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Bowler turns the Land Rover Defender into an off-road racing beast

The SUV even gets its own one-make rally series

We have a future Dakar Rally competitor in the Bowler Defender. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

It was only a matter of time before Bowler got its dirty hands on the latest Land Rover Defender. If you’re not familiar with the firm, it specializes in building vehicles based on Land Rover platforms. These rides commonly see action in events like the Dakar Rally.

The company’s latest creation is the Defender Challenge. The base car is a Defender 90, which itself is no slouch off the road. The additional modifications done by Bowler ensure that both driver and machine can make it across sand dunes at high speeds in one piece.

It's not a Bowler product if it can't play in the dirt at speed. PHOTOS FROM LAND ROVER

Some of the changes made include full-length underbody protection, a bespoke Fox suspension system with a 25mm lift, 18-inch rally-spec wheels, and aero kit with redesigned front intakes and a rear spoiler. Performance comes from a 296hp 2.0-liter turbocharged Ingenium petrol engine augmented by stiffer mounts, improved cooling, and a Bowler sports exhaust system.

A Fox suspension system gives this Defender a slight lift. PHOTOS FROM LAND ROVER

Most of the creature comforts have been removed to fit an FIA-standard roll cage for added safety and improved chassis stiffness. There are also competition-spec bucket seats and a quick-release steering wheel with column-mounted paddle shifters. A fire suppression system, fuel and electrical cutoffs, and controls for additional exterior lights have been included as well.

Challenge Series participants will also be given driving lessons. PHOTOS FROM LAND ROVER

The £99,500 (P5.93 million) purchase price includes both the car and an entry into the one-make Challenge Series. It starts in March 2022 and has seven stages (all held in the UK). The competition is open to both novice and experienced drivers, and participants can avail of additional training and vehicle support packages.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.