Under the skin, a supercharged 3.0-litre, 400bhp V6 (derived from none other than the Jaguar F-Type), an eight-speed automatic (as found in the latest Range Rover and Discovery), and a heavily modified suspension including Watts linkage for the rear axle.
It’s gorgeous… and that’s just when it’s stationary.
Driven in anger with Bowler boss and experienced competitor Drew Bowler at the wheel, the 110 filled the Welsh hills with a beautiful rumble that put it in direct sonic competition with the monstrously thunderous 5.2-litre Rover V8 lurking inside the prototype racer of David Harlow and Sara Smith (who have previously competed in the Defender Challenge).
The two vehicles shared Class D for plus-4000cc live-axle prototypes because, according to the rules, the V6’s supercharger effectively multiplies the cubic capacity by 1.5, so it’s treated as if it were a 4.5-litre.
But Drew wasn’t competing on times; the V6 was entered for research only, both for him and the Bowler technicians. ‘It’s important for me to get behind the wheel to see what can be done, and where we might be able to develop the Defender Challenge in years to come,’ said Drew. ‘In some ways the V6 is the thinking man’s V8 – it’s a bit more subtle but it still makes a good noise.’
The 110 still came in ahead of much of the Defender Challenge pack, finishing a whisker ahead of Gareth Carruthers, and completed the weekend unscathed. The verdict? There’s some fine tuning to be done on the suspension, but the drivetrain is putting smiles on a lot of faces.
Looks like the Defender Challenge has an exciting future.