Tag Archive | "Pikes Peak"

Range Rover Sport & The Pikes Peak Challenge


On the 20th March Motor Blogger reported that the new Range Rover Sport was to be officially announced at the New York Show on the 26th of that month and, as if by magic, it was. Since then it has been gathering plaudits from all sides as being all things to all men and doing those things very well indeed.

Land Rover engineers have pulled off something a bit special. This car is apparently terrific off-road as you’d expect whilst being smooth and calm when ferrying the ankle-biters around town yet still manages to be a great drive. Obviously it’s no sports car but, for a vehicle this size, it makes for very rapid progress with handling characteristics you’d expect from a smaller motor. It’s even the perfect car for driving mud-splattered Labradors up and down motorways.

To prove the merits of the Sport still further Land Rover have decided that it will undertake various challenges around the world in the toughest of environments. The first of these challenges was to pit the car against the might of the Pikes Peak hill-climb in Colorado – ‘The Race To The Clouds’.

This is an event that has been going on now for some 91 years and has shown itself to be the ultimate test of man and machine. It is 12.42 miles of snaking road with 156 corners that clings to the side of a mountain. The actual challenge takes place on June 30th and a host of vehicles are taking part. Even World Champion rally driver Seb Loeb is having a go in a Peugeot 208 T16 with a massive wing and a front spoiler the size of a giant’s snow shovel.

To test the driving merits of the Range Rover Sport an ace American racer and stunt driver called Paul Dallenbach set a new record for a production standard SUV by piloting the thing up the hill in just 12 minutes 35.61 seconds; that’s an average speed of 59.17mph on a highly tortuous and dangerous route.RR2 Range Rover Sport & The Pikes Peak Challenge

Dallenbach used the version with the 5.0L supercharged V8 engine, obviously. A roll cage and full harness was fitted (look for Pikes Peak videos to find out why) but otherwise it’s the car you and I would buy if we had the £51k plus that is needed at the bottom of the price list. Most drivers will probably settle for the V6 diesel. Fortunately that’s no slouch either.

This new Range Rover benefits from the lighter underpinnings of its big brother and a mostly aluminium construction meaning it tips the scales by 800lbs less than its predecessor. No wonder it’s fast.

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