Many a parent has allowed their kids to sit behind the wheel of their car and pretend they're taking the brum-brum for a spin. Note the key word here: Pretend. But one dad took the concept to a whole new and dangerous level.

For instead of allowing his eight-year-old daughter to sit behind the wheel in the safety of their own driveway, he forced her to drive the family Audi at more than 60 mph – on a perilously icy road. And then filmed her. Top Gear, eat your heart out!

Now the dad has been branded 'the world's worst father' – while others applauded him for teaching his girl to drive at such a young age.

Dmitry Mihulchik, 28, uploaded the shocking footage of his daughter Karina taking the family car for a spin onto the internet.

In it, he can be heard urging the schoolgirl to keep speeding up, even though the car appeared to be drifted into the middle of the road.

The video shows the father sitting next to Karina, telling her: "Come on, speed up. Yeah, go go. Is it at least 70kph? Don't look at the speedometer, look at the road."

Then he hands the camera to his 29-year-old wife, who is sitting in the back, saying: "There you go Lena, have a look."

As the speed increases, with the father occasionally clutching the wheel to control the car, he tells his daughter: "Push it to at least 100kph."

As she hits 90kph (56mph), he tells her insistently: "Come on, you stop looking at the speed, just press the gas, don't be scared."

The couple from St Petersburg are facing a police probe over the hair-raising drive.

"An investigation has been opened," said a spokesman.

Neither the eight-year-old driver nor her parents were wearing seat belts during the drive lasting more than six minutes.

Comments from Russians who watched the video included 'brainless', 'complete idiots' and, 'The poor child is not guilty, it is all her parents' fault.'

One site branded Dmitry 'the worst father in the world for this grotesque child abuse'.

Another said: "How can any parents do this? They should be deprived of their rights to raise the child."

But others praised the parents for allowing their child to drive.

"You don't need a lot of experience to hold the steering wheel and press the gas, so there is nothing particularly wrong with that," Vladimir Revyakin wrote.

"I also learned to drive at about the same age on a deserted highway, though my parents didn't allow me to go more than 80 kph."

Another posted: "I'm glad that there are still people in this country who teach children how to make the right choice. My dad taught me to drive a car when I was seven years old."

It is unclear what punishment the parents might face, but some have suggested it could be a fine as low as 2,500 roubles (£55) for allowing their daughter to drive without a licence.