1. WORDS
    OLAOLU OLRUNNIMBE
    PUBLISHED ONLINE
    31 JULY 2015
    • The Range Rover Sport SVR is seriously quick.

      Our fastest model ever, the SVR can do 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds – about the time it takes to draw a deep breath – and proved its raw power with a then record-breaking lap around Germany’s Nürburgring last year.

      But what does it feel like to be behind the wheel when you’re really pushing the SVR’s performance and handling to the limit? Car enthusiast and sometime-racer Simon Mawdsley knows. Now in his fourth year as a Vehicle Integrity Engineer at Land Rover, the 38-year-old had his foot on the SVR’s accelerator up the famous 1.16-mile Hill Climb at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015.

      We caught up with Simon just before one of his Friday runs at the course. For a man about to drive uphill at top speeds in front of thousands of people, Mawdsley appeared remarkably relaxed. He spoke with an infectious enthusiasm about his work, the thrill of driving the SVR, and how to get up the Hill Climb course unscathed.

      Left
      Right
      The Range Rover Sport SVR drew in the spectators at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015

      WHAT DO YOU DO AT LAND ROVER?

      My role is Vehicle Integrity Engineer, which is part of a team headed up by [Jaguar Land Rover Chief Engineer] Mike Cross. We develop the car all the way from deciding the character of the vehicle to developing prototypes and testing them; there’s a lot of driving involved in the job. It’s really satisfying when you see it all the way through, from early concepts to the customers enjoying a model on the road, and there being good press reports about it.

      HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN CARS AND RACING?

      My first word was car! I’ve always loved cars. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was drive a car, so I got my licence and drove. Then I wanted to drive fast, and went racing.

      “You’re in an SUV, sitting higher than a sports car, but you’re going quicker than most sports cars.”

      HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE HILL CLIMB? IS IT NERVE-WRACKING?

      Before the run, I just try to visualise what I’m going to do. When I went up the course earlier today, I knew I was going to have it in sport mode, use the paddles, dynamic mode and engage Active Exhaust mode [the SVR’s Active Exhaust setting optimises sound quality, performance and aesthetics, for a race-car inspired soundtrack]. I knew I was going to accelerate, get to third gear, then shift down for the first corner and make it round there. If you’re nervous, you’re nervous before the start. As soon as you go, you’re not nervous at all. You’re just driving the car, doing what you do.

    • WHAT’S THE TOUGHEST PART OF THE HILL CLIMB COURSE?

      The trickiest part of the Hill Climb is Molecomb corner. You approach it at a high speed. There’s a little bend in the road, there’s a crest, and then a fast left-hander. If you wait until you can see the crest – which is when you can see the corner – before you brake, it’s too late. You have to make sure before you get to the crest, you’re already braking.

      WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO DRIVE THE RANGE ROVER SPORT SVR?

      It’s just great. The acceleration off the start line is immense. It’s 4-wheel drive and it’s powerful, and it just launches off without a hint of wheel spin – it just goes. It feels odd to be in a car like this and going so fast. You’re in an SUV, sitting higher than a sports car, but you’re going quicker than most sports cars. You’ve got the noise and the drama – it’s almost surreal. It’s an SUV, but it’s more fun to drive than most sports cars. It shouldn’t be so much fun to drive; driving it puts a smile on my face.

      “It’s 4-wheel drive so it’s powerful, and it just launches off without a hint of wheel spin – it just goes”

  2. WORDS
    OLAOLU OLRUNNIMBE
    PUBLISHED ONLINE
    31 JULY 2015

Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Registered office: Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry CV3 4LF. Registered in England No: 1672070

The figures provided are as a result of official manufacturer's tests in accordance with EU legislation. A vehicle's actual fuel consumption may differ from that achieved in such tests and these figures are for comparative purposes only.