WATCH: Range Rover Sport PHEV Climbs Up 999 Steps to Heaven’s Gate
A dizzying 99 turns and 999 daunting steps didn’t stop the new Range Rover Sport PHEV from completing a world-first at one of China’s most famous landmarks. The petrol-electric performance SUV has become the first vehicle to climb the stairs to the natural rock arch of Heaven’s Gate.
The challenge began at the bottom of the legendary 11.3-kilometer Tianmen Mountain Road (also known as the Dragon Road). The showroom standard Range Rover Sport P400e took on the demanding course, with Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung behind the wheel and the Terrain Response 2 system in Dynamic mode.
At the summit of the road, the Formula E driver optimized Terrain Response for the second part of the challenge, conquering the towering 45-degree staircase of 999 steps leading to China’s legendary Heaven’s Gate using a combination of Ingenium petrol and electric battery power. All in all, it took Tung 22 minutes and 41 seconds to cover the 99 turns and 999 steps of the Dragon Challenge.
“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,” said Tung after the stunt. “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.”
The new PHEV powertrain gives the Range Rover Sport a zero-emission EV range of up to 50 kilometers when fully charged but Ho-Pin Tung used its advanced 296 hp Ingenium petrol engine and 114 hp electric motor to make short work of the road section of the challenge. The performance SUV then showed its uncompromised all-terrain credentials by climbing the steep staircase to the natural rock arch.