Finnish stunt driver Vesa Kivimaki has set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest two-wheeled side wheelie, reaching the astonishing speed of 115.742 miles per hour (186.269 kilometers per hour).
Tires have always been the limiting factor in side wheelie record attempts for both speed and distance. With the car tilted over, only the sidewalls of the tires are in contact with the asphalt and the sidewalls of conventional tires wear to the point of failure too quickly.
Kivimaki said: “I have made earlier attempts to break the record the fastest car on two wheels, but have not been successful. At some point, I realized that the key to record-breaking is to have tires that are exceptionally durable.”
He turned to Finnish winter tire specialist Nokian which uses a synthetic fiber called Aramid in the construction of some of its tires. Aramid is particularly strong and heat-resistant - to the point that it is used in ballistic composites and as a substitute for asbestos - exactly the qualities needed in a tire for this sort of record attempt.
Nokian developed a tire specifically for the attempt. Nokian’s Matti Morri said: “The passion and creative madness required for this world record attempt are also descriptive of Nokian’s product development. We need to try new things and test our limits. Only this will allow us to develop safer, more durable tires in the future.”
Local tire supplier Vianor bolted the tires - wrapped around ultra-strong, rally-spec wheels - onto Kivimaki’s BMW 335i Coupe and monitored their health during the attempt. The record necessitated a run each way over a 100 meter (328 feet) course, completed within an hour. The attempt was actually made at the end of August, but has only just been made official.
The previous record of 112.62 mph (181.25 km/h), set by Swedish driver Goran Eliason, had stood since 1997. Which shows just difficult this is to do.