Driving the Silk Trail – Range Rover Hybrid picture special

Driving the Silk Trail - picture special

Three Range Rover Hybrids are half way through an attempt to conquer the ‘Silk Trail’, driving from the UK to Mumbai; here’s their journey so far…

They’ve covered 4300 miles and crossed 11 countries, but there’s still a long way to go for these Range Rover Hybrids on the famous Silk Trail.

The cars originally left Land Rover’s West Midlands HQ at the end of last month, having been set the challenge of following the 2000-year-old trading route to Mumbai, India, a distance of 9950 miles.

Land Rover sees the mammoth endurance drive as the final development test drive for its new Range Rover Hybrid. In total, the journey is expected to take seven weeks and see the team travel through 14 countries.

The route is treacherous, however, and has already seen the team conquer rough terrain, mountains and temperatures of up to 43 degrees.

Now in the fourth week of the journey, the team reports that the only things to have slowed them down so far are some lengthy border crossings, and a puncture.

Indeed, the Range Rover Hybrids, powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine in conjunction with an electric motor, have scarcely missed a beat. The cars have a peak power output of 335bhp and 516lb ft of torque, allowing the team to make swift progress through its most recent destination, Uzbekistan.

The Fergana mountain range has proven to be the toughest test of the cars so far, however, with the Range Rovers tackling narrow and rutted mud tracks in darkness to reach the summit, only to face sodden and slippery roads following near-torrential rainfall to come down the other side. The expedition eventually rose to a height of 13,035 feet – above the threshold where altitude sickness can occur.

The convoy continues to move east, heading into Kyrgzstan and onwards to China for the next stage of the journey, before heading back through Asia to reach the final destination in Mumbai.

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