The above picture could probably be called “things drifting you wouldn’t normally expect” given the rarity of a Defender slewing sideways like that. But then, that’s no ordinary Defender. It’s one built by Bowler, yes of Wild Cat fame, especially for the one make Defender Challenge rally series.
A one make championship covering seven rounds in 2014, the Defender Challenge aims to give a pathway for teams to compete in international events like the Dakar Rally. The 15 entrants will all drive equal Defender 90 vehicles, specially prepared by Bowler to increase performance and safety. Modifications include a full FIA-certified roll cage, racing seats and harnesses, lightweight wheels and a fully adjustable suspension system. Finally, power from the 2.2 litre Duratorq turbodiesel engine is uprated from 122 to 175 bhp, with torque up to 331 lb-ft.
Round one of the Defender Challenge starts with the Viking Motorsport/Links Electrical Mid Wales Stages rally in Newtown, Wales on Sunday 8th March 2014. Further information on the six other UK rounds can be found on the Bowler website, with details of the international events open to competitors such as the Tunisian Tuareg Rally.
Entry costs for the season start at £10k with £50,000 +VAT price for the Bowler prepped Defender 90 on top of that. Not exactly bargain motorsport, but one which should ultimately be a lot of fun.