Every once in a while I like switching things up and going outside of my comfort zone. That day came when I went to watch the WRC rally in Wales with my friend Rob as this was something I have always wanted to watch. Something about rally cars that fascinates me about rally drivers that are driving to their absolute limits with a fine line of in control and imminent roll off into a thick woodland. Maybe its the fact these are road-based cars re-engineered from the ground up for speed, power, grip, traction skirting machines toeing the line between in control and out of control.
I have always said every car has its moment just like how every song in my MINI has a memory attached to it. The vehicle in question that was taken to the WRC was really fitting the ground we were travelling on….
After we watched the WRC, we head to our chariot with the infamous words on the bonnet RANGE ROVER
Yes, Rob deliberately parked it like this!! He was showing off how the auto levelling works on the air suspension.
This wasn’t the first range rover I had been in, but my first encounter with one was back in my childhood at the ripe age of 12 years old with a Mark 1 Range Rover. It was owned by dad’s friend who had two (one black and the other yellow).
Heading back to the Range for comfort, we dial in the sat nav details to lead us to black rocks beach for some off-road action for ourselves. I was presented I was handed the keys to the Range Rover Sport HSE 3.0 TDV6 – 240 BHP & 600 NM on the beach to have my first dose of off-roading fun.
Rob showed me all the buttons and what the functions did with the suspension, ride height, terrain, locking diffs, high and low range. All mind blogging at the time and the excitement of finally driving the king of the hill was immense. My exuberance took full effect when Rob raised the ride height and set it in low range while talking me through all the buttons and tech onboard.
I got a little too excited with the throttle as I was going too fast in low range, so the car told me off followed by Rob saying you gonna overheat the box : / sorrrrryyyyy
After getting familiar with the Range Rover Sport, it was time to see what it could do climbing the dunes and entering craters full of seawater.
This resulted in an impromptu full-on live-action photoshoot.
After the photo shoot, Rob asked how to do a doughnut? I was like that’s easy you just turned the traction control and dump the gas pedal all the way and keep the revs steady and apply opposite lock accordingly to make a circle. Look I will show you??? Firstly I forgot to turn the traction control, so all that resulted in us going an in a circle really fast like I was James May.
I looked at Rob and said sorry my mistake I forgot to turn off the TSC. I then planted my right foot sending the rear tyres into a scrabble as they dug deep into the sand as the front end lifted up to the horizon. The rear end slid away as I guided the front with opposite lock guiding her around to form a perfect circle with the palm of my hand on the steering wheel. I turned back to straight motion and let off the accelerator and said to Rob that how you do it! Let’s switch seats so I can show you?
Rob was dumbfounded on how easy I made it look as he got out and saw the perfect circle in the sand. I said when I had my BMW I used to mess around in the loading area of where I used to work, so I learned a lot of car control just by messing around. Time for you to learn how to drift pro with some car control which resulted in some giggling moments. I am sure the onlookers on the beach were thinking what a bunch of ‘Yobos’.
With offroad test drive done we head back to the asphalt where I got to drive the Sport on the B roads of wales which are tight, twisty and chambered. I felt the Range Rovers size which felt like a battle tank to me as we glided over the road with grace. I felt the sensation to be very commanding on the road as the driving position makes you look down to small cars.
I finally understood why people buy a Range Rover, it makes you feel tank commander! There is nothing that can beat you on the road or offroad and it a nice place to be. You are very much astounded in luxury on board HMS RR Sport in your own gentleman’s quarter. What else amazed me was how the air suspension was levelling out as I was tanking away down the country roads and this BMW couldn’t keep up with me.
Rob did tell me as I didn’t know that the Sport is essentially a modified Discovery 3 chassis. This makes even more mind-blowing given the Discovery looks like it will fall over if you whipped it around a corner to fast. My hat goes off the LR engineers who made the Sport as it’s a modern marvel to me. It now has a special place in my heart after a few hours behind the wheel. I am sure at some point I will own one add it to ever-growing JCW Adventures fleet.
Now it’s time to fast forward over two years but to the beautiful summer of 2018 where I was invited by Land Rover PR team to make history with them. 2018 was an essential year to them as it was 70 years ago when they Range Rover was launched, so it was only fitting that they graced Goodwood Festival of speed in an opulent manner.
I had my invite, and I knew who I had to take given Rob’s childhood obsession with the brand. You mention the word Range Rover or Defender with him, and you can see the excitement go off in him. I love passion especially when it’s around cars and their stories.
We headed out in my JCW given I wanted to give it a nice run to familiar grounds before to find faults before the heading on the MIR RUN: Euro Trip which would cover France, Germany, Austria, Switerzland and Italy in 10 days and cover over 2,000 miles, 3 Racing Circuits and 4 Car Factory Tours.
