There is a mountain road called the Dragon Road in Hunan Province, China leading to Tianmen Mountain or Heaven’s Gate. The legendary 11.3 km route consists of 99 turns and a towering 999-step stairway at a 45-degree incline so needless to say, getting there is no walk in the park.
Land Rover embarked on a challenge to arrive atop the Heaven’s Gate in their latest Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV – yes, the 999-step stairs included. With 24 Hours Le Mans winner, Ho-Pin Tung behind the wheel of a stock standard P400e, the world’s first-ever Dragon Road Challenge was underway:
The SUV is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine and an electric motor that gives a combined output of 398 hp and 640 Nm of torque. The PHEV is capable of completing the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 6.7 seconds and has a top speed of 220 km/h. The P400e is capable of pure electric commute of up to 51 km.
Tung said, “I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was without a 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.”
Other than the optional off-road tyres equipped on the car, the challenge demonstrated the P400e’s Terrain Response 2 system to offer superior performance on-road and off-road. On the hill climb, Tung had the car set into Dynamic Mode, giving it sharper throttle response and maximum body control to carve through the 99 corners.
Rock Crawl Mode was used when ascending the stairway and here the PHEV’s ability to deliver instant torque from zero rpm proved to be a key to the success of the 45-degree incline climb.
Land Rover Experience expert, Phil Jones added, “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 plug-in hybrid like never before – with a genuine world first.”
Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV Dragon Challenge
Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV