Motoring Correspondent
2 minute read
9 May 2019
12:50 pm

Grand Cherokee blazes Baikal Ice Motorsport Festival

Motoring Correspondent

Drivers had to cover 1km in the middle of the track at the maximum possible speed and 1km from a standing start.

At the recent annual 2019 speed days of the Baikal Ice Motorsports Festival in Russia, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk set the speed record for SUVs driven on ice.

According to data confirmed by the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF), the Trackhawk was able to achieve an average speed over a distance of one kilometre of more than 257km/h with a rolling start and an average speed starting from a standstill of more than 100km/h.

The maximum speed on ice, according to GPS trackers, was 280km/h. The Trackhawk backs up its claim as the most powerful mass-produced SUV in the world.

Under the bonnet is a 529kW 6.2-litre V8 engine. Despite its impressive dimensions, the Trackhawk reaches 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, with a maximum speed of 290km/h. Participation in this event means a serious load on the braking system due to the specifics of the Baikal ice. In sunlight, the surface of the lake is covered in a film of water, which reduces grip on the surface. However, even in such conditions, the Jeep demonstrated excellent results when braking, thanks to its Brembo brake system, which uses large front brakes.

Traction was granted by the Jeep Quadra-Trac on-demand four-wheel-drive system, which includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential and a single-speed active transfer case, and the Selec-Track system with five dynamic modes – auto, sport, track, snow and tow – which allows for the driver to choose a vehicle setting that ideally meets any requirement and ambient conditions, including ice driving.

Before the race, unnecessary items were removed from the Trackhawk and it was checked that the fuel level was sufficient. All the runs were conducted in line with the regulations of the Russian Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The maximum average speed was counted over 1km with a rolling start.

Drivers had to cover 1km in the middle of the track at the maximum possible speed and 1km from a standing start. The rules also dictated that the timing gates needed to be passed in both directions, with the judges calculating the average result. To allow for the required acceleration and braking, the total length of the course was 12km. Additionally, the absolute maximum speed achieved in each run was included in the official Book of Records of Russia.

The speed days were first held in 2011. Over eight years, more than 20-speed records have been set in different categories of vehicles. All runs are traditionally conducted on natural bare ice and preparation of the route is limited to the removal of obstacles (packed snow, hummocks) affecting safety for drivers and judges.

Achievements are recorded by licensed judges from the RAF using timekeeping equipment approved by the FIA.

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