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Get down and dirty with Bowler and Land Rover at the Defender Rally

Looking to get into off-road racing? There’s no better place than the Land Rover Defender Rally, which just kicked off its 2024 season last weekend.

Here at Classic Driver, we often lament how the world’s latest and greatest off-roaders are relegated to the school or grocery run, never encountering more difficult terrain than a speed bump. Land Rover clearly aren’t content with the new Defender being confined to this urban purgatory, so they started the Defender Rally Series, and last weekend the 2024 season kicked off! 

This year, the Defender 90-based rally series is welcoming its largest entry list yet, with 16 driver and co-driver pairings gearing up for the seven event season, each with a distinct livery based on the black and white Defender you see here. Comprising of gravel and hill rallies in Wales, Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland, the Defender Rally Series offers drivers a chance to hone their rallying skills and car control with a view to upgrade competitors’ rally licenses. 

While even a bog-standard Defender 90 is already a supremely capable off-roader, Land Rover has enlisted the help of Bowler to beef up their Defenders in order to withstand the demands of competition. These rally-ready Defenders are closely related to the P300 production model, albeit with added safety features, including race-specification seats, FIA-approved roll cage and fire extinguishers. They use the same 296 horsepower Ingenium petrol engine, eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox and advanced All-Wheel Drive system as showroom models, with all mechanical enhancements, rally support, competition entries and vehicle logistics taken care of by an expert team from Bowler. While this year’s season is already well underway, registration is now open for the 2025 season, so don’t hesitate to sign up if you’re looking for some fun in the mud next year!