Bowler reveals new rally-specification Land Rover Defender

Off-road specialist Bowler has revealed its rally-prepped version of the new Land Rover Defender.

It’s based on the three-door ‘90’ version with a 296bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and will feature in a one-make rally championship called the Bowler Defender Challenge, which starts next year.

The company starts by stripping the interior of a Defender right back so that an FIA-standard roll cage can be installed for safety. The car is then modified to take a new bespoke performance suspension designed in collaboration with Fox, which increases the ride height by 25mm.

Various electrical components have been fitted and improved from the originals, including everything from fire protection to better lighting.

Other upgrades include rally-ready 18-inch wheels, bucket seats, and a redesigned front end that increases airflow to the cooling system.

The rugged 4×4 wil be used in the Bowler Defender Challenge series, which will start next year and feature seven rounds in the UK. Twelve cars will compete in identical Defenders prepared by the company’s engineers.

Michael van der Sande, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, said: “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.”

Packages start at £99,500 and include the rally-prepped car, entry into the 2022 series and on-event support. Drivers can also pay extra for training, logistics help and further vehicle support, as well as various vehicle upgrades.