Defender Rally Series gets into gear with 2024 UK and European Championship season launch
  • Competition hero: Defender-based rally championship now accepting applications for its third season, delivered with off-road performance specialists Bowler
  • Designed to roam: UK Championship includes training and seven rounds of competition, with gravel and hill rallies throughout Scotland, England and Wales
  • Driver development: 2024 rally specification builds on the capability of the production Defender and supports progression to international events
  • Works package: Novice and experienced rally drivers compete in specially prepared Defender 90s with dedicated works-level race support from experienced Bowler crew
  • Close competition: Bowler takes care of all event logistics so competitors can arrive and drive, while one-make series ensures close racing – putting driver skill to the fore
  • Enter now: Entries now open for 2024 season with limited spaces available – visit for more details

Defender drivers can roam the land as motorsport heroes in the 2024 Defender Rally Series. Applications are now open for next season’s one-make off-road motorsport championship, bringing together experienced and novice race drivers for a series of unforgettable cross-country rallying tests. Defender delivers this sporting adventure by working alongside off-road performance specialists Bowler.

With seven varied rounds across the UK from March 2024, the third Defender Rally Series offers competitors the opportunity to test and develop their skills on a mixture of surfaces, ranging from gravel tracks to exhilarating hill rallies.

In addition to the UK Rally Series, participants also have the option to join specific international events throughout the year, a concept proven as part of the 2023 season. This global expansion opens doors to new landscapes, cultures, and challenges, allowing drivers to test their mettle against opponents from around the world.

Following two highly successful years, the Defender Rally Series has been uniquely developed to provide the perfect platform for teams to hone their skills, experience the thrill of competitive racing and prepare for the opportunities provided by the Defender 90 in the UK and internationally.

Calum McKechnie, General Manager, Bowler Motors, said: “The Defender Rally Series continues to surpass expectations across the rally world. The toughness and dynamic capability of Defender 90 is underpinned by Land Rover engineering. Combined with Bowler DNA, it delivers a world-class competition platform, capable of succeeding at top-level events. New for 2024, a range of international options expands horizons, introducing clients to motorsport adventures that will stay with them for a lifetime.”

The Bowler Defender is based on the production Defender 90 and uses the same proven powertrain as showroom models. Defender has enjoyed unprecedented sales success since its launch in 2019. To meet strong demand, earlier this year JLR introduced a third shift at its Nitra production facility in Slovakia, to increase production capacity.

Mark Cameron, Managing Director for Defender and Discovery, said: “The Defender Rally Series is the perfect demonstration of the capabilities that define both Defender and the expertise of Bowler. Our unstoppable 4x4 is available in 90, 110 and 130 body designs and with a range of power options, including an efficient plug-in electric hybrid. They all share the same Land Rover DNA and the Bowler Defender exploits the dynamic character of Defender 90 to create a rally-raid style vehicle that is as durable as it is fun to drive, ensuring close competition for both novice and experienced drivers.”

Tough competitor

Drivers can secure a vehicle and a place in the UK championship from £118,000+VAT. This fee includes a rally-prepared Defender based on the latest generation P300 SE production model. It delivers 221kW, 400Nm of torque and unstoppable off-road capability. Utilising Bowler’s extensive experience, each Defender 90 is specially prepared to tackle the most demanding terrain.

The sophisticated racing package is engineered to comply with exacting FIA and Motorsport UK regulations and the fully supported works package includes entry to seven highly competitive rounds of the UK Rally Series. Clients can rely on a dedicated race technician, senior race engineer and electrical specialists – all eager to ensure the driving team are in the best position to compete.

At each event, competitors enjoy a comprehensive support network including a dedicated parts department, mobile workshop and catering. Participants also benefit from training, technical support and mentoring, which ensures they are fully prepared for the challenge ahead.

Dave Marsh, Head of Motorsport, Bowler Motors, said: “The Defender Rally Series was designed to take drivers on a journey, providing foundational rally experience while building the strength and depth of knowledge required to compete at the highest level. Having undertaken a number of UK and European rounds, our drivers are demonstrating competitiveness under tough conditions. Now, we are raising the bar by moving into a third phase of development, introducing drivers to Rally Raid events and up to week-long endurance Rallies – the pinnacle of the sport.”

Being part of a team in this way develops and enhances the skills of both novice and experienced drivers, providing full works support with a variety of packages for clients that remove the stress of organising their attendance, covering off everything from delivering a vehicle that meets the regulations for each event to providing co-drivers.

For time-challenged customers, Bowler’s Full-Service option looks after every aspect of competition life. The vehicle is managed by Bowler for the duration of the championship and is professionally stored, cleaned, inspected, serviced and repaired, if required, between each round – and delivered to each event ready-to-race. Given the remote location of many events, this option is particularly attractive for clients who want to simply arrive and drive.

