22 Oct: LR Defender Rally Challenge

Defender Rally Series by Bowler 2023 UK Championship

For less than half the price of a Rally2 car you can go stage rallying in a current production AWD machine which will generate more smiles per mile and more performance than a Rally4 car. And for some enthusiasts, it’s a more sexy option!

Off-road performance specialists Bowler have just announced details of their ‘Defender Rally Series by Bowler 2023 UK Championship’ which will be run over seven gravel stage and hill rally events in Wales, England and the final in Scotland.

Designed for novices and competition veterans alike, the Defender Rally Series by Bowler consists of 12 teams taking part in nine events, including seven competitive rounds in identical Defender rally cars. After the first private round, fully supported teams participate in six rounds of public events.

This competition series has been specifically designed to offer entrants the chance to gain rally motorsport experience and know-how, facilitating progression to rally-raid events. Bowler can offer the necessary support and training enabling entrants to achieve the correct licencing in order to compete in the UK and internationally.

The UK Championship provides an inclusive team atmosphere with full technical support at every event. The professional presence of the team, with comprehensive on-event spares support and team hospitality area creates a true paddock within the paddock.

Packages for the 2023 UK Championship will start at £108,334 (plus VAT). This includes purchase and full ownership of a brand-new, fully converted rally car, based upon the latest road registered model year Defender 90 P300, management through nine events, including seven competitive championship rounds with full works support from a dedicated team of race technicians, event hospitality, professional guidance, access to a fully stocked spares container and support unit, plus training. Competition Entry Fees are additional to the Bowler package.

A number of additional support options are available, these include ‘Arrive and Drive’ whereby the rally car is entirely managed by Bowler for the duration of the 2023 UK Championship; cars are professionally managed, cleaned, inspected, repaired where required, stored between competitions and delivered to each round ready to race. Rounds take place in remote areas around the UK so this option is particularly attractive for time poor or international drivers. Further options include licence development and bespoke training delivered by a professional rally driver.

The provisional 2023 UK Championship calendar is as follows*:

Rd 1 –  4/5 March, Walters Arena – Competition Safari

Rd 2 – 15 April, Rally Nuts Stages – Stage Rally (Gravel)

Rd 3 – June, TBD – Comp Safari

Rd 4 – 8 July, Nicky Grist Stages Rally – Stage Rally (Gravel)

Rd 5 – 22/23 September, Trackrod Rally – Stage Rally (Gravel)

Rd 6 – 28 October, Cambrian Rally Stage Rally (Gravel)

Rd 7 – November, TBD – Hill Rally/Stage Rally (Gravel)

( All dates and events are to be confirmed )

For further information on entry to the 2023 Defender Rally Series by Bowler, please contact info@bowlermotorsport.com or call +44 (0)1773 824111.

 Base Defender Specification:
 Model - Defender 90 P300 SE
 Engine - 2.0 litre 4cyl turbo petrol
 Power/torque - 296 bhp/400Nm
 Transmission - Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
 0-60mph - 6.7 seconds
 Top speed - 119 mph (limited when in Bowler Mode)
 Economy - 24.6 mpg
 Co2 - 260 g/km
 Fuel Capacity - 90 litres
 Weight - 2,065 kg
 Length - 4,583 mm
 Width - 2,105 mm
 Height - 1,974 mm
 Wheelbase - 2,587 mm
 Turning Circle - 11 m 

The Defender Bowler rally car is based on a production car which includes driver convenience features such as InControl Security, Sat Nav, Climate Control and Telematics as part of the donor spec. Hopefully drivers won’t ever need to use reverse cameras but the aircon can be a blessing in hot summer rounds.

Defender Bowler Specification (modifications from base)

Structural Body and Chassis:

Monocoque bracing – minimises body movement and supports underbody protection

Full internal roll cage integrated with body and linking suspension mounts

Internal spare wheel mount integrated to roll cage

Rally-spec gearbox cross member

Stiffened gearbox mounts

Strengthened engine mounts

Braced front and rear subframes

Front suspension turret brace

Rear turret brace

Strengthened radiator mounts

Adapted chassis and subframe mounts


Cooling – revised to meet needs of competition use

Increased transmission cooling capacity

Bowler Sports exhaust system

Bowler 18-inch motorsport wheels with increased strength

All-terrain tyres

Bespoke suspension design with modified subframes, new springs

Bespoke Fox dampers

Race steering wheel

High level air intake

Front upper wishbone revised to reflect new ride height geometry


ECU system integration with race box

ABS/DSC – rally control modifications

New integrated wiring harness for new components

New rally-spec facia

Navigator control unit for lights/washer/horn


High-level rear marker lights

Door and rear windows replaced with polycarbonate

Alpine Light replaced by aluminium panel

Race sports seats with specific race seat mounts

Five-point race harness

Integrated and hand-held fire suppression

Electrical cut-off switches – internal and external

Complete removal of all airbag systems


Front bumper adapted to take new underbody protection

Bowler front grille with increased air flow

Rear roof spoiler with extended profile and integrated additional lighting

Front and rear wing claddings to meet new underbody protection

Wheel arch extensions utilising accessory fitment

Door lowers – protection pieces on shortened doors

Rally Function:

Additional bonnet-mounted windscreen washers – to deal with rally levels of water splash

Front driving lights for increased night driving illumination

Rally-spec mudflaps

Full underbody protection system – 6mm aluminium reinforced design

New gear shift position – optimised to sports seats

Column-mounted gear shift paddles – unique to Bowler

Rear door manual release mechanism

Wheel arch lines – increased strength to meet rally requirements

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