Back in 2019, Land Rover took a good look at Bowler and decided to bring the rally raid firm in-house. That’s very good news because it means we get a vehicle like the one you see here. This is the Bowler Defender. And it’s not just a vehicle being churned out for those with a dirty itch to scratch. The Bowler Defender is part of an actual racing series aimed at attracting motorsport adventure for talent both experienced and new.
Starting with a Defender 90, Bowler has built up a race truck and a spec series. The 2022 Bowler Defender Challenge will feature seven rounds of mud-slinging spec racing. Bowler takes the Defender 90 then strips the interior, adds a roll cage, swaps the suspension, tosses on 18 wheels, and puts paddle shifters on the steering column. The engine is the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder unit and the shorter wheelbase Defenders should have no problem hustling with that mill.
And the suspension mentioned above raises the ride height of the Defender by nearly an inch. It was co-developed with Fox. The setup should pair well with the truck, especially when the front and rear subframes have also been modified to be stiffer. You have underbody protection, better airflow up front, more exterior lighting, and a sweet rear spoiler too.
Bowler will open up 12 spots for the series. And for racers with little to no experience, Bowler is going to provide training, license support, and more. The focus is on providing a fun environment for both veterans and novices with hopes that new drivers develop abilities to move on to bigger and better things.
Racing is expensive and so are Defenders, but the price for all of this is actually pretty amazing. Packages start at £99,500. That includes the Defender, your entry for racing into the 2022 series, and full event support. So for around $140,000 you get a race-spec Defender and a series in which to go race it. That’s amazing value in the motorsport world.