(HUNAN PROVINCE, CHINA) – February 12, 2018 – A dizzying 99 turns and 999 daunting steps didn’t stop the new Range Rover Sport from completing a world-first at one of China’s most famous landmarks. The performance SUV has become the first vehicle to climb the stairs to the natural rock arch of Heaven’s Gate.
The challenge began at the bottom of the legendary 7-mile Tianmen Mountain Road (known as the Dragon Road). Fitted with reinforced tires, the Range Rover Sport took on the demanding course with Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung behind the wheel and the Terrain Response® 2 system in Dynamic mode.1
At the summit of the road, Ho-Pin Tung optimized Terrain Response for the second part of the challenge, conquering the towering 45-degree staircase of the 999 steps leading to China’s legendary Heaven’s Gate.2
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.”
Phil Jones, Land Rover Experience expert, said, "This was the hardest Range Rover Sport challenge I’ve ever been involved with because, until we reached the top, we couldn’t categorically say we would succeed. By making it to the summit, we’ve proven the phenomenal capability of the Range Rover Sport like never before – with a genuine world first.”
The Dragon Challenge is the latest in a series of adventures completed by the Range Rover Sport after the PHEV model made its debut in a race against two-time open-water swimming world champion Keri-anne Payne and endurance athlete Ross Edgley in Devon, UK.
Previous exploits include a record-setting hill-climb at Pikes Peak, USA, a record crossing of the ‘Empty Quarter’ desert in the Arabian Peninsula and a 7,119-foot descent of the legendary Inferno downhill course in Mürren, Switzerland.
1 These systems are not a substitute for driving safely with due care and attention and will not function under all circumstances, speeds, weather and road conditions, etc. Driver should not assume that these systems will correct errors of judgment in driving. Please consult the owner’s manual or your local authorized Land Rover Retailer for more details.
2 Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt.