Land Rover Ambassador and polar explorer, Ben Saunders, swapped his snowshoes for winter tyres to put the Range Rover Sport SVR through its paces at a unique yet familiar test track near the Arctic Circle.
A new film released by Land Rover charts the world famous adventurer’s journey from ice driving novice to experienced veteran in Arjeplog, Sweden, on a full-scale replica of the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit carved in the snow on Lake Udjaur.
With instruction from Land Rover Experience instructor and former rally champion, Finland’s Minna Sillankorva, Ben tackles the unique challenge of driving on ice behind the wheel of Land Rover’s performance flagship, the 550PS Range Rover Sport, complete with its thrilling V8 soundtrack.
Range Rover Sport SVR is the fastest and most powerful Land Rover to date, capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in just 4.5 seconds. It is the first model to wear the SVR designation which will be adopted by future Land Rover and Jaguar high performance models.
Ben Saunders, who has led expeditions to both the North and South Poles, said: “Obviously, I had an amazing day. It was my first time driving on ice and the most fun I’ve had on four-wheels. The performance of the Range Rover Sport SVR is simply breathtaking and its poise in the corners was astounding given the slippery conditions.”
Ben’s experience was aided by a sophisticated suite of features to enhance all-terrain performance, including the latest generation of Land Rover’s advanced Terrain Response®2 system, which automatically tailors a range of vehicle settings to suit the conditions. In addition, permanent four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case, and a 50/50 percent torque split front-to-rear delivers Land Rover’s trademark capability.
Furthermore, optimum traction is maintained with the aid of an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the centre differential, this distributes torque between the front and rear axles – up to 100 percent can be channelled to either axle in extreme conditions, and the Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential ensures torque is transferred to the rear wheel with most traction, increasing agility.
Another system working to help Ben was Land Rover’s Torque Vectoring by Braking system uses the SVR’s brakes to imitate the effect of a torque-vectoring differential, constantly balancing the distribution of engine torque between all four wheels during cornering, for improved grip and steering responses, to reduce understeer.
This system monitors the vehicle via the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) module. As it accelerates through a corner, the system uses yaw sensors to detect the onset of understeer. Imperceptible levels of braking are then used to correct the path of the vehicle, while engine torque is transferred to the outside wheels, to maintain traction and steering control.
Mike Cross, Chief Engineer Vehicle Integrity, said: “We pride ourselves on the all-terrain capability and composure of our vehicles, putting them through intensive hot and cold climate testing. The Range Rover Sport SVR is the most dynamic model we’ve ever produced and combining these qualities showcases the unique talents and expertise of our dedicated engineers.”