You’ve seen the Range Rover Sport complete the Dragon Challenge on TV, but did this Land Rover model actually do that? Yes, it did. PKW Motorwerks services and maintains Land Rover vehicles because they are amazing pieces of machinery. Let’s have a little fun and talk about the Dragon Challenge and what the Range Rover Sport actually endured to complete it successfully.
Even Land Rover Was Skeptical
Before Land Rover, no other vehicle manufacturer had attempted the Dragon Challenge and the European automobile manufacturer was skeptical. The Dragon Challenge would push the Range Rover Sport to heights it hadn’t previously seen. In fact, Land Rover’s UK test facility couldn’t mimic all of the Dragon Challenge’s aspects, which left Phil Jones of Land Rover with the sense they might fail. He is quoted on Land Rover’s website as saying, “I can’t categorically say that we will succeed.”
What They Faced
We should actually say what Ho-Pin Tung faced because he was the driver behind the Range Rover’s wheel during the Dragon Challenge. Prior to this drive, Tung won the Le Mans 24-Hour Challenge in a Jaguar Formula E Racer. This professional racer has no problem facing challenges head on, but the Dragon Challenge is particularly dangerous. Tung had to navigate the Range Rover
- Up 7.02 miles of treacherous mountainside road
- Around 99 hairpin turns
- Up 999 steps to Heaven’s Gate
Let’s break this down a little further for greater perspective. According to driving experts, Tung could not make a single error during the Dragon Challenge; there simply isn’t room for mistakes. Yes, previous drivers had tackled the mountainside road portion of the challenge, but no one had ever attempted the 999 steps, which sit at a 45-degree angle. You’ve seen how steep they are on the commercial.
The Man and His Machine
Land Rover knew just any old vehicle wouldn’t do. The Range Rover Sport used for the challenge is its new plug-in hybrid, designed to tackle sport driving with ease. To complete Tianmen Mountain Road, the 7-mile mountainside road, the Range Rover Sport combined a 404-horsepower engine for power with a Terrain Response 2 system to help Tung safely complete the 99 hairpin turns.
Next, came the stairs to Heaven’s Gate. Here, Tung switched the Range Rover into Mud and Ruts mode, which increased the torque produced by the 404-horsepower hybrid engine and put the wheels into 4 x 4 mode. The Range Rover used both gas and electricity to power up the 999 steps and, much to the delight of the driver and the Land Rover team, completed the trek to Heaven’s Gate.
The entire challenge took Tung almost 23 minutes to complete, and while you probably won’t drive Dragon’s Challenge, we can keep your Land Rover in tiptop shape. We are PKW Motorwerks in Plainfield, IL, and you can call us at 630-381-8834 for all your Land Rover service needs.