To demonstrate the breadth of capability of the Range Rover Sport SVR, Land Rover has teamed with Motor Trend to produce a three-part video series pitting it in a series of races on mountains, tracks, and ice against some of the world's best racers.
The videos are filmed at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California; the Test World ice track in Finland; and Les Lacets de Montvernier, one of the most grueling hill climbs of the Tour de France route. Each video features Justin Bell, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and several other racing achievements and son of racing champion Derek Bell. He drives the Range Rover Sport SVR in each environment, competing against an identical Range Rover Sport SVR in two of them and a bicycle in the third.
In one video, Bell takes on fellow racing driver Dario Franchitti behind the wheel of a pair of Range Rover Sport SVRs at Laguna Seca. The prelude to the primary challenge: a road taxed vehicle (RTV) course at the Land Rover Experience driving school course at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, California. Observed by Camel Trophy competitor Daphne Green, Bell and Franchitti took on the traditional Land Rover event staple. The one with the fewest gates touched got pole position.
From there, it was on to the iconic track, whipping the trucks around the iconic Corkscrew turns -- a left-right combination with a significant elevation drop in between -- handled differently than most Land Rovers handle elevation change! Two laps, standing start, flying finish.
Another video takes place at the Test World ice track in northern Finland, near the Russian border. Here, a 2.8-mile course with 17 slippery turns makes a great winter testing ground. Bell finds himself here paired against Vanina Ickx, daughter of his father's racing competitor Jacky Ickx and a formidable champion racer in her own right. With successes at Le Mans and Dakar, she was right at home in the Range Rover Sport SVR. The winner got the glory...the loser had to "take the plunge." In northern Finland in winter...you can guess what that is!
The last video features France's Les Lacets de Montvernier, or "the shoelaces of Montvernier." A tightly-wound series of 18 hairpin switchbacks, they wind up hundreds of feet to the tiny village of Montvernier, near the Italian border and the Italian Alpine Olympic host city of Torino. The 2.5-mile road took six years to build, opening in 1934. In 2015, the climb was added to the Tour de France, and it featured again in 2018.
Instead of facing another Range Rover Sport SVR, here Bell faces off against something more contextual: a bike. Phil Gaimon is a world champion hill climb cyclist. His steed? A Cannondale Supersix Evo Team Edition. With a carbon fiber frame, disc brakes, a weight of just 15.4 pounds, and an $11,000 price tag, it's the SVR of bicycles.
After Gaimon tortures Bell hauling him up the mountain on a bike, the race is on. But instead of biking up like in the Tour de France, Gaimon rides down while Bell drives the Range Rover uphill with the benefit of 575 wailing horsepower. Whoever crosses their respective finish line first, wins.
These videos are a bit of fun, but they really show the breadth of capability of the Range Rover Sport SVR. The fastest Land Rover ever made, it demonstrates a totally different set of talents from the traditional models. I mean, much as I love them, I don't think a Series Land Rover is really a great vehicle to take to Laguna Seca...
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