Is there an SUV out there that can beat a super car? Well, Land Rover has put its Range Rover Sport SVR to the ultimate test by racing it up one of the deadliest roads known to man. Located in China’s Hunan Province, the Tianmen Mountain Road scales a 1,519-metre mountain, is 7 miles long and has no less than 99 hairpin bends.
A new unofficial record has been set by the Range Rover Sport SVR, beating the previous record set by a Ferrari 485 Italia. The SVR covered the perilous route and all of its 99 death-defying turns in just 9 minutes and 51 seconds, averaging 42.8 mph. The previous record, which was set by a Ferrari 458 Italia in 2016, was set at 10 minutes and 31 seconds.
Daredevil Driver Ho-Pin Tung
During the record attempt, the Range Rover Sport SVR was piloted by racing driver and Le Mans class winner, Ho-Pin Tung. Tung, who is also a test and reserve driver for Jaguar’s Formula E team (the auto-making counterpart of Land Rover), achieved the impressive feat of smashing the existing record held by one of the most well-known supercars in the world.
Tung is familiar with the intimidating Tianmen Mountain Road and its surroundings. A previous Land Rover stunt saw Tung pilot a 398-horsepower Range Rover Sport, as it ascended 999 steps up a massive 45 degree staircase leading up to a natural rock arch known as Heaven’s Gate. This time however, Tung traded in Range Rover’s plug-in hybrid SUV for the latest SVR model’s super-charged 5.0 lire V8.
What’s Under the Hood of the Range Rover Sport SVR?
The Range Rover Sport SVR was built to go fast. It can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 174 mph. With an impressive 5.0 litre supercharged V8 engine, it boasts 575 horses under the hood and 516 pound-feet of torque. The powerful V8 SUV also features sportier bodywork, suspension upgrades, as well as other accompanying modifications.
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Ferrari 485 Italia Performance Specs
Ferrari 485 Italia set the previous best record back in 2016. According to official statistics, the supercar can accelerate 0-62 mph in just under 3 seconds. With a top speed of 210 mph, this Italian sports car has a power to weight ratio of 5.75 lb (2,61 kg) per horsepower. That equates to 562 horsepower, a fraction less than its SUV rival. It has a Ferrari/Maserati F136 V8 engine which features direct fuel injection, however it is slightly smaller when compared to the Range Rover Sport SVR at just 4,5 litres.
How is it Possible That a SUV Outclasses a Super Car?
According to racing driver Tung, the Range Rover Sport SVR isn’t just your average SUV. Far from it. That, coupled with intense focus saw the indomitable Ho-Pin Tung smash the previous record set by supercar heavyweight, Ferrari, to smithereens. When asked what the biggest challenge he encountered during the record attempt was, Tung remarked, “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 an can take you to places a supercar can only dream of.”
Setting the record on one of the world’s most treacherous roads while tackling no less than 99 spin-chilling bends came down to the Range Rover Sport SVR’s dynamic responses combined with Ho-Pin Tung’s remarkable driving prowess.