The 2014 Defender Challenge, a one-make rally series operated by Bowler Motorsport, is designed to provide a controlled and cost effective route for entrants to sample different rally disciplines, and ultimately prepare them for rally raid competitions such as the Dakar and the Africa Race. The Defender Challenge is managed by Bowler Motorsport, supported by Land Rover and regulated by the MSA.
The Defender Challenge will cater for experienced competition drivers (both off-road and circuit), and those with no prior competition experience. For the latter, the series will offer a complete solution in terms of gaining a competition license, training, development, and competition experience.
The Challenge will see competition-prepared Land Rover Defenders being used in a seven round rally series taking place across the UK. All competitors will drive a brand new Bowler prepared Defender 90 that has been modified for safety, performance and durability, and is compliant with FIA T2 regulations, and each event will be supported by the Bowler Works team and will have a dedicated service and hospitality area.
The modified Defender 90 Hard Top utilises the factory-standard 2.2 litre diesel engine which has been uprated to 170 BHP by Bowler Motorsport. All Defender Challenge cars will run the standard 6 speed manual gearbox, controlled Kuhmo tyres and full MSA-approved roll cage and fire extinguisher system. Further aiding the accessibility of the series, all cars will remain road-legal and can be driven to events if required.
The UK series will comprise of seven rounds which mix hill rallies and stage rallies, and which are spread across the UK throughout the year. Entrants will also have the option of competing in rallies in Europe and North Africa alongside the Bowler Works team.
Additionally, the Defender Challenge will provide a training and test day in February, as well as the option to compete in desert events in North Africa and the Middle East.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director said: “Land Rover is delighted to be supporting Bowler with the Defender Challenge in what is the next step in our long-term strategic partnership.
“The Defender Challenge by Bowler rally series will push the iconic Defender’s breadth of capability beyond established boundaries – it is the ideal accessible platform to provide customers with an entry-level rally series and for those who are considering entering world-stage rally-raids such as the Dakar.”
Drew Bowler, Managing Director, Bowler Motorsport said: “Rally customers coming to Bowler have changed - they're not all experienced racers, but people looking for excitement and adventure, and an achievable path towards world-class events.
“We're delighted to be offering this path in partnership with Land Rover and the MSA, and believe the format offers a new way to experience different rally disciplines in the UK and overseas, and prepare entrants for the rigours and realities of Rally Raid. We've really enjoyed developing the Defender Challenge car - it'll be a really fun championship.
Xavier Gavory, Head of Competitors department – Sporting Coordinator for the ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation), the governing body for the annual Dakar rally said: “One of the major obstacles for people from the UK wishing to enter the Dakar has always been obtaining the necessary competition experience and a race licence. With the Defender Challenge by Bowler, there is at last a turnkey solution to that problem.
“Thanks to Bowler’s huge experience of competing on the Dakar and their widely recognised professionalism, we are confident we will be welcoming the first graduates of the Defender Challenge on our rally in the very near future.”
The Defender Challenge car will retail at £50,000 plus VAT and be supplied exclusively through Bowler Motorsport. Entry into the Defender Challenge will range between £10,000 and £14,000 depending on package selected.
To enter the Defender Challenge or speak to a member of the team click here or call 01773 550074.