An SUV is not meant to outperform a supercar, but that’s exactly what happened when the new Range Rover Sport SVR took on a fearsome mountain road in China. Land Rover’s performance SUV, driven by Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Ho-Pin Tung, has smashed the record for negotiating the 99 corners of the famous Tianmen Road.
The standard production Range Rover Sport SVR set a new unofficial record of 9 minutes 51 seconds for the 11.3km ascent at an average speed of 68.8km/h, beating the previous best of 10 minutes 31 seconds – set by a Ferrari 458 Italia supercar in 2016.
With 423kW available from its enhanced V8 supercharged engine, the new Range Rover Sport SVR is the fastest ever Land Rover and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 280km/h. The new performance flagship features bold design revisions and increased use of lightweight materials to enhance performance, handling and agility.
Coupled with changes to the chassis, the new SVR delivers more dynamic responses without compromising traditional Range Rover comfort. The engineers at SVO focused on controlling pitch under heavy acceleration and braking, and changes to the damping hardware have improved turn-in, mid-corner grip and body control.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung said: “I am used to the high speeds of racing but this was even more demanding. 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 and can take you to places a supercar can only dream of.”
The optional exposed carbon fibre bonnet is one of the distinctive innovations introduced by the experts at Special Vehicle Operations and features a pair of large air vents to underline its performance potential. A revised front bumper provides enhanced brake and engine cooling while the 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine produces 700Nm of torque.
Inside, new lightweight SVR Performance seats provide superior support and traditional Range Rover luxury with Windsor leather, an embossed SVR logo and a choice of four colour combinations.
The record-breaking ascent is the latest challenge completed by the Range Rover Sport after the PHEV model made the dizzying climb to the iconic Heaven’s Gate natural rock arch at the road’s summit last month. The PHEV 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.
The Range Rover Sport SVR is priced from $238,200.
Following the production model’s debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Honda Civic Type R has set a new benchmark lap time for front-wheel drive cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. On 3 April 2017, a pre-production car lapped the world-famous circuit in 7 minutes 43.80 seconds.
The lap time was achieved during the final phase of the model’s testing regime, on a dry track with an optimum ambient temperature for the best tyre and powertrain performance. The new time represents an improvement of nearly 7 seconds compared to the model’s predecessor.
The new Civic Type R was part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic’s development programme – the largest in Honda’s history – and was engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment, both on road and on the race track.
Several factors contributed to the new Civic Type R’s new benchmark time at the Nordschleife. At its heart is the optimised and refined 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine, producing 320 PS and 400Nm of torque. New lower gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission further improve the car’s acceleration, while the new Type R‘s comprehensive aerodynamic package delivers outstanding high-speed stability, with a best-in-class balance between lift and drag.
The high-rigidity body frame of the all-new Civic Type R is 16kg lighter than the previous model’s, with a torsional stiffness improvement of 38 per cent, which provides significant benefits to steering response and cornering stability. New multi-link rear suspension enhances stability under braking and reduces the total roll movement of the car, enabling later braking into corners and helping to achieve higher cornering speeds during the lap.
Ryuichi Kijima is the lead chassis engineer for the Honda Civic Type R. He explains where the all-new model shows the most significant improvements around the Nürburgring compared to the previous generation car.
“The cornering speed achieved in the new Type R is higher because the car features a wider track and tyres, a longer wheelbase, new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimised aerodynamics that improves stability, ” said Kijima-san. “For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h. Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10 km/h higher due to the new Type R’s excellent stability. So, with improved cornering performance, we can increase the speed throughout the lap, helping the new Type R to achieve a much quicker lap time.”
The development car that achieved the lap time was technically representative of production specification. A full floating roll cage was installed for safety reasons, but its presence did not provide any additional rigidity to the body frame. The extra weight of the cage was compensated for by the temporary removal of the infotainment system and rear seats. The car was using road legal track-focused tyres.
Production of the new Civic Type R will begin in summer 2017 at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) in Swindon – the global manufacturing hub for the tenth generation Civic hatchback. The Type R will be exported across Europe and to other markets around the world, including Japan and the US. Its arrival in North America will mark the first time that any Honda-badged Type R has been officially sold there.