Land Rover’s performance SUV, driven by Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Ho-Pin Tung, has smashed the record for negotiating the 99 corners of the famous Tianmen Road.
The standard production Range Rover Sport SVR (Special Vehicle Racing), costing £99,680 (RM540,500), set a new unofficial record of 9 minutes 51 seconds for the 11.3km ascent at an average speed of 68.8kph, beating the previous best of 10 minutes 31 seconds – set by a Ferrari 458 Italia supercar in 2016.
With 575PS available from its V8 supercharged engine, the new SVR is now the fastest ever Land Rover and can accelerate from 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 280kph.
Coupled with changes to the chassis, the new SVR delivers more dynamic responses without compromising traditional Range Rover comfort.
The engineers at SVO (Special Vehicles Operations) focused on controlling pitch under heavy acceleration and braking, and changes to the damping hardware have improved turn-in, mid-corner grip and body control.
The optional exposed carbon fibre bonnet is one of the distinctive innovations introduced by the experts at Special Vehicle Operations and features a pair of large air vents to underline its performance potential.
A revised front bumper provides enhanced brake and engine cooling while the 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine produces 700Nm of torque.
Inside, new lightweight SVR Performance seats provide support and traditional Range Rover luxury with Windsor leather, an embossed SVR logo and a choice of four colour combinations.
“I am used to the high speeds of racing, but this was even more demanding. Maintaining concentration was the biggest challenge as the road twists and turns constantly, with huge drop-offs to the side. The consequences of getting it wrong would have been really serious so I focused on establishing a rhythm and the Range Rover Sport SVR made this easy – it may be an SUV but it has the performance and agility of a supercar and can take you to places a supercar can only dream of,” said Tung.
The record-breaking ascent is the latest challenge completed by the Range Rover Sport after the PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehcile) model made the dizzying climb to the iconic Heaven’s Gate natural rock arch at the road’s summit last month.
The PHEV made its debut in a race against two-time open-water swimming world champion Keri-anne Payne and endurance athlete Ross Edgley in Devon, UK.