"Nobody has ever tried to drive up it. I think it's impossible"
Land Rover puts its latest Range Rover Sport to the test at Heaven’s Gate in Tianmen Mountain.
The Range Rover Sport PHEV is Land Rover’s newest hybrid SUV. Putting it to the test, Land Rover has handed its keys to Panasonic Jaguar Racing Formula E driver Ho-Pin Tung who drove the car on one of China’s most dangerous roads.
Known as Dragon Road, the 11.3km ascends up Tianmen Mountain and has 99 perilous turns. Tourists are often left screaming as tour buses manoeuvre around the hairpins that sit on the cliff sides.
At the top of the road, a 45 degree stair climb with 999 steps to the natural rock of Heaven’s Gate is found.
In a promotion clip, Tung is seen piloting the Range Rover Sport PHEV through Dragon Road and up the 999 steps to Heaven’s Gate.
Successfully completing Land Rover’s ‘Dragon Challenge’, Tung has driven the first ever vehicle to climb China’s famous landmark.
“I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was without doubt one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced. The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly as it inspired real confidence on the mountain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate effortlessly,” Tung said.
“This was the hardest Range Rover Sport challenge I’ve ever been involved with because, until we reached the top, we couldn’t categorically say we would succeed. By making it to the summit, we’ve proven the phenomenal capability of the Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid like never before – with a genuine world first,” said Land Rover Experience expert Phil Jones.
The Dragon Challenge is part of a series of challenges completed by the Range Rover Sport. In its debut challenge, the PHEV raced two-time open-water swimming world champion Keri-anne Payne and endurance athlete Ross Edgley in Devon, UK.