Heaven’s Gate in China is a famous landmark that is known for its 99 turns and 999 steps. Land Rover’s new Range Rover Sport became the first vehicle in the world to complete the feat of ascending Heaven’s Gate in spite of numerous twists and turns, all the way to its natural rock arch.
The Range Rover Sport took on the challenge from the bottom of the legendary 11.3km Tianmen Mountain Road which is also known as the Dragon Road. The vehicle used for the attempt was a showroom standard Range Rover Sport and it had Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung at the wheel.
At the top of the road, Tung who participates in Formula E races optimized the Terrain Response for the second part of the challenge, in order to tackle the towering 45-degree staircase of 999 steps which lead up to Heaven’s Gate.
Speaking of the feat, Ho-Pin Tung said that he has participated in Formula E and Formula 1 races and has been a winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. But ascending Heaven’s Gate was one of the most complex driving challenges that he has ever faced. He went on to state that the Range Rover Sport performed brilliantly as it gave him immense confidence on the mountain road and made the climb effortlessly.
The ascend on heaven’s Gate brilliantly showcased the all-terrain credentials of the performance SUV.
Phil Jones, Land Rover Experience expert, 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 like never before – with a genuine world first.”
The Dragon Challenge is one the latest such challenges that the Range Rover Sport has handled. Similar adventures in the past include a record-setting hill-climb at Pikes Peak, USA, a record crossing of the ‘Empty Quarter’ desert in the Arabian Peninsula and a 2,170m descent of the legendary Inferno downhill course in Mürren, Switzerland.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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