The UK rally team, made up of injured service personnel, currently runs four petrol V8 Bowler Wildcats: two engines derived from Jaguar units, and two Rover V8s tweaked by JE Engineering. Sound meaty enough? Only half as meaty as they’ll be after they install 3.0-litre TDV6 engines.
In standard form the TDV6s develop a whopping 442lb ft of torque. Once they’ve been ‘breathed on’ a bit, they’ll be developing about twice that of their V8 predecessors.
And that’s good, because rally raiding is all about torque. When you’re powering up a long dune in the desert, with deepening sand sapping your momentum, torque is what you want, more than horsepower.
Fuel efficiency brings another benefit, as the Wildcats will have to carry less fuel for long distance races, reducing weight.
Fitting a TDV6 to a Wildcat has been tried once before, but with limited success. Race2Recovery director Ben Gott explains: ‘Modern engines these days are so integrated into the entire car, with electronics governing everything from the body control unit, the emissions systems, security – the lot – it can throw up problems when you try to make them run independently in a new vehicle.’
Fortunately though, Ben is hopeful that Race2Recovery will have the backing of engineers at Bosch and Land Rover once the project gets underway, so technical problems should be shortlived.
On a transmission mission
As for the gearbox, the team's plotting an 8-speed auto as found in the current Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery 4. Being a disabled team, an automatic transmission should offer a major advantage.
First they’ll have to overcome the problem of the output shaft being on the wrong side of the gearbox, but Ben has his eye on a Milner unit which could solve the problem.
Look out for Race2Recovery’s Wildcats in the Rallye des Gazelles in March, plus other international events throughout the year. On home soil, keep an eye out for them at next year’s Freelander Challenge and Defender Challenge.
For more info, visit the Race2Recovery website.