Ahead of its public reveal later this year, Defender made its UK dynamic debut at the world-renowned Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The camouflaged prototype model kicked off this year’s event, and tackled the course each day of the festival in the First Glance batch, building excitement among crowds who were eager to catch a glimpse of the modern-day version of Land Rover’s most enduring model.
Defender has a rich and extended history, propelling Land Rover to international recognition when Series I was debuted back in 1948. More than seven decades later, and three years since Land Rover formerly ceased production of the off-road icon, we are launching Defender, a 4x4 which promises to bring an unparalleled breadth of capability and new levels of comfort and driveability to the Defender family.
Officially opening the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Defender prototype was the first vehicle up the iconic Hillclimb, driven by none other than the 11th Duke of Richmond himself, who seized the chance to get behind the wheel of the new model.
He said: “Few vehicles in the world can claim to be an icon but that’s the only way to describe the Land Rover Defender. It’s extremely close to my heart and a vehicle that I’ve had a close connection with over the decades, so to be able to open this year’s Festival of Speed by driving it up the Hill was a real privilege.”
- Defender striding up the Hillclimb
- The 11th Duke of Richmond officially opened the festival by taking Defender up the Hillclimb.
“It’s a vehicle that I’ve had a close connection with over the decades, so to be able to open this year’s Festival of Speed by driving it up the Hill was a real privilege.”Staged every summer since 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is billed as the world’s largest automotive garden party, with 600 cars and motorcycles spanning the history of motor and motor sport taking part.
Cutting through the picturesque grounds is a 1.16 mile track, featuring six turns, a 136-metre elevation change and an average gradient of 4.1% and as Defender accelerated up the hill, the distinctive silhouette was easily identifiable, even with the camouflage cover.
The man responsible for the driving characteristics of the vehicle is Land Rover Chief Engineer, Mike Cross, who expressed real excitement at taking Defender for its first public UK drive at Goodwood.
He said: “The new Defender will redefine breadth of capability for the 21st Century, combining unrivalled off-road ability with assured and engaging on-road dynamics. I am really excited to be putting it to the test on the Hill.”
Continuing the most demanding test regime of any pre-production Land Rover to date, Defender is in the final stages of its global engineering development programme.
Continuing the most demanding test regime of any pre-production Land Rover to date, Defender is in the final stages of its global engineering development programme.In early June it moved a step closer to production after successfully completing a testing program with Tusk Trust in Laikipia, northern Kenya, in support of their lion conservation initiatives.
A Defender prototype fresh from its final phases of field testing in Kenya. It features a camouflagespecially devised to suit its surroundings.Scouring the harsh territory of the 14,000-hectare Borana Conservancy, the Defender prototype was fitted with an integrated raised air intake and forded rivers and pulled heavily loaded trailers across deeply rutted tracks, steep rocky inclines, muddy river banks and thick forests. This was all in support of Tusk’s conservation work which involves tracking radio-collared lions and transporting supplies.
Charles Mayhew MBE, Tusk’s Chief Executive, said that the Defender prototype negotiated the challenging terrain with ease: “Fortunately, within the Borana Conservancy, there are a number of prides of lion and tracking and monitoring their movements across this vast and tough environment is vital in order to protect them and reduce any conflict with neighbouring communities. The new Defender took everything in its stride, from deep river wading to climbing rocky trails.”
The reserve is home to some of the most vulnerable species in the world with elephants, black rhinoceros, African wild dogs and Grevy’s zebras sharing the reserve alongside lions and other large predators.
- Defender off-roading.
- Defender has undergone field testing across the world*.
Defender will make its world premiere later this year but you can register your interest early here.
EVERYTHING TO KNOW ABOUT DEFENDER SO FAR
• Defender has driven 1,200,000 km in testing to date, in addition to the extensive simulation and rig testing.
• By the time Defender makes its public debut, it will have passed more than 45,000 individual tests in some of the most extreme environments on earth.
• Land Rover engineers have taken the test fleet to the 50-degree heat of the desert, the sub 40-degree cold of the Arctic as well as up to 10,000 ft altitude of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to ensure Defender will take even the grandest of adventures in its stride.
• The on-road dynamics of Defender have been honed at the Nürburgring facility in Germany and all-terrain credentials tested on the muddy tracks of Eastnor, UK and the rocky trails of Moab in Utah.
• The competitors of the upcoming Invictus Games, The Hague, will be among the first people in the world to drive Defender when they tackle the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge for the opening medals of the Games in May 2020.
WATCH: Our Tusk partners tell us their experiences of Defender while conducting conservation work
in Laikipia, Kenya.*Off-road sequences conducted on private land with full permissions. Always check route and exit before wading in your vehicle.
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