Off-road performance vehicle specialist Bowler Motors has unveiled the Land Rover Defender Challenge rally car. Developed alongside Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), the rally ready Landy is set to compete in its own championship, billed the Bowler Defender Challenge, come 2022.
Said Michael van der Sande, managing director, JLR SVO, “The development of the new Bowler Defender Challenge rally car perfectly illustrates the mutual benefits of Bowler joining JLR SVO. Our technical support married to Bowler’s legendary rally expertise has turned the extraordinarily capable Defender into a purposeful competition machine. The Bowler Defender Challenge will prove the Defender’s durability through some of the toughest conditions, while providing an exciting and accessible entry point into all-terrain motorsport for a new generation of Bowler and Land Rover customers.”
Based on the Land Rover Defender 90, the Bowler Defender Challenge is endowed with the Coventry carmaker’s 2,0-litre Ingenium petrol engine. The turbocharged four-cylinder motor produces 221 kW and 650 N.m of torque. Although the powerplant remains unchanged from the donor car’s unit, the Defender Challenger has received myriad external and internal modifications.
Setting this modified version of the new Land Rover Defender apart from the standard model, the Defender Challenger is equipped with, among others, an updated front grille for increased air flow and a revised front bumper to incorporate revised new underbody protection. In addition, the Defender Challenger’s front and rear subframes have been modified and given additional bracing for a bespoke performance-orientated suspension setup. Developed in collaboration with Fox, the updated suspension raised ground clearance by 25 mm. The Defender Challenger rides on 18-inch rally-spec wheels.
Packages for the 2022 Challenge will start at £99 500, approximately R2,2 million at the current exchange rate, and include a Bowler-prepared Defender Challenge car, entry into the 2022 series and event support. Additional options include training, series logistics and vehicle support.