In a spectacular show of its off-road capabilities, a Range Rover Sport successfully completed the fearsome Alpine ski route of Inferno downhill in Mürren, Switzerland. Piloted by ex-Stig Ben Collins, the Sport took 21min 36sec to cover the 9.25 mile course, but it did it without killing itself or the driver, which is more than can be said for many skiers!
This success is impressive on two levels. First, because Range Rover Sport, as the names suggests, is a Sporty model designed mainly for high-performance driving on tarmac. Second, Ben Collins is mainly a track racer with limited off-road skills and experience. In completing the challenge the Sport achieved speeds of up to 96 mph, 75 percent gradients and a 7,119 ft. descent, and it relied heavily on the Land Rover Terrain Response to get it out of trouble as it battled snow, ice, loose rock, mud, broken asphalt, grass and gravel along the way.
Collins said: “This was genuinely one of the hardest tests I’ve faced in my driving career. The route was insane and certainly the toughest course I’ve ever completed. It challenged you with every kind of obstacle this side of molten lava and as conditions go, it was about as bad as it gets – torrential weather mixed with cliffs, trees, all kinds of stuff you don’t really want to crash into. There could only be one winner in the challenge – the mountain or the car. The key to the run was precision: being able to maintain speed and carry that speed down the hill in the way the skiers can do, carving through the turns. The Range Rover Sport gave me so much help. I had to use the Terrain Response because the grass was like an ice rink and it really got me out of trouble. I believed in the car and it meant we could shed a lot of time over the runs. To be honest I abused it and it just kept on going – I couldn’t have asked for a better machine to do the job.”