This month’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb promises to be another record breaking year as manufacturers pour back to the event with star drivers like IndyCar race winner Simon Pagenaud and former World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb, but before the 91st running of the “Race to the Clouds” begins on 30th June 2013, records have already fallen.
The new Range Rover Sport has broken the record for the fastest production SUV to ascend the Pike Peak Hill Climb course. American driver Paul Dallenbach took the 5.0 litre V8 machine up the twists and turns of the course in 12 minutes and 35 seconds. That’s an average speed of 59mph for the 156 corners that lead 4,300 metres into the sky.
The Range Rover Dallenbach used was modified with a roll-cage and racing harnesses for his safety but no alterations were made to the car’s engine or chassis, so the three-time Pikes Peak winner had 503bhp at his disposal and Range Rover’s new ‘lightweight’ aluminium platform underneath him. The SUV’s automatic terrain response system must have aided the record setting run but the majority of the car’s performance came from the reengineered chassis, which still weighs 2.1 tonnes in its lightest form.
Dallenbach explained the challenges he and the Range Rover faced, “There’s no margin for error at Pikes Peak – you only need to misjudge one of those 156 turns and you’re into the trees or over the edge of the mountain. To take on this place the way I did today, you need complete confidence in your vehicle.”
The new machine goes on sale this year priced from £51,500. Whether you’re planning on taking the Range Rover Sport up any hills or just to the supermarket, it’s clear that the latest incarnation of the sportiest SUV on the planet has a lot to offer.