Pendine Sands is an 11 kilometer stretch of beach on the shores of Carmarthen Bay, located on the south coast of Wales. In the early 1900s, Pendine Sands was regularly used as a venue for motor vehicle races. In fact, beginning in 1922, the annual Welch TT motor cycle event was held at the sands, since the venue was described at the time as “the finest natural speedway imaginable”. This venue became the home of driving speed record attempts everywhere, and the first person to use the sands to land a world speed record was racing driver Malcolm Campbell.
On September 25, 1924, Campbell set the speed record of 146.16 mph. even though this original record was beat by J.G. Parry-Thomas, Campbell actually reset the record once more, reaching 174.22 mph driving a Napier-Campbell Blue Bird in 1927.
Of course, other attempts of breaking the 1927 speed record have been made; however, no one has actually succeeded until this month. On May 7th, 2015, The Wire actor, Idris Elba, successfully broke Campbell’s historic “Flying Mile” record! Read on for more details.
Idris Elba Breaks the Land Speed Record
Auto lovers will be excited to hear that the HBO actor not only broke Campbell’s infamous land speed record, but he did so driving a Bentley Continental GT. Elba was driving an average speed of 290.263 km/h, until he finally hit a top speed of 299.98 km/h, beating the 1927 “Flying Mile” land speed record. Experts in automotive careers know that a flying mile differs from most races, since it does not start from a complete stop. Instead, the driver is allowed to build speed before entering the timed zone.
What did Elba have to say about his record-breaking drive? “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’s Bentley Continental GT
Graduates of mechanic programs know that the Bentley Continental GT is powered by a 6-litre 12-cylinder engine that produces 626 horsepower and has a top speed of 331 km/h. Additionally, the car can go from 0 to 100km/h in a mere 4.2 seconds. Automotive service technicians might be surprised to learn that Bentley has confirmed that the model that Elba was driving when he broke the land speed record was a standard production vehicle. This means that the car was not modified in any way!
Eager to see the footage from Elba’s Pendine Sands run? Students can find it on the Discovery Channel this July, in a four-part series called Idris Elba: No Limits.
What other speed races have caught your interest during your time at automotive school?