Rob had found a gem of a place to stay the night before to allow a more leisurely ride to Goodwood as the traffic queues have got bigger and bigger over time. Plus it allowed us to freshen up, relax and catch up over a meal at a Wagamama.
The sun rose, and it was the next day as we got ready our host had already prepared breakfast for us which was a delight as we conversated in the ambience of the grand room with a beautiful summer’s morning light filtering in. We thanked her for making our stay a pleasant one and we hoped to see her this time next year.
JCW all fired up we headed out to the back roads leading to Goodwood Circuit as Land Rover PR team had a welcoming event, registration and day outline plan to run through to make this one in a lifetime opportunity and a great memory.
There is something about driving to Goodwood: Festival of Speed. Is it knowing what awaits me or is the fact it’s a day driving my JCW in the back roads in the summer with the windows down?
We arrived at Goodwood Circuit to a sight of every iteration of Land Rover every made. We had to take a lap of honour around the parked up Land Rovers throughout the years which is a great marvel in itself.
There was everything from civilian vehicles, special forces, army, emergency services, police, G4 Challenge and special editions to vehicles I didn’t even know Land Rover were remotely capable of manufacturing.
Here are some of those vehicles:
Fun fact for everyone my previous boss David Sparks drove for G4 Challenge who is now the head of branded good for Jaguar Land Rover. He was a great boss and all around nice guy who loved cars, and his car history was an awesome collective mix from a Lotus Exige, Honda S2000, Golf R to a Range Rover Autobiography.
We signed on with JLR for registration and got our wristbands for the festival along with a special booklet, t-shirt and keys to our chariot for the day.
Once we had done nosing around, we were all brought together for a group briefing to discuss what would happen on the day and how the convoy would drive to FOS.
We would mark history by driving up the Goodwood hill in 70 cars to mark 70 years of Land Rover which is truly an honour.
All the Ranges fired up! We headed out in formation to mark this occasion.
This gave us time to get acquited with the new Discovery Sport which is a massive step from the last Discovery 4. The older Discovery had charm as it was a box on wheels and it felt like when you drove it as it would have massive lean in corners, but it destroys any obstacle under its wheels.
Its often is a car’s faults, and quirks that actually make it a good car in a positive way like the BMW M5 V10 was a great M-Car. The V10 howl is its soul but there are too many settings, drinks fuel and everything breaks on it but you will still love it when it works and you open the taps on it.
The new Discovery Sport drove well and it very much felt like a car but the Diesel engine let it down. It didn’t give it a sense of occasion as it didn’t have low-end torque I thought it would have for an offroader. The gearbox is perfect and but you can run away from the fact there should be shove on hand. There is a massively delay between you pressing the pedal and momentum actually occurring which is let down given how good the outside looks. If that delay would be reduced or completed eliminated the Disco Sport would be a great car as I feel it’s missing that just that bit extra to make it a great car to give you the fizz.
Looking at the exterior of the car as it unmistakable Land Rover in every way and everything is where it should with buttons and layout. The cabin is a great place to be and sit in with leather and soft-touch plastic. The utility of the function of the Disco is perfect in every way as everything is where it should and you can tell it was designed by people who actually take cars offroad.
If you have an offroader, please lock the diffs, take it offroad and get it DIRTY!!!!
We stopped by a farm to regroup and get acquited with one another whilst nosing around each other cars.
Some of her majesty armed forces were with us and they were given a Range Rover Sport SVR which was in Madagascar Orange Metallic paint (vibrant orange paint that contains ChromaFlair™ giving it a warm yellow to red ‘travel’). By god, it sounds amazing!!! V8 Supercharged glory with a metallic grasp like a swarm of wasps, locusts, rattlesnakes, flying ants, bees and ball bearings fighting out in a dark metallic tube.
So came the time to finally to head to the Hill Climb so we proceeded in a timely fashion and grided up. This was a surreal moment as everyone had their phone outs and they were videoing us like we were some kind of celebrities??? I leaned to Rob said let’s go cement ourselves in history as I smirked.
Who would have thought I would get to drive up the Goodwood Hill? I am just some dude with a car and website there is no special sauce here.
Either way here I am defying all odds like any other plucky brit which is what the Land Rover Brand is all about! It’s about conquering anything in front of you and to go Above & Beyond whatever the obstacle comes your way.
We drove up the hill together making videos and taking as many pics as could to capture the moment. Not too many to miss the moment but saviour the moment which a lot of my generation seem to miss nowadays.
It was a surreal moment as my four years for working for JLR’s owned marketing agency came flooding back. I started doing their marketing since I returned from the states from MINI TAKES THE STATES 2014. Having know people on the factory floor, engineers, artworks, marketers I was proud I was doing their hard work an honour as I rolled this Discovery into the history books.
I was outlining the track layout as I went around to Rob as only a lucky few get to drive or ride shotgun on this asphalt. It only sank in when went under the bridge next to the Goodwood House with the Porsche sculpture captivating the skyline.