With all competitors using the same vehicle hardware, close competition is guaranteed with success determined by the individual abilities of each driver team. Spaces in the 2024 UK series are limited to 16 vehicles. With six places already sold, prospective teams should act quickly to secure a vehicle. To find out more or to arrange a demonstration of a Defender Rally Series vehicle, contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New Defender

Defender Rally Series vehicles are based on the latest 90 production model, which provides rugged durability and unstoppable off-road capability. Bowler then adds body strengthening – including the addition of an FIA-approved roll cage – and safety features, while removing unrequired interior trim and replacing the glass side windows with lightweight polycarbonate. Enhancements to the lighting, suspension and cooling then equip Defender for the demands of competition.

Calum McKechnie, General Manager, Bowler Motors, said:The Defender provides an unbelievably capable base to work from. At Bowler, we strip out the interiors and carry out a series of modifications to ensure they excel on rally stages, including everything from larger fuel tanks and uprated lighting to additional cooling and bracing, but 95 per cent of the body, and the drivetrain and brakes are largely untouched, which is a testament to the brilliance of the production Defender 90.”

It’s a natural progression for Bowler to evaluate offering some of its rally-derived features for all Defenders. The first such feature to come from its rally division is the new 20-inch Challenge Wheel which is now available online from Bowler.

Bowler and JLR

Founded in 1985, Bowler Motors is a pioneering automotive company based in Belper, Derbyshire, UK. With a rich history in engineering off-road competition vehicles, Bowler has achieved international acclaim for its dedication to producing successful high-performance models. Specialising in rally raid events, Bowler has participated in iconic competitions such as the Dakar Rally, British Cross Country Championship and French Baja, showcasing its exceptional Tomcat, Wildcat, and Nemesis models – all derived from the legendary Defender 90 and 110.

Bowler Motors goes beyond simply manufacturing vehicles – it provides clients with exclusive competition racing events. These events serve as a platform for participants to develop the essential driving skills and technical knowledge required to excel in international rally raid events. With Bowler’s guidance, enthusiasts can experience the thrill of off-road racing while honing their all-terrain driving skills.

Every customised rally car produced by Bowler is meticulously tailored to meet the unique requirements and desires of its clients, including bespoke engineering solutions. From enhanced performance to elevating driving dynamics, Bowler is dedicated to delivering exceptional off-road driving experiences.

Bowler Motors has fostered a close partnership with Land Rover since its inception, culminating in a formal brand partnership in 2012. This collaboration marked the beginning of the popular Defender Challenge Rally Series, which took place between 2014 to 2016. This joint effort showcased Bowler’s expertise and cemented its position as a leader in off-road competition.

In December 2019 Bowler Motors joined JLR, becoming a subsidiary of the company. The union provided Bowler with enhanced resources and opportunities for innovation, reinforcing its commitment to delivering unstoppable state-of-the-art off-road vehicles. Its products have navigated uncharted territory, incorporating Land Rover DNA to deliver customary capability and composure.

With a rich racing heritage and an exciting future, Bowler continues to captivate enthusiasts and thrill-seekers with its exceptionally tough competition vehicles. Its immersive off-road experiences are uniquely facilitated by the latest generation Defender, which provides extremely tough and highly capable foundations.

Bowler and Classic Defender

Bowler Motors has established a reputation for its expertise in converting and modifying Classic Defender models; underpinned by its involvement in the successful Defender Challenge racing series. The conversions and modifications offered by Bowler are delivered by a dedicated team at the Bowler production headquarters in Derbyshire. The primary aim of these conversions is to improve the breadth of performance of the core vehicle, including everything from power and handling to braking performance and driveability.

Bowler offers a comprehensive enhancement package specifically designed for Defender. This ‘Road Performance’ package encompasses a wide range of features and upgrades designed to transform the vehicle for road use without compromising off-road ability. Bowler also understands that each customer may have unique preferences and requirements.

In addition to the pre-defined conversion packages, Bowler can provide bespoke engineering solutions to create the ultimate Bowler-modified Defender. Customers can collaborate with Bowler’s engineering team to incorporate personalised modifications and features into their vehicle.

Bowler Parts and Service

Bowler takes great pride in providing exceptional parts and servicing options for Defender models. Its dedicated service team ensures each vehicle receives top-notch maintenance packages to enhance performance, preserve optimal condition and safeguard longevity.

When it comes to servicing vehicles, Bowler treats each car as if it was their own. Its meticulous service plan adheres to a comprehensive process, leaving no detail overlooked. The skilled Bowler service team takes its time to inspect and address every aspect of each vehicle, from its headlamps to door hinges, air-con to wheel trims, wiring to bearings.

Bowler’s commitment to providing exceptional service extends beyond a standard maintenance check. Its 100-plus point check involves examination of every part, inside and out. This comprehensive inspection guarantees that no aspect escapes its attention. Clients can rest assured their vehicle will undergo a thorough assessment, ensuring optimal performance and reliability when they hit the stages.

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