Automobile

Bowler Debuts Rally-Prepped Land Rover Defender For One-Make Series

The off-road masters at Bowler get ahold of the Land Rover Defender 90 and prep it for rallying. The machine will compete in the Bowler Defender Challenge series in 2022.

The Bowler Defender retains the road-going model’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 296 horsepower (221 kilowatts). The big changes include new front and rear subframes with additional bracing to handle the revised suspension. Fox components mean the right height increases by 0.98 inches (25 millimeters).

Bowler trims the sill coverings off the doors to make room for full-length, side-to-side underbody protection panels that are 0.24-inch (6-millimeter) thick aluminum. There’s also a tweaked lower fascia for increased airflow and additional lighting.

Inside, there’s an FIA-compliant roll cage, a fire suppression system, and electrical cut-offs. Competitors sit in racing seats, and Bowler relocated the gear selector to be better for racing. The team also adds column-mounted shift paddles.

The Bowler-modified Defenders will compete in their own, one-make rally series. There will be seven events taking place in the UK in 2022. The company will announce dates and locations for these races later. For inexperienced drivers, Land Rover will provide training to get them a racing license.

Bowler has specialized in building rally-ready SUVs for decades. In 2019, Land Rover bought the company and incorporated it into the Jaguar Land Rover’s own Special Vehicle Operations division.

Since joining the Land Rover family, Bowler teased the CSP 575 as an old-school Defender 110 with a modern supercharged 5.0-liter V8 making 567 hp (423 kW) and an asking price of around £200,000.

The division is rumored to be working on a hardcore, road-legal variant of the current Defender that would have capabilities able to challenge the Mercedes-AMG G63. The focus might be on off-road ability since the Defender V8 already makes plenty of power with 518 hp (386 kW) and 461 lb-ft (625 Nm) on tap from the supercharged 5.0-liter V8.

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