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Can a Range Rover be faster than a Ferrari? Well, the obvious answer is 'yes, in a field.' What about a mountain road, though? Well, a Range Rover is faster than a Ferrari if that road is the famous Tianmen Road in China, and the Range Rover in question is the Range Rover Sport SVR with its supercharged 575hp V8 engine.
The previous record for the 99-corner mountain road was 10 minute 31 seconds, set by a Ferrari 458 in 2016. The Sport SVR has just smashed that, in the hands of Jaguar Panasonic Formula-E racing driver Ho-Pin Tung (doubtless enjoying the home advantage, taking 9 minutes 51 seconds to tackle the 11.3km ascent.
The Sport SVR has just been given a round of mild updates, including some extra lightweight materials (amongst which is a naked carbon bonnet option). It'll accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds, and roll on to a top speed of 280km/h. Land Rover's engineers have tweaked the chassis a little as well, altering the damper software to help control pitch under acceleration and braking, and improving both corner turn-in and overall body control.
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 SVR's run comes just a couple of weeks after a plugin hybrid Range Rover made an ascent of the Heaven's Gate rock arch in China. In fact, you could say that, in Chinese terms, Land Rover is currently on the up-and-up...