4x4, Motoring News, new models, off-road

Landy SVR takes on a frozen Silverstone

▪ Full-scale Silverstone track carved on frozen lake
▪ Polar explorer drives Range Rover Sport SVR in Arctic
▪ Rally champion Minna Sillankorva shows ice-driving techniques

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GETTING IT SLIDEWAYS:  Saunders and Sillankorva get the Sport SVR into a glorious drift at the ‘Silverstone’ ice track in Sweden. Image: Land Rover


ARJEPLOG, Sweden – Land Rover ‘Ambassador’ and polar explore Ben Saunders swopped his snowshoes for winter tyres to put a Range Rover Sport SVR through its paces on a unique yet familiar test track near the Arctic Circle.

A film released by Land Rover has charted the world-famous adventurer’s journey from ice-driving novice to experienced veteran in Arjeplog, Sweden, on a full-scale replica of England’s Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit carved into the snow on frozen called, according to Land Rover, Lake Udjaur.

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COOL RUNNING: Polar adventurer Ben Saunders at the wheel of the ice-ready Range Rover SVR takes instructions from Land Rover trainer Minna Sillankorva. Image: Land Rover

With instruction from Finland’s Minna Sillankorva, Saunders tackled the challenge of driving on ice at the wheel with Finnish Land Rover Experience instructor and former rally champion Minna Sillankorva.

He tackled the unique challenge of driving on ice at the wheel of Land Rover’s performance flagship, the 412kW Rover Sport, complete with its V8 soundtrack.

The Range Rover Sport SVR is, the automaker says, the most powerful Land Rover to date, capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in only 4.5 seconds. It’s also the first model to wear the SVR designation to be adopted by future Land Rover and Jaguar high-performance models.

VIDEO: Watch the Range Rover SVR in action

Saunders, who has led expeditions to the North and South poles, told The Corner through a media release: “I had an amazing day. It was my first time driving on ice had the most fun I’ve had on four wheels. The performance of the SVR is breathtaking and its poise through the curves was astounding.”

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TRACK IN WHITE: Skaters doing figure-eights on an ice-rink is one thing, mapping out and bulldozing a faithful copy of England’s Silverstone racetrack in the Arctic cold? Quite another.  Image: Land Rover

Saunders’s experience was aided by a sophisticated suite of features to enhance all-terrain performance, including the latest generation of Land Rover’s advanced Terrain Response2 system which automatically tailors a range of vehicle settings to suit the conditions. Permanent all-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case and a 50/50 torque split front-to-rear delivers Land Rover’s trademark capability.

Optimum traction is maintained through an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the centre differential which distributes torque between the front and rear axles – up to 100% can be sent to either axle in extreme condition and a locking differential ensures torque is transferred to the rear wheel with most traction.


Another system working to help Saunders was Land Rover’s Torque Vectoring by Braking system uses the SVR’s brakes to imitate the effect of a torque-vectoring differential, constantly balancing the distribution of engine torque between all four wheels during cornering, for improved grip and steering responses, to reduce understeer.

This system monitors the vehicle via the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) module.  As it accelerates through a corner, the system uses yaw sensors to detect the onset of understeer. Imperceptible levels of braking are then used to correct the path of the vehicle, while engine torque is transferred to the outside wheels, to maintain traction and steering control.


Land Rover engineer Mike Cross explained: “We pride ourselves on the all-terrain capability and composure of our vehicles, putting them through intensive hot- and cold-climate testing.

“The Range Rover Sport SVR is the most dynamic model we’ve yet produced and combining these qualities showcases the unique talents and expertise of our dedicated engineers.”

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SLIPPIN’ AND A-SLIDIN’:  A Range Rover SVR puts a whole now s(l)ide to the gentle art of drifting on the smooth frozen Lake Udjaur. Image: Land Rover

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