At the 2019 edition of the annual Speed Days of the Baikal Ice Motor Sports Festival in Russia, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk set the speed record for SUV’s driven on ice.
According to data confirmed by the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF), the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk achieved an average speed of more than 257 km/h over a distance of 1 km with a rolling start and an average speed of more than 100 km/h from standstill. The maximum speed on ice according to GPS trackers was 280 km/h.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk backs up its claim as the most powerful mass-produced SUV in the world. Under the bonnet is a supercharged 710hp 6.2-litre V8 engine. Despite its size, the Trackhawk reaches 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds, with a maximum speed of 290 km/h.
Participation in this event puts a serious load on the braking system due to the challenges presented by 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 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk demonstrated excellent results when braking thanks to its Brembo brake system, which uses large front brakes.
Traction was delivered 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, plus the Selec-Track system with five dynamic modes – Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow – which allows the driver to choose the ideal vehicle setting to meet any requirement and ambient conditions including ice driving.
Before the race, unnecessary items were removed from the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to reduce weight and it was checked for optimal fuel levels.
All of the runs were conducted in accordance with the regulations of the Russian Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The maximum average speed was counted over a distance of 1 km with a rolling start – the drivers had to cover 1 km in the middle of the track at the maximum possible speed and 1 km from a standing start. The rules also dictated that the timing gates had 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 12 km.
Additionally, the absolute maximum speed achieved in each run was included in the official Book of Records of Russia.
The Speed Days of the Baikal Ice Festival were first held in 2011. Over eight years, more than 20 speed records have been set on the Baikal ice by 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) that could affect the safety of drivers and judges.
Achievements are recorded by licensed judges from the Russian Automobile Federation using timekeeping equipment approved by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).