Yesterday, American stunt driver and Pikes Peak veteran Paul Dallenbach took a 2013 Range Rover Sport up the 12.42-mile international hill climb course, setting a new record for a standard production SUV.
He reached the 14,110 feet summit in just 12 minutes 35.61 seconds – at an average speed of 59.17 mph – which Land Rover says “..broke the long standing record for any kind of production-standard vehicle on the Pikes Pike International Hill Climb course”.
But that’s not even close – not by a long way.
Back in June 2011, seven-time Pikes Peak Champion, Jeff Zwart took a street-legal Porsche 911 GT2 RS up the mountain in 11:07.869 minutes. He beat his previous time, the year before, by 24 seconds, which would still have been considerably faster than yesterday’s achievement by Dallenbach and the Range Rover Sport.
Land Rover say their record was independently timed and sanctioned by PPIHC (Pikes Peak International Hill Climb) organisers, if so I suspect Porsche might have something to say about it, even so it’s probably a masterful stroke by Land Rover’s PR team to draw attention to the new Range Rover Sport’s dynamic prowess and it’s new record – if only for an SUV.
The model in question was the 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged petrol engine version, with the only alterations being a roll cage and harness seatbelts to meet safety requirements.
45-year old Dallenbach has won his division at the Hill Climb six times and the event outright three times, so he knows his way through its 156 corners and 4,720 foot climb. “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,” said Dallenbach.
“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.”
The first in a series of short documentary films, ‘The Driven Challenges’ will be available shortly, followed later in the year as the new Range Rover Sport takes on further global driving challenges, designed show it being pushed to the limit.