With a time of 9:51, the 423kW V8-powered Range Rover Sport SVR has set a new record for a run up the Tongtian Road in China.
Carved into the side of Tianmen Mountain, the road (sometimes named for the mountain it’s on) consists of 99 corners over 11.3km, and is dotted with dangerous drop-offs and blind bends.
The previous record was held by a Ferrari 458 Italia piloted by Fabio Barone, head of the Ferrari Club Passione Rossa. He recorded a time of 10.31.
But, while the new record is impressive and the Sport SVR very quick for an SUV, we feel this record comes down to the driver.
Range Rover Sport SVR sets Nürburgring record
At the wheel of the supercharged Ranger Rover was Ho-Pin Tung, Panasonic Jaguar Racing reserve and Le Mans LMP2 winner (coming 2nd overall) in 2017 with Jackie Chan DC Racing.
It’s not that we don’t think the president of a large Ferrari club could steer a Ferrari up a mountain, it was his own car, after all. But he hasn’t won Le Mans.
We’d be interested to see what happened if Tung was handed the keys to a 458 Italia and given the same level of resources as were available with the Range Rover run.
Even then, 40 seconds is a lot to shave off a long mountain run. And the SVR will do the sprint to 100km/h in just 4.5s. The Italia is claimed (by Ferrari) to be good for 100km/h in under 3.4s.
Of the SVR, Tung says it was actually quite capable, for an SUV, considering the nature of the road.
“Maintaining concentration was the biggest challenge as the road twists and turns constantly, with huge drop-offs to the side.
“The consequences of getting it wrong would have been really serious so I focused on establishing a rhythm and the Range Rover Sport SVR made this easy – it may be an SUV but it has the performance and agility of a supercar.”