VIDEO: Range Rover Sport PHEV Is First SUV To Climb Heaven's Gate
Range Rover Sport Electric Hybrid PHEV Climbs to Heaven's Gate Atop Dragon Road
This week Range Rover set yet another record with their PHEV Sport Hybrid. The Range Rover Sport P400e expertly summited the legendary 7-mile Tianmen Mountain Road in China. Also known as the Dragon Road, Tianmen Mountain Road is considered one of the world’s most challenging driving roads. Atop the road sits Heaven’s Gate natural rock arch, one of China’s most famous landmarks. After climbing the Dragon Road, the Range Rover Sport PHEV set a record as the world’s first automobile to climb the 999-step, 45-degree staircase leading to Heaven’s Gate arch, showcasing its skill as both an on-road performance vehicle and an off-road–capable SUV.
Piloted by Le Mans class-winner and Panasonic Jaguar Racing reserve and test driver Ho-Pin Tung, the P400e Range Rover Sport model combines Ingenium petrol power with battery technology for supreme efficiency and performance, plus zero-emissions capability. Tung used the Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system in Dynamic mode to handle the 99 tight curves that make the Dragon Road famous. Then Tung, a Formula E driver, optimized the Terrain Response mode before conquering the staircase leading to Heaven’s Gate, using a combination of the gasoline-powered Ingenium engine and electric battery power.
“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. The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly as it inspired real confidence on the mountain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate effortlessly,” said Tung. “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. By making it to the summit, we’ve proven the phenomenal capability of the Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid like never before—with a genuine world first.”
The Dragon Challenge is the latest in a series of adventures completed by the Range Rover Sport after the PHEV model 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 exploits include a record-setting hillclimb at Pikes Peak, USA, a record crossing of the Empty Quarter desert in the Arabian Peninsula, and a 2,170m descent of the legendary Inferno downhill course in Mürren, Switzerland.