Range Rover Sport PHEV completes scary 45-degree 999 step Dragon Challenge in China

Range Rover Sport PHEV climbed a 45-degree, 999-step staircase in a world-first Dragon Road challenge. The plug-in hybrid SUV completed the incredible challenge at one of China’s most famous landmarks, Heaven’s Gate.

Heaven’s Gate is a natural rock arch located in the Tianmen Mountain in the Hunan Province of China. The Dragon Challenge comprised of the dizzying 99 turns and 999 steep 45-degree steps that lead up to the famous landmark. Range Rover’s new hybrid SUV became the first vehicle to ever climb to the top of the stairs of the natural rock arch.

The challenge began at the bottom of the legendary 11.3km Tianmen Mountain Road (known as the Dragon Road). Behind the wheel of the P400e was Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung. When Ho-Pin Tung was tackling the stair-climb prtion of the challenge the car’s Terrain Response 2 system was set to Dynamic mode.

Dynamic Mode sharpens throttle response, changes gears at high revs, and engages dampeners to help the car feel planted. Powering the new hybrid Range Rover Sport is a 300PS Ingenium petrol engine and 116PS electric motor. Together they produce 404bhp and 500Nm of torque which helped to propel the car to the top of the steps.

Ho-Pin Tung said: “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.” In full-EV mode the car can drive for 31 miles completely zero emissions.

Phil Jones, Land Rover Experience expert, said: “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.”