NOKIA, Finland (March 8, 2011) — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. test driver Janne Laitinen set the new world record for the fastest car on ice by driving 206.1 mph on the Gulf of Bothnia near Oulu, Finland.
Driving a twin-turbo Audi RS6 with Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded tires, size 255/35R20 97 T XL, on the corners, Mr. Laitinen broke the record March 6 on an 8.7-mile ice track under freezing conditions.
Mr. Laitinen broke a record set just three weeks earlier by Finnish rally driver Juha Kankkunen, who achieved 205.5 mph in an all-wheel-drive Bentley Continental Supersports convertible running on studded Pirelli SottoZero II tires, size 275/40R20.
Nokian said the acceleration formula for driving fast on ice is demanding. When a car moves at a speed of 206 mph, the car covers more than 300 feet in one second, the company said.
"With the tires under immense pressure at these high speeds, their diameter can increase by 15-20 mm (0.59 to 0.79 inch), and as the air resistance increases, more traction is needed in order to pick up speed,” the company noted.
The Guinness World Records organization outlines detailed rules for ice driving world records, according to the tire maker. The time for the one-kilometer (0.62 mile) distance is taken for driving in both directions of the track, and the world record time is the average of the two results. The vehicle takes a flying start and the ice has to be natural and may not be roughed up or treated with any chemicals. The tires must be commercially available and approved for road traffic in the country in which the record attempt takes place.
Matti Morri, Nokian's technical customer service manager, said the company regularly tests at high speeds in demanding conditions as part of its winter tire development. “Testing our boundaries can teach us new things, which can then be reflected in all of our products,” he added.
Nokian claims to have developed the world´s first winter tire for subzero conditions in 1934, and two years later introduced its Hakkapeliitta, designed for northern winters. The firm tests tires at its facilities in Ivalo, Finland, about 186 miles north of the Arctic Circle.