Actor Idris Elba is apparently a guy with a need for speed and Bentley was only too happy to help him out with it, with TV cameras filming, of course. The actor, who played Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, recently hopped in a Continental GT Speed and broke an 88-year-old land speed record set by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1927.
Elba achieved a top speed of 180.361 mph on Pendine Sands, Wales, otherwise known as the ‘Flying Mile’. It all went down while filming an upcoming four-part Discovery Channel series, Idris Elba: No Limits, which will air in July. To make it official, the record was independently verified by the UK Timing Association.
The previous existing record, 174.8 mph, was set by Sir Malcolm nearly 90 years ago in his legendary Napier-Campbell Blue Bird. So here’s how it all woks. In the “Flying Mile,” a car’s speed is timed between two points one mile apart from each other. The driver doesn’t start from a dead stop, but is allowed to get up to speed before entering the timed zone. The test is run twice within an hour, once each in opposite directions.
“I’m absolutely elated to have broken the ‘Flying Mile’ at Pendine Sands. It’s an honour to have taken on the challenge, and to successfully follow in the footsteps of the illustrious Sir Malcolm Campbell,” Elba says.
By Bentley’s accounts, there were some challenging conditions on the beach in south Wales while this all went down. It’s an area historically us for record speed runs because its tightly packed sands provide a smooth open surface with plenty of space.
Bentley’s Continental GT Speed is powered by Bentley’s 6-litre twin-turbo W12 engine, the GT Speed develops 635 PS and 820 Nm for instantly accessible high performance. Coupled with a new ZF eight-speed close-ratio automatic transmission and state-of-the-art engine management software, the GT Speed can go zero-to-sixty sprint in 4.0 seconds on its way to a top speed of 206 mph.