The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of many. It isn’t quite as luxurious as the top-of-the-line Range Rover, but it’s sportier. Watch the Range Rover Sport PHEV climb a 45-degree, 999-step staircase in a world-first Dragon Road challenge.
The combination of on-road dynamics and off-road capability made the Range Rover Sport the perfect choice for Land Rover’s latest stunt: A high-speed run on China’s Dragon Road.
Tianmen Mountain Road (known as the Dragon Road) in the Hunan Province of China incorporates a dizzying 99 hairpin turns along the 11.3km of mountainside road. At the summit, this road leads toward 999 steps, all of which lead to Heaven’s Gate, a natural rock arch in the mountainside, mythically thought to be a link between the mortal world and the world of the gods.
Land Rover tapped Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung to make the run, and outfitted the Range Rover Sport with reinforced tires to deal with the punishment they would receive on their way up the steps. Powering the new hybrid Range Rover Sport is a 300 horsepower Ingenium petrol engine and 116 horsepower electric motor. Together they produce 404bhp and 500Nm of torque which helped to propel the car to the top of the steps.
Ho-Pin Tung said: “I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was without doubt one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced. “The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly as it inspired real confidence on the mountain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate effortlessly.”
The SUV completed the previously unattempted drive that included 99 turns, 999 steps and the slow maneuvering at the bottom of the steps, in an impressive 22 minutes and 41 seconds. At the finish line, the Range Rover Sport Dragon Challenge team celebrated with a shared sense of accomplishment and relief at the successful completion of the latest in the series of Driven Challenges.