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2015-05-08 13:42

I DID IT! In an amazing feat, actor Idris Elba, famous for portraying Nelson Mandela in a biopic, broke an 88-year UK speed record in a Bentley GT Speed. Image: Supplied

   Elba breaks 88-year speed record
 •  GT Speed uses six-litre, twin-turbo
 •  Actor reaches 290km/h

PENDINE SANDS, Wales - Idris Elba, star of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and The Wire, piloted a Bentley to break the historic ‘Flying Mile’ UK land speed record set by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1927.

The award-winning actor reached 290km/h at the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT Speed on Pendine Sands on the coast of Wales. The record had stood at 281km/h, set by Sir Malcolm 88 years earlier, in his Napier-Campbell Blue Bird

Despite 88 years of vehicle development, the Bentley was only nine km/h quicker than Campbell's Blue Bird.

Elba, who famously played Nelson Mandela in the multi-award winning Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, said: “I'm elated to have broken the 'Flying Mile' on Pendine Sands. It’s an honour to have taken on the challenge and follow in the footsteps of the illustrious Sir Malcolm Campbell.”

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Despite some challenging tidal conditions on the huge, flat, South Wales beach, the record was broken by the Crewe-built Continental during filming for an upcoming four-part Discovery Channel series, Idris Elba: No Limits, which will air in July.


The Bentley Continental GT Speed has a six-litre, twin-turbo, W12 engine capable of 467kW/820Nm. Coupled with a new ZF eight-speed close-ratio automatic gearbox, the GT Speed dispatches the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.2sec on its way to a maximum speed of 331km/h.

In the Bentley Speed tradition, outstanding performance is matched by an enhanced chassis with uprated springs, anti-roll bars and bushes, a lower ride height (by 10mm front and rear) and re-tuning of the electronically controlled shock-absorbers and steering.

Sir Malcolm's Blue Bird was an open-wheel front engined racing car powered by 22.3-litre W12 engine producing 335kW/550Nm and driving through a three-speed gearbox. 

Campbell also achieved his record run on the Pendine Sands back in 1927. To achieve the record, two runs were done and the two-way average was recorded, set at a blistering 281km/h.

 CAMPBELL IS COMING: Donald Campbell at speed in the 1927 Blue Bird speed record bid on Pendine Sands, Wales. Image: Land Speed Record History

Read more on:    bentley  |  nelson mandela  |  idris elba  |  england  |  wales

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