Don’t try this at home folks…Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Ho-Pin Tung recently set an (unofficial) record for racing up the famous, winding Tianmen Road in standard production Range Rover Sport SVR.
The SUV surprisingly outperformed a supercar, as the previous record for negotiating the 99 corners was 10 minutes 31 seconds – set by Italian driver Fabio Barone in a modified Ferrari 458 Italiaa in 2016.
Ho-Pin Tung set a new record of 9 minutes 51 seconds for the 11.3km ascent, at an average speed of 68.8km/h, in the SVR.
With 423kW available from its enhanced V8 supercharged engine, the new Range Rover Sport SVR is the fastest ever Land Rover and the manufacturer claims that it can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, while its top speed is 280km/h.
The video is worth a watch as it gets pretty hairy at times with the sheer drop always a threat if the driver misses a corner. This was clearly very much on Tung’s mind as he had this to say after completing the feat, “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.