Vinod Singh has seen the whole lot: a person inserting one rupee cash inside each his eyes, stuffing his mouth with 710 consuming straws and carrying 25kg along with his tooth, all on the similar time; a automotive dealership wrapping a household sedan with 350kg of chocolate; a dentist with a group of 10,333 human tooth. Sure, as a choose for the India E-book of Information, Vinod Singh has seen the whole lot starting from the weird to the superb.
However he hasn’t seen this but – an off-road land velocity report. That’s as a result of none exist. At Autocar India we’ve set fairly a couple of information. Not so way back, we had set a manufacturing automotive lap report on the Buddh Circuit with Narain Karthikeyan behind the wheel of his Porsche 911 GT3. In 2016, Autocar was behind the Prime Velocity Report on Indian soil, when an Audi R8 V10 Plus pushed by Aditya Patel recorded a prime velocity of 332.2kph on a closed-off highway in Hyderabad.
Each of those have been tarmac runs; and what intrigued us was that in contrast to overseas, India didn’t have an off-road land velocity report.
So we zeroed in on the Little Rann of Kutch – it’s a 5,000 sq km salt desert in Gujarat. There aren’t any roads right here – solely a featureless salt flat extending to infinity in all instructions. The bottom is cracked, the air is dry, mirages abound, and the parched earth unfolds endlessly.
Subsequent, we picked the automotive. With visions of the rally Gypsy in his head, our highway tester Rahul insisted on one thing fast and, equally vital, mild on its toes. To reach the Rann, a large prime velocity wasn’t going to be the one standards; having the ability to put energy down and never lavatory down can be essential. Enter the XUV300. Having solely simply reviewed it, our take a look at workforce got here away satisfied this could be Mahindra’s subsequent rally automotive. The SUV was a mixture of a powerful engine with a very good linear energy supply and a suspension that might take fairly a beating whereas preserving issues planted – which meant that it could be excellent within the Rann.
The report run would take the automotive from a small village known as Zinzuwada to a different village known as Palasava. In the event you test Google Maps, it can present a 168km highway connecting the 2 locations. For the report try, as an alternative of taking the round highway, we’d lower throughout the desert, because the crow flies.
Standing on the featureless salt flat on the Little Rann of Kutch, Vinod Singh is right here in the present day to preside over the land velocity report try. He’s a little bit perplexed since he can not see any specialised tools or exercise that precedes a report like this. The XUV300 is all inventory, no engine tuning, no particular off-road tyres, no light-weighting measures like eradicating the spare tyre – in reality, the XUV’s received a couple of half-used bottles of water helpful, too. There’s no swarm of engineers, both – only one man checking the tyre stress with a handheld air-pressure gauge and an individual on the horizon strolling along with his head solid down, wanting on the floor, trying out its situation.
Rahul’s received rather a lot on his thoughts; the report could sound easy – simply run as quick as you possibly can in a straight line – however the floor right here is free soil and gravel that hides comfortable sand which may lavatory down a automotive. There are a number of tracks stepping into varied instructions with deep ruts that may unsettle the XUV300; and practically invisible humps that may launch the Mahindra SUV into the air. There isn’t a GPS to assist Rahul navigate and there are neither markings nor landmarks on this featureless panorama for him to make use of as reference. To navigate via this, Rahul has to rely solely on his reminiscence of the reconnaissance drive he had achieved the day earlier than. Including to the problem is the wind that picks up the mud and mirages that have an effect on visibility.
Time to drive
Its 11:45 within the morning when Rahul Kakkar will get behind the wheel of the XUV300, secures the helmet and straps on the seat belt. The automotive is totally inventory, operating on the factory-recommended tyre stress of 34psi. Solely the motive force assist module that controls issues like ABS and EBD has been disconnected. It’s a sunny 21deg C and windy. There isn’t a extra time to suppose, “Sir, we’re prepared” says Rahul. “Go on Rahul, begin the engine”, Vinod Singh replies, flagging off the run.
Rahul stabs the ignition button, units the steering mode to Sport, slots first gear and releases the clutch. It’s 11:46am.
Rahul has his proper foot mashed to the ground because the automotive rips via the barren panorama. The automotive feels very energetic, and turbo lag is well-managed, with efficiency being obtainable from very low down within the rev vary. The speedo needle winds up as if pulled by a magnet on the opposite finish. It wants fast steering changes to maintain the automotive straight on the right track because the ruts and floor undulations threaten to destabilise the automotive. The lengthy journey within the suspension simply soaks up bumps and irregularities properly and mechanical grip is superb from each the tyres and the suspension alike, giving Rahul the boldness to maintain his foot planted on the accelerator. At one level, the XUV300 is flying throughout the Rann with the speedo needle nestled at 170kph – on an off-road monitor! Rahul has no concept how briskly he’s going since there is no such thing as a time to look down on the speedometer. The Garmin on the automotive is measuring each millisecond and parameters of the XUV300. He must wait until the tip to seek out out what the figures are.
And as soon as the drive ends, the ultimate figures by Garmin are attested by Vinod Singh of the India E-book of Information. They’re mighty spectacular. Distance coated: 73.0km. Time taken: 34min 10sec. Common velocity: 128kph.
And that gents, is the velocity you now must beat if you wish to maintain the off-road
land velocity report in India.