20 APRIL 2015
    • The most powerful Land Rover ever set the Nürburgring SUV lap record last year. Mike Cross, our chief engineer of vehicle integrity, explains how.

      8 Minutes, 14 Seconds. 20.83km. Senior Land Rover engineer Mike Cross explains how forward-thinking technology, design and sheer power helped the Range Rover Sport SVR deliver a record-breaking lap time around the Nürburgring last year.

      The Range Rover Sport SVR is, at 550 horsepower, the most powerful Land Rover we’ve ever made. It’s also, by some margin, the fastest, both in a straight line and around a racing circuit. Like all new Land Rovers, it had an extensive development programme before launch that included on- and off-road testing. That also included time at our dedicated Nürburgring Test Centre, where we test many Land Rover vehicles.

      The Nürburgring is a great place to take high-performance cars. You test all the key requirements for a fast car: top speed, acceleration, road holding, handling and brakes. The circuit they call ‘The Green Hell’ is one of the best places for performance, development and endurance testing. It is 20.83 km long and has over 70 corners, plus seemingly endless undulations and blind fast bends.


      When we first took the SVR to the Nürburgring, it was fast. Very fast. A lap time at this circuit has become an unofficial standard among car manufacturers and enthusiasts. After first seeing the speed and performance of the SVR, a lap record attempt for a production SUV just seemed an obvious goal. In the end, we broke the record. In fact, eight minutes, 14 seconds for a lap of the Nürburgring was not just the fastest ever time for a production SUV, it’s also faster than many well-respected high-performance cars have managed.

      I can also guarantee that no other car that can produce this sort of lap time can do what a Land Rover can do off-road. It’s fast, agile and precise to drive while retaining traditional Land Rover all-round capability. And, believe me, it’s a really exhilarating, fun car to drive on the road.

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      The Range Rover Sport SVR underwent a rigorous test and development programme

      So, how did it all come about? Well, I’ve spent my career developing cars at Jaguar. I’ve also been involved in the development of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and what became obvious is that the normal Range Rover Sport supercharged variant has much of the hardware you need to create an even faster car. It has active anti-roll bars, torque vectoring by braking, adaptive suspension and active differentials – all the fundamentals for a really fast car. What’s more, it has a light and stiff aluminium body structure, the perfect platform for a high-performance car. Then Special Operations gave us access to the 550 horsepower V8 supercharged engine. We also tweaked the settings on the Range Rover Sport Supercharged, added bespoke wheels and tyres, modified the seats and added an active exhaust that gives a more exciting engine note. The results, in the Range Rover Sport SVR, have been spectacular.

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    20 APRIL 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.