Can a Range Rover really beat a Ferrari-set record on one of the most demanding roads in the world? The answer may surprise you.
Little over a decade ago, the idea of any production SUV or 4x4 out-performing a supercar would have seemed impossible. With lurching suspension, a center of gravity higher than Cheech & Chong, and the aerodynamics of a bungalow, witnessing the likes of a Mitsubishi Outlander, Mercedes G-Class or, indeed, a Range Rover out-maneuver a Ferrari was a mere pipe dream.
Well, Land Rover has gone and done it. The Range Rover Sport SVR has set a new unofficial record in China’s Hunan Province, climbing the fearsome Tianmen Mountain road that, famous for its 99 grueling corners, is truly a test of man and machine.
Land Rover’s performance flagship completed the seven-mile (11.3-kilometer) ascent in 9 minutes and 51 seconds at an average speed of 42.8 mph (68.8 km/h), beating the previous best of 10 minutes and 31 seconds set by a Ferrari 458 Italia back in 2016.
The standard production Sport SVR clearly utilized all 567 horsepower (422.8 kilowatts) from its supercharged V8, taking 4.3 seconds to reach 60 mph (96.5 km/h) from a standstill. Although driver Ho-Pin Tung wouldn’t have had a chance to get anywhere near the car’s top speed during his ascent, the SVR is also good for 174 mph 280 km/h).
Tung, Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s star driver, said: "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. 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."
It was down to the SVR’s dynamic responses, not to mention Ho-Pin’s driving prowess, that not only delivered the SUV back to base in one piece, but also saw Ferrari’s record smashed by an astounding 40 seconds.
This record-breaking ascent is the latest in a series of challenges to be completed by the Range Rover Sport since the PHEV model successfully completed the dizzying climb towards the iconic Heaven’s Gate natural rock arch, situated at the road’s summit, last month.
Gallery: Range Rover Sport SVR - Tianmen Road Record
SUPERCAR BEATER: RANGE ROVER SPORT SVR SETS TIANMEN ROAD RECORD
13 MARCH 2018
Land Rover’s enhanced performance SUV sets new benchmark on Tianmen Road, China
- New performance SUV beats supercar record for tackling the 99 turns of the world-famous Tianmen Road in China
- 575PS Range Rover Sport SVR features enhanced V8 supercharged engine, delivering 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds (0-60mph in 4.3 seconds)
- Performance flagship completed epic drive in 9 minutes 51 seconds, beating benchmark of 10 minutes 31 seconds set by a Ferrari 458 Italia
- Standard production SVR model was piloted by Le Mans class-winner and Panasonic Jaguar Racing reserve and test driver Ho-Pin Tung
Hunan Province, China, 13 March 2018 – 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.The Range Rover Sport SVR is priced from £99,680.