Land Rover for Barbican
THE Barbican field in St Andrew has been transformed into an adrenaline-fuelled, off-road driving obstacle course with action set to take place today and tomorrow.
Dubbed the Land Rover Experience, the internationally acclaimed driving course was built in Jamaica for the first time by exclusive dealer ATL Automotive in conjunction with the British brand's engineers based in Brazil.
While the 'Experience' guarantees a thrilling ride, the company's main aim is to give participants more in-depth knowledge of what a Land Rover can really do. The vehicles will be driven by professionally trained 'Experience' drivers throughout the course.
Service Manager at ATL Automotive, Raj Jadusingh, who was instrumental in the development of the course, says participants will be escorted across nine types of challenging terrain, exposing them to handling and navigation techniques on steep inclines, descents, side slopes, rocks, sand and deep water. Vehicles being showcased include the Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Discovery 4, Freelander 2 and Defender.
"At first glance these are luxury vehicles, but at their hearts is Land Rover DNA, that unparalleled off-roading prowess made possible by over 60 years of consistent technological advancement. This course is exciting but not for the faint of heart. We're talking about King Ramps, 40-degree tilt as well as wading pools," Jadusingh explained.
The 40-degree tilt demonstrates the vehicles' ability to maintain stability even at extreme angles whilst tilted in one direction or another up to 40 degrees. On the King Ramps, which are 5 metres and 6 metres high, the Land Rovers climb and descend these extremely steep angles regardless of the surface - asphalt, loose, muddy or sandy in perfectly controlled safety.
"The Rock Crawl obstacle is among the most extreme terrains and this obstacle will demonstrate that the vehicle is able to tackle extreme terrain in relative safety and comfort simply by varying the controls that affect the mechanical and electrical systems of the vehicle. Simply put, it's like driving up a river bed," Jadusingh added.
The Skid Pad is a large 10-metre circle filled with loose gravel.
According to Jadusingh: "The vehicles will drive around its perimeter demonstrating how the electronic traction control systems will ensure little or no deviation from the drivers' intended path."
The Sand Trap, a 0.3m deep and 20m long bed of soft sand, will display the traction capabilities of the vehicles as they manoeuvre it with impunity; a task that would prove difficult if not impossible for other 4x4 vehicles not equipped with the Land Rover's mechanical and electrical devices.
The Elephant's Feet (axle articulation obstacle) is an intriguing demonstration that will show the vehicle's ability to traverse extremely deep and uneven holes.
"This obstacle features a series of holes in the ground placed at alternating positions. The vehicle will continue in a forward motion when axles are at the extremes of their articulation, meaning even if two or three wheels are off the ground, as long as one wheel is on the ground the vehicle will stay on course. This again is due to superb traction," he said.
Those in need of an adventure will be drawn to the two wading pools which are 500 millimetres and 700 millimetres deep. The Land Rovers are expected to move through the water effortlessly without suffering malfunctions. The height of the air intake, sealing of the body gaps and height of electrical control units all impact the vehicles' ability to go through water.
In declaring the superiority of the Land Rover brand, Jadusingh points out that the vast majority of "off road" vehicles are cars first and then 4x4s. "You will find that their off-roading systems are an afterthought tacked on for marketing purposes, and therefore are not a priority for the engineers. With Land Rover, it's a completely different philosophy, as engineers are mandated to build vehicles with off-road performance at their core whilst still delivering superb on-road performance. None is given priority over the other. This results in engineering solutions unique to Land Rover and establishes it as an icon, both on- and off-road," he said.