The Range Rover Sport has just completed the Dragon Challenge, climbing up to the arch of Heaven’s Gate, one of China’s most famous landmarks. The Range Rover Sport is the first vehicle in history to accomplish such a feat, covering nearly a thousand steps after it started at the bottom of the seven-mile Tianmen Mountain Road, also known as the Dragon Road.
“This was the hardest Range Rover Sport challenge I’ve ever been involved with because, until we reached the top, we couldn’t categorically say we would succeed,” explained Phil Jones, Land Rover Experience Expert.
Stairway to Heaven
The Range Rover Sport was fitted with special, reinforced tires for Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung, who piloted the SUV for the endeavor. The Range Rover Sport was equipped with the Terrain Response system and placed in “Dynamic” mode. At the summit of the road, Ho-Pin Tung optimized the Terrain Response system for the second part of the challenge, allowing him to climb the 45-degree staircase consisting of 99 turns and 999 steps, ultimately leading him to Heaven’s Gate.
“I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1, and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was without doubt one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced,” he said.
“By making it to the summit, we’ve proven the phenomenal capability of the Range Rover Sport like never before – with a genuine world first,” Jones added.
The Dragon Challenge is the latest in a series of events completed by the Range Rover Sport, which received a host of technology and design updates for 2018. The vehicle made its debut in a race against two-time open-water swimming world champion Keri-anne Payne and endurance athlete Ross Edgley in Devon, UK. Previous accomplishments include a record-setting hill-climb at Pikes Peak, a record-crossing of the “Empty Quarter” desert in the Arabian Peninsula, and a 7,119 foot descent of the Inferno downhill course in Mürren, Switzerland.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.