We drove near the flint wall which is literally what is and it looks unbelieve sharp. If you take that corner wrong at high speed you will get understeer which will result in you shattering the front end to pieces. Over the years it has become a formidable foe and claimed many race cars and driver’s egos.
Today wouldn’t be my day as switch back past it as I hugged the straw bales and kept the correct line and headed into the woodlands towards the infamous finish line for our own personal victory.
I felt the sense of pride like when Top Gear drove down the mall with everything made in Great Britian.
With history made we parked up next to the Goodwood rally stage all in formation in model years which was another sight in itself. But the temptation to drive on to the rally stage was immense as all I had to was slot the terrain system into loose gravel and mash the throttle into the forest. If Land Rover wants to give me that chance to do that another time I would love to do it…
Having parked up, I bumped in Adnan Ebrahim the founder of Car Throttle who was climbing out the Land Rover Defender Works V8 which sounds exactly what it is. It’s literally Defender with a V8 slot under the hood. I moaned why hadn’t JLR made a G-Wagon rival??? If Mercedes makes the G -Wagon there is clearly a market for Defender to have a V8 with a luxury interior???
Fun Fact: G-Wagon is the most profitable car Mercedes makes in their entire range.
I am glad Land Rover finally did make but they should done it a long time ago!!! But like anything, It’s Better late than never! Let’s hope the next Defender due for 2019 reveal has room for a V8 Motor (Insert Jeremy Clarkson’s American accent).
It was good to chat with Adnan to understand his outlook for Car Throttle and how it has come to age with the manufacturers finally understanding the digital age and communities that surround them. The age of traditional print has moved on and the digital landscape has taken hold to newer generations, and how it opens to everyone in the world wherever they are. Carms & Miss Emma Walsh was in our line up of Land Rovers as well so the world of IG & Youtube royalty was with us on this landmark day.
Rob and I went off to enjoy the rest of the festival of speed. The rally stage part of FOS is the only part I had never been to from all of my six visits since 2011. It was nice hearing and seeing some rally legends in the pit area.
After being done with the rally legends, we headed over the main FOS area to which we had to go through the VIP parking area. Two Mclaren Sennas, Huracan Performante, 670 LT, XJ13, Bullit Mustang, Aston Martin AMR & Giulia Quadrifoglio marked it as no ordinary.
Everyone knows where my next stop is….
MINI Electric Concept – Due 2019
Hurcan Performante Spyder – Hmmmm that Satin Blue paint
I went over to the URBAN stand to catch with an old MINI friend who works for them as a painter and in sales along with another at the Alpina stand who is in sales.
The next selections of cars were my favourite from the show
First up was Jaggggggggggg and the Ex-racing driver. He told me to buckle as we drifted in a continual onslaught of V6 howl tyre shredders smoke around a short technical circuit with little room for error. Sadly I have forgotten his name but I remember him telling he used to race on real street circuits which were the golden days. I wished myself that it would come back to more towns so people could be inspired and a new generation would follow motorsport and go into motor industry-centric roles.
Finally, the Range Rover arrived, and I took a back seat for this one so Rob could be in his element. We had another driver who took the Land Rover to its limit on the confined course to its climb and descent capabilities. This was a showcase of the full articulation of each wheel separately on the latest Range Rover.
It still amazes me how easy any Range Rover product makes offroading look whilst being basked in luxury. I guess there is nothing like Great British Engineering…
I had a good nose around the Jaguar Land Rover stand and there some fantastic cars for all your needs and terrains. The I-Pace was there which is JLR first full-on plunge into the electric car which is a real contender for the Tesla in every way.
The SVR sunk worked F-Pace which has the full-fat supercharged V8 (This was the last car I did some marketing on)
XE 300 Sport
Range Rover SV Autobiography – Which was in Rob Spec
Range Rover SV Coupe
£250,000 of Two-Door Luxury which will be uber-exclusive at 999 units worldwide
There were a few cars in Darkhorse spec, but the one that caught my eye was Range Rover P400e which is a sign to the future. Hopefully, I will get the chance to drive it and experience where the Range will go into the future…
That was a wrap for the day, and I found more than I thought I would. I got to make history with Land Rover and with creating a great memory with best my friend.
Thank you for everything you have and will do for me Rob, and I hope this friendship lasts a lifetime as I can’t see a day without. Here is to the future and our adventures ahead wherever they make take us. Rob is now part of this once solo team as he will be joining on my adventures and be contributing editor & photographer of the site. Don’t worry he has a Chilli Red R56 JCW N18 as well and few more special other vehicles.
Thank you Land Rover UK PR team for everything and making our time with you priceless & memorable.
A few months later the JCW Adventures fleet grew to have something special amongst the ranks. Here is our Black on Black on Black – Range Rover Velar
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