There’s something a bit funny about a fellow who talks about driving like a maniac in a voice just above a whisper. At Land Rover, however, this is normal when talking about the Range Rover Sport SVR.
SVR, as you might remember, is Jaguar Land Rover’s new naming convention introduced this past July. It’s the special wheelhouse of custom and high-end performance models for the brands, and replaces the “-R” and “-S” of previous models like the XFR-S.
In this video, which echoes one we saw of the Rover Sport SVR playing in the rain a few months ago, the Rover is predominantly filmed in slow-motion, the better to point out how the body behaves during super-fast maneuvers.
With 550 horsepower and a weight that has to be around 5,000 lbs., drifting on a track is ambitious to say the least. With that much weight, if you figure wrong, you’ll have 2.5 tons sending you into a wall and a supercharged V8 as your primary helper.
The maniac explaining why this is unlikely to happen in the Rover is Mike Cross, Land Rover’s head engineer for vehicle integrity. When you get a sense of what Cross does, you can appreciate how his voice has such an otherworldly calm.
Simply put, his job is to imagine all sorts of terrible things and run through them in simulation or reality. High-performance vehicles like this use aluminum in the body to save weight. But to maintain rigidity, steel has to be used strategically and coordinated with the chassis and suspension.
It’s basically like Jenga at 100 mph played by elephants, so we imagine that at the end of the day, Cross goes home to his apartment, sits down in his easy chair, closes his eyes, and lets the stress wash off him like a layer of coal dust.
It’s a great video, so check it out.