The Range Rover Sport, representing the latest advances in all-terrain performance, has been pitted against Britain’s most famous fighter aircraft in a high-speed off-road race. It provided a perfect curtain raiser for this weekend’s Festival of Speed, where the new Range Rover Sport will be making its UK dynamic debut.
The race – the first of its kind at the airfield – involved a straight drag run down and back on the runway, punctuated by a nimble U-turn. It was particularly challenging being conducted on the bumpy grass airfield, notorious for being a low traction surface.
The Vickers Supermarine Spitfire lined up for the contest is a 1945-vintage model, piloted by Matt Jones, above, from the Boultbee Flight Academy. Powered by a 1,750 horsepower V12 Merlin engine, it has a maximum airspeed of 400 mph, and its typical acceleration on take-off
is up to 80 mph before the wheels leave the ground.
Mike Cross, above, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Vehicle Integrity Engineer, was at the wheel of the Range Rover Sport, powered by a 510 horsepower 5.0-litre supercharged V8. Even though grass is one of the most challenging terrains on which to gain traction, Cross still managed to clock a top speed of 130 mph before braking for the mid-race turn! The turn maneuver was helped by the Sport’s new Torque Vectoring technology, which contributes to stable and secure cornering by applying appropriate braking to the inside wheels.
“Land Rover was pleased to take up the challenge. The team couldn’t resist racing such a British icon,” said Cross.
“It’s always difficult to find traction from a standing start on grass, but the Range Rover Sport made a great launch off the line. I was surprised by how bumpy the course was as I accelerated up to 130 mph, and of course the other extreme challenge is to brake in time for the turn-around. The Sport felt composed throughout the whole run.”
To find out whether it was classic or cutting-edge British engineering that won the day, check out the Duel of the Legends video http://fortyonesix.com/news/1117/range-rover-sport-vs-spitfire
For more information about the latest Range Rovers, please visit http://www.landrover.com/us/en/lr/#