The new Range Rover Sport sets the production vehicle lap record on the Pikes Pike International Hill Climb course, venue of the spectacular annual competition known as 'The Race To the Clouds'.
The SUV rose to the challenge of the 12.42-mile asphalt course, powering its way from a standing start, in just 12 minutes 35.61 seconds with an average speed of 95.23 km/h on a snaking road that clings to the edge of the mountain with precipitous drops on one side and unyielding rock faces on the other. The record was independently timed and sanctioned by PPIHC (Pikes Peak International Hill Climb), organizers of the annual competition at the Colorado venue.
The Pikes Peak course goes through 156 corners as it ascends beyond the treeline from 9,390 feet (2,860m) above sea level to 14,110 feet (4,300m). At that altitude the air contains only 58% of the oxygen it does at sea level, diminishing engine performance and blunting human physical and mental performance.
The Range Rover Sport is powered by a standard 510HP 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, with standard suspension as well. The only modification made to the vehicle was the fitment of a roll cage and harness seatbelts to meet racing safety requirements.
The record run was done by American competition and stunt driver Paul Dallenbach, a 45 year old Pikes Peak specialist from Basalt in Colorado. He has won his division at the Hill Climb six times and won the event outright three times.
"There's no margin for error at Pikes Pike - you only need to misjudge one of those 156 turns and you're into the trees or over the edge of the mountain. To take on this place the way I did today, you need complete confidence in your vehicle, and the Range Rover Sport sure gave me that - it's fast, responsive and agile. I was able to place the car exactly where I wanted it on the road to keep to the optimum high-speed lines through corners. This is a hugely capable vehicle and I'm proud to have been part of demonstrating that by setting a new Pikes Peak record," said Dallenbach.
The new Range Rover Sport will be taking on a series of global driving challenges to demonstrate its abilities. The Pikes Peak record run is the first of a series of to be taken-on by the SUV, pushing the vehicle to new limits in a series of the most punishing drives to be found on earth.