The all-new Range Rover Sport has been named as the Official Pace Car for this year’s Pikes Peak hill climb, after it set a new record for a production-standard Sport Utility Vehicle up the course.
Last week, in the hands of six-time Pikes Peak champion Paul Dallenbach, the new lighter and more agile Range Rover Sport clocked a time of 12:35.61 minutes over the 12.42 mile course, travelling at an average speed of 59.17 mph.
Dallenbach’s record run was timed and sanctioned by the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb organisers and was completed in a production standard version of the 2013 Range Rover Sport, save for fitment of a roll cage and harness seatbelts which was necessary to meet safety requirements.
Developed alongside the highly-acclaimed Range Rover, the new Range Rover Sport is up to 420kg lighter than its predecessor and is Land Rover’s fastest, most responsive and agile vehicle to date. The record was set with the most powerful model in the range, powered by the car maker’s 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8 engine.
The Pikes Peak hill climb runs from 24th to 30th June, with set-up on Saturday 29th and race day on Sunday 30th. First practice sessions were run last weekend which continues this Friday (14th June, at 5:30am – 8:30am local time) and then on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th.
Last weekend, nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb had his first taste of the Colorado mountain, setting a combined time of 7:11.34 for the practice course (3:29.24 for the lower half and 3:42.10 for the upper section). Last year’s champion and current record holder, Rhys Millen, set a combined time of 8:22.01 in his Hyundai Genesis prototype (3:55.03 and 4:26.98), but his rear-wheel drive car was at something of a disadvantage to Loeb’s all-wheel drive Peugeot in the cold conditions.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb together with Red Bull Media House will digitally live stream the race, which you can watch (for free) on the 30th via RedBull.TV.