March 8, 2011
by Fleet Management staff
NOKIA, Finland: The new world record for fastest car on ice was set on March 6, 2011 by Nokian Tyres’ test driver Janne Laitinen who drove 331.61 km/h on the Gulf of Bothnia in Oulu, Finland. The record was broken on a 14-kilometre ice track in freezing conditions. They used Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 studded tires (255/35R20 97 T XL).
Extreme speeds emphasize the role of tires; they are the vehicle’s only contact point with the driving surface. When driving at exceptionally high speeds on slippery ice, the tires must provide maximum grip, excellent structural durability and handling properties that are in line with the car’s high power.
The acceleration formula is demanding. When a car moves at a speed of 331 km/h, the car covers over 92 metres in one second. The tires are under immense pressure at these high speeds, and their diameter can increase by 15 to 20 mm. As the air resistance increases, more traction is needed in order to pick up speed.
“Testing at high speeds in demanding conditions forms an important part of our winter tire development. Testing our boundaries can teach us new things, which can then be reflected in all of our products,” said Matti Morri, Nokian Tyres’ technical customer service manager.
The Guinness World Records organization outlines detailed rules for ice driving world records. The time for the one-kilometre distance is taken for driving in both directions of the track, and the world record time is the average of these two results. The vehicle takes a flying start. The ice has to be natural and it 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.
Nokian Tyres developed the world’s first winter tire for raw, subzero conditions back in 1934. Two years later, it introduced the Hakkapeliitta, designed for northern winters and today one of the world’s best-known winter tire brands. The world’s northernmost tire manufacturer tests and develops new additions, customized for different uses, for its winter tire family at its own test facilities in Ivalo, 300 km north of the Arctic Circle.