The Range Rover Sport established the record for a production-standard SUV and broke the record for any kind of production-standard vehicle on the Pikes Pike International Hill Climb course, venue of the spectacular annual competition known as ‘The Race To the Clouds’.
The Range Rover Sport completed the 12.42-mile asphalt course in 12 minutes 35.61 seconds – an average speed of 59.17mph on a snaking road that clings to the edge of the mountain with precipitous drops on one side and unyielding rock faces on the other. The record was independently timed and sanctioned by PPIHC (Pikes Peak International Hill Climb), organisers of the annual competition at the Colorado venue.
The Pikes Peak course goes through 156 corners as it ascends beyond the treeline from 2860m above sea level to 4300m. At that altitude the air contains only 58% of the oxygen it does at sea level, diminishing engine performance and blunting human physical and mental performance.
The new record was set by a Range Rover Sport with a 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8 engine, the vehicle altered from production specification only in the fitment of a roll cage and harness seatbelts to meet racing safety requirements.
The Range Rover Sport was driven on the record run, by American competition and stunt driver Paul Dallenbach. Best known as a Pikes Peak specialist, Dallenbach, 45 years old, from Basalt in Colorado, has won his division at the Hill Climb six times and won the event outright three times.
The Pikes Peak record run is the first of a series of global driving challenges to be taken-on by the all-new Range Rover Sport, pushing the vehicle to new limits in a series of the most punishing drives to be found on earth.