Rally ready: The Land Rover Bowler Defender Challenge

Land Rover Bowler Defender Challenge

Bowler Motors revealed the Land Rover Defender rally car that will compete in its own championship in 2022. The Bowler Defender Challenge will run over seven UK-based rounds using competition-prepared Defender 90s.

Bowler, founded in 1985 and based in Belper, Derbyshire, is a producer of off-road competition cars in the UK. It has competed in rally raid events, and participated in the Dakar Rally, British Hill Climb Championship, and French Baja. 

The Bowler Defender Challenge is based on the Defender 90 with a 295hp Ingenium 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine. Bowler then fitted the 90 with a full roll cage, modified underbody, raised suspension, rally-spec 18-inch wheels, and column-mounted paddle shifters.

With a short wheelbase, Defender 90 proved to be the perfect starting point for the Bowler conversion, Land Rover said. 

Land Rover Bowler Defender Challenge

Each Bowler Defender's roll cage is an FIA-standard one, which sits atop the front and rear subframes with additional bracing. The bracing is was made to handle a bespoke performance suspension set-up. Designed in collaboration with Fox, it increases the ride height by 25 millimeters. 

Bowler’s engineers have installed a suite of electronic components, from fire protection, electrical cut-off switches, to additional lighting and vehicle control systems, all fully integrated into the existing electrical architecture.

Land Rover Bowler Defender Challenge

Competition race seats are installed and the gear selector is repositioned for the optimal racing position. Bowler-developed column-mounted paddle shifts complete the transition. 

Land Rover Bowler Defender Challenge

Aside from the roll cage, Bowler stiffened the Defender's bodyshell to cope with the extreme conditions of off-road competition.

The standard doors are trimmed to remove the sill covering section, which allows the fitment of full-length, side-to-side underbody protection panels. A modified front end increases airflow to the cooling system and houses additional race-level lighting, while a new roof spoiler houses additional rear lighting.

Land Rover Bowler Defender Challenge

The rally SUV will make its public debut at the 400-kilometer stage of the Iceland Hill Rally, which will commence on August 6 to 8. 

Offered at £99,500 (around P6.9 million), the Bowler Defender Challenge will include an entry into the challenge's 2022 series and event support.

For those with limited or no rally experience, Bowler can offer training and support to gain the necessary license before moving directly to the series.

The Challenge has been an ideal platform on which to gain motorsport know-how before joining other Bowlers and competing in rally-raid events across the globe, Land Rover said. 

Land Rover Bowler Defender Challenge"The Defender Challenge will prove the (SUV’s) durability through some of the toughest conditions, while providing an exciting and accessible entry point into all-terrain motorsport for a new generation of Bowler and Land Rover customers," Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicles Operations Managing Director Michael Van Der Sande concluded. 

Photos from Land Rover

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