Those fascinated with the Stadium Super Trucks series are also very likely to be interested in Land Rover’s line-up of ‘Bowler’ off-roaders, inclusive of the Wildcat and the Tomcat, each packed with plenty of bespoke four-wheel drive gadgetry.
Now, Bowler Motors (who are owned by Land Rover), have released their spin on the new Defender 90; the Bowler Challenge. Not only that, but they’ve also announced that the model will be used in a new single-make race series.
While the new Bowler Challenge doesn’t necessarily have as wild an exterior as previous Bowlers, it’s still clearly definable from its road-going equivalent. The front fascia is new, including the wrap-around skid plate.
Inevitably this is less about form and more about function. The front end features a much larger air intake, allowing better breathing in dusty conditions. A secondary intake mounted on the left-hand side next to the A-pillar adds further breathability.
The Bowler gets a bespoke suspension set-up, built with a helping hand from the ride-control brainiacs at Fox. New springs and dampers help it gain 25mm in ride height, on a platform that was already geared towards off-roading.
A roll-cage, stripped out cabin, quick-release racing wheel, full race-spec seats and harnesses, a sports exhaust, and 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain rubber also feature.
This is much more than just a new face and some springs. Bowler has added in new front and rear subframes, meaning that the Challenge probably drives completely differently to a standard Defender. Additional bracing in the monocoque and stronger mounts for the engine and transmission means it should be able to take a fair beating, too.
Speaking of engines, don’t expect this model to come with a booming V8 like past Bowlers. Instead it’s fitted with the base Defender 90’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four, producing 221kW of power. Acceleration figures in this instance haven’t been quoted, but the production model can hit 100km/h in under seven seconds.
Not that you need a V8 off-road, anyway. A lighter powertrain can often make for more fun (just ask the Ford Ranger Raptor). What you do need is £99,500 ($198,900) in the bank, as that’s what Land Rover and Bowler are asking for one of these gravel-bashers.