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Range Rover SVR takes to the ice

Jaguar Land Rover replicates Silverstone track on frozen Swedish lake

Published: November 28, 2015, 11:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 1:26 PM

Range Rover Sport SVR on Lake Udjaur

SVR badge

Range Rover goes to extremes to test out the efficiency of its four-wheel drive systems, so how best to go about testing the high-speed-worthiness of its most powerful SUV ever? On the track? On the ice? How about both?

“We pride ourselves on the all-terrain capability and composure of our vehicles, putting them through intensive hot and cold climate testing,” said Mike Cross, Chief Engineer Vehicle Integrity. “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.”

Silverstone race track replicated on Lake Udjaur

Jaguar Land Rover recently took the 542-hp Range Rover Sport SVR to Sweden’s frozen Lake Udjaur, at the Arctic Circle to test it on an ice-racing circuit. But it wasn’t just a function of clearing off snow to make an ice track, the company made a full-scale replica of Silverstone. Then it took polar explorer Ben Saunders, had former rally champion Minna Sillankorva teach him how to race on ice and let him loose on the surface.

Minna Sillankorva (left) and Ben Saunders

“Obviously, I had an amazing day. It was my first time driving on ice and the most fun I’ve had on four-wheels,” said Saunders, who has led expeditions to both the North and South poles. “The performance of the Range Rover Sport SVR is simply breathtaking and its poise in the corners was astounding given the slippery conditions.”

The company documented the explorer’s journey from ice-racing novice to top-speed ice-racer, made easier through the model’s use of advanced technologies such as the Terrain Response 2 system (which automatically tailors vehicle settings to driving conditions), torque splitting front and rear (starting at 50/50 but able to send up to 100% to either axle), Dynamic Active Rear Locking Differential to divert torque between rear wheels, and torque vectoring by using the brakes (in conjunction with Dynamic Stability Control) to balance torque during cornering – in a film, that’s available on the company’s website and Youtube.

The Sport SVR is powered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V-8, making 542 hp and 501 lb-ft of torque and can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, and reach a top speed of 260 km/h. It is the first model to wear the SVR badge that will adorn future high-performance versions of Land Rover and Jaguar models.