Actor Idris Elba smashes an 88-year old speed record in a Bentley

The British Land Speed Record is one of the nation’s most coveted titles in the world of motorsports and racing.

It happens on the Pendine Sandes of Wales, on the eastern portion of the main island and it’s also colloquially known as the “Flying Mile.” The idea is that the fastest land speed achieved by a land vehicle in the United Kingdom is reached over a fixed length course, averaged over two runs in opposite directions.

The first record occurred in 1924, where a gentleman by the name of Malcolm Campbell, drove a 350hp Sunbeam Blue Bird to set the first land speed “Flying Mile” record and “Flying Kilometre” at 146.16 mph.

The last record happened in 1927 when Mr. Campbell once again set the record at the Pendine Sands at 174.883 mph.

Now, British actor Idris Elba broke that record recently at the Pendine Sands, using a Bentley Continental GT, averaging just a shade over 186 mph.




May 7, 2015

  • Bentley helps Elba follow in famous footsteps of Sir Malcolm Campbell
  • Continental GT Speed and Hollywood star break 88-year-old record
  • Award-winning actor achieves180.361 mph on Pendine Sands, Wales

(Crewe, 7 May, 2015) Idris Elba, star of Luther 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 hit a top speed of 180.361 mph at the wheel of a new Continental GT Speed on Pendine Sands, Wales. This broke the existing record of 174.8 mph set by Sir Malcolm nearly 90 years ago in his legendary Napier-Campbell Blue Bird. The record was independently verified by the UK Timing Association.

Elba, who famously played Nelson Mandela in the multi-award winning Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, said: “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.”

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

Bentley Continental GT Speed

Powered by Bentley’s iconic 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 despatches the zero-to-sixty sprint in 4.0 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.2s), on its way to a top speed of 331 km/h (206 mph).

In the Bentley Speed tradition, outstanding performance is matched by an enhanced chassis with up-rated springs, anti-roll bars and bushes, a lowered ride height (by 10mm front and rear) together with re-tuning of the electronically controlled damping and steering systems.

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Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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