the Continental GT Speed accelerated from a standstill to 335 km/h in just 33 seconds and maintained top speed as long as film director Jon Richards (formerly of Top Gear) required.


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