An SUV is not meant to outperform a supercar, but that’s exactly what happened when the new Range Rover Sport SVR took on a fearsome mountain road in China.
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 set a new unofficial record of 9 minutes 51 seconds for the 11.3km ascent at an average speed of 68.8km/h (42.8mph), beating the previous best of 10 minutes 31 seconds – set by a Ferrari 458 Italia supercar in 2016.
With 575PS available from its enhanced V8 supercharged engine, the new Range Rover Sport SVR is the fastest ever Land Rover and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds (0-60mph in only 4.3 seconds) with a top speed of 280km/h (174mph). The new performance flagship features bold design revisions and increased use of lightweight materials to enhance performance, handling and agility.
Coupled with changes to the chassis, the new SVR delivers more dynamic responses without compromising traditional Range Rover comfort. The engineers at SVO 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.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung said: "I am used to the high speeds of racing but these 99 turns were something unique. 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."
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 superior support and traditional Range Rover luxury with Windsor leather, an embossed SVR logo and a choice of four colour combinations.
The record-breaking ascent is the latest challenge completed by the Range Rover Sport after the PHEV 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.