Land Rover’s latest 2017 Range Rover Sport has managed to conquer the fearsome Alpine ski course at 96 miles per hour with 75 per cent gradients and a 2,170 metre descent.
With this achievement, the 2017 Range Rover Sport becomes the first production vehicle to have attempted and conquered the ski run. The all-terrain super-SUV was piloted by renowned race and stunt driver Ben Collins who took the new Range Rover sport through the treacherous terrain on the 14.9km downhill route at Mürren in Switzerland, completing it in 21 minutes and 36 seconds. Collins reached speeds of 75mph (120kmh) while tackling ice and sleet, and 96mph (155kmh) while driving through fog and wet grass at the bottom.
The Range Rover Sport followed the route used by skiers on the tough Inferno Mürren, which is one of the oldest and most challenging downhill races. The all-terrain SUV tackled snow, ice, loose rock, mud, broken asphalt, grass and gravel using Land Rover’s pioneering Terrain Response technology.
Land Rover’s Terrain Response technology features six modes that will adapt the vehicle’s settings to the appropriate surface. For example, in Dynamic mode the Anti-Roll Bar is stiffened to reduce body roll, the Grass/Gravel/Snow mode reduces under and over steer by engine braking, while in Mud and Ruts, the rear differential is locked to allow controlled wheel slip for better traction.
When the new Range Rover Sport was descending, it tackled perilous gradients of up to 75 per cent, which is steeper than many black runs at famous ski resorts such as Chamonix – in freezing temperatures. Land Rover says that this was possible thanks to the 510PS 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine, which comes as standard in the production variant. To ensure safety of the driver, the Range Rover Sport that was used for the ski route was outfitted with essential safety additions of a roll cage and reinforced tyres.
For those who are unaware about the Inferno Race, it was created in January 1928, when 17 members of the Kandahar Ski Club climbed the 2,970 metres high Schilthorn above Murren and raced down to Lauterbrunnen, over 2,100 vertical metres below. Today it is the largest amateur skiing race in the world. It is contested annually by more than 1,800 competitors from over 20 countries – with participation limited to about half the skiers who would like to participate. The course covers 14.9 kilometres of contrasting terrain and topography, and is open to the skiing public at other times of the year.