The name may say “Sport,” and it may be a plug-in hybrid, but it’s still a Range Rover. And that means it’s capable of great things.
For its latest feat, Land Rover took its Range Rover Sport P400e up one of the most challenging roads in the world, and then drove it up a thousand steps to Heaven’s Gate.
The challenge took the hybrid sport-ute up the seven miles of China’s treacherous Tianmen Mountain Road, also known as the Dragon Road. And when it reached the top, it climbed up 999 steps at a 45-degree angle – as vertical as it is horizontal – to the legendary natural rock formation.
To handle the wheel, Land Rover called up Ho-Pin Tung, one of the drivers for sister-brand Jaguar’s Formula E racing team. “I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Tung, who tested for the Renault F1 team in 2009 and took the LMP2 class victory at Le Mans last year, “but this was without doubt one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced. The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly as it inspired real confidence on the mountain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate effortlessly.”
It’s the latest in a string of accomplishments for the RR Sport PHEV, which has previously tackled Pikes Peak, the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, and the infamous Inferno downhill course in Switzerland.
“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,” said Land Rover’s Phil Jones. “By making it to the summit, we’ve proven the phenomenal capability of the Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid like never before – with a genuine world first.”