Bowler unleashes latest Defender Challenge rally car

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Bowler Motors has revealed its Land Rover Defender rally car, set to compete in its own championship in 2022.

The Challenge is based on the Land Rover Defender 90 with a 30ps Ingenium 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine. Bowler has added a full roll cage, modified underbody, raised suspension, motorsport specification 18in wheels and column-mounted paddle shifters. According to Bowler, the more compact, shorter wheelbase Defender 90 proved the perfect starting point for the conversion.

Michael van der Sande, MD of JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations, commented, “The development of the new Bowler Defender Challenge rally car perfectly illustrates the mutual benefits of Bowler joining Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. Our technical support married to Bowler’s legendary rally expertise has turned the extraordinarily capable Defender into a purposeful competition machine.

“The Bowler Defender Challenge will prove the Defender’s durability through some of the toughest conditions, while providing an exciting and accessible entry point into all-terrain motorsport for a new generation of Bowler and Land Rover customers.”

According to Bowler, each vehicle is completely stripped back to install a full FIA-compliant roll cage, and the chassis tweaked to increase stiffness. The front and rear subframes are modified and given additional bracing to accommodate the uprated suspension set-up, which is designed in collaboration with Fox and increases the ride height by 25mm.

Bowler’s engineers also added a suite of electronic components, from fire protection and electrical cut-offs to additional lighting and vehicle control systems, fully integrated into the existing electrical architecture. The Bowler-developed column-mounted paddle shift completes the transition.

The standard doors are trimmed to remove the sill covering section, which allows the fitment of full-length, side-to-side underbody protection panels. Additionally, the front end of the vehicle is modified to increase airflow to the cooling system and houses additional lighting, while a new roof spoiler houses additional rear lighting.

The 2022 Defender Challenge will run over seven UK rounds, with dates and locations to be announced later in the year. There are 12 entries available for the one-make series, with each team competing in identically prepared vehicles. The series is open to veteran competitors and those with no competition experience.

For those with limited experience or none, Bowler will offer training and support to gain the necessary licence before moving directly to the series. The Challenge has, to date, provided an ideal platform for new entrants to gain motorsport know-how before joining other Bowlers and competing in rally-raid events around the world.

Bowler’s own Defender Challenge car will make its public debut at the Iceland Hill Rally, a 400km stage rally on August 6-8. Packages for the 2022 Challenge will start at £99,500 which includes a Bowler-prepared Defender Challenge car, entry into the 2022 series, which starts in March, and event support. Further options include training, series logistics and vehicle support. A range of accessories developed as part of this program will be made available later in the year.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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