28 February 2024

  • Bold look: The Defender brand reveals bold new livery and driver line‑up for the 2024 Defender Rally Series UK on the eve of the new season, beginning on March 2 
  • Signature statement: Each of the 16 vehicles in this year’s championship will feature a distinct version of the livery, with a signature color chosen by the teams  
  • Growing competition: Defender 90‑based rally series is limited to 16 driver and co‑driver pairings in 2024, the largest entry list yet  
  • Unique challenge: Thrilling, tough seven‑event season comprises gravel and hill rallies in Wales, Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland  
  • Driver development: Defender Rally Series provides a driver progression journey, building rallying skills with a view to upgrading competitor rally licences  
  • Works support: Novice and experienced rally drivers compete in specially prepared 300PS Defender 90 vehicles with dedicated works‑level race support from Bowler crew 
  • International opportunities: Competitors can progress to the European Baja Championship and other one‑off international events

Mahwah, NJ–February 28, 2024: The Defender brand has revealed the 2024 Defender Rally Series vehicle and driver line‑up ahead of the opening round of this year’s UK championship on Saturday 2 March.

This year’s Defender Rally Series UK will have the largest competitive field in the championship’s history, with up to 16 driver and co‑driver pairings contesting each event. It brings novice and experienced drivers together to compete in the UK’s premier one‑make off‑road motorsport championship. Applications are already open – and in demand – for 2025.

This season’s drivers have diverse motorsport backgrounds, from novices and track‑day enthusiasts to experienced circuit and off‑road racers. All of them will benefit from expert driver coaching and works support across the season.

Each of the specially prepared Defender 90 vehicles will feature a unique take on the new 2024 championship livery, customised to suit each competitor with a statement colour behind a signature black pattern.

The Defender Rally Series showcases our highly capable all‑terrain vehicles in some of the toughest environments. In true heroic spirit competitors take a new Defender 90 vehicle and, with only the lightest of specialist rally preparation, embark on a series of punishing challenges to test the durability of vehicle and crew. The Defender Rally Series is inspired by the adventure in the DNA of the brand and we are proud to be pioneers in his gruelling but exhilarating off‑road championship.

Mark Cameron
Defender and Discovery Managing Director

The rally‑ready Defender vehicles campaigned in the series are closely related to P300 production models with added rally features and modifications, including race‑specification seats, FIA‑approved roll cage and fire extinguishers. They use the same powerful 296 hp Ingenium gas engine, responsive 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*. 

The third annual Defender Rally Series features seven rounds and begins with a bespoke Defender event at Walters Arena in Wales (2‑3 March). Every round is designed to challenge and thrill in equal measure, allowing competitors to develop their skills in a close and competitive field – whether they are new to rallying or seasoned drivers looking to develop and progress towards higher‑level competitions. 

The 2024 Defender Rally Series is our biggest yet, and will give every participant the opportunity to experience the Defender vehicle at its very best, taking on some of the UK’s toughest, high‑speed rally terrain. Combining the engineering integrity of showroom models with Bowler expertise and support provides the ultimate off‑road racing package, allowing the drivers to simply arrive and drive. Every Defender 90 vehicle is prepared to the very highest standard, and we are thrilled to start a new UK season, as well as a growing number of international events.

Calum McKechnie
General Manager, Bowler Motors

Competitors who will be living the Defender brand's ‘embrace the impossible’ ethos in the 2024 Defender Rally Series include former Boyzone member Shane Lynch, and Vanessa Ruck, an adventure motorcycle racer and online content creator. She finished fourth in the 2023 UK Championship with multiple podiums to her name and will also contest the European Baja Championship this year.

2024 Defender Rally Series UK Championship Calendar

Round 1Walters Arena2-3 March
Round 2Rally Nuts Severn Valley Stages, Builth Wells12-13 April
Round 3Summer Scottish Hill Rally31 May-2 June
Round 4Nicky Grist Stages, Builth Wells12-13 July
Round 5Yorkshire Hill Rally13-15 September
Round 6Clare Forest Rally Ireland4-6 October
Round 7Scottish Borders Hill Rally15-17 November

As well as the Defender Rally Series UK, participants have the option to embark on specially curated international events throughout 2024. The Defender Rally Series European Baja Championship comprises four events, the first in Wales followed by France, Spain and Iceland, with some intended for those in their second year of the Series with the required rally licence. The one‑off Balkan Rally‑Raid Experience individual race event takes place in September, with more than 500km of competitive driving. 

For pricing and information and to register for the 2025 season, visit

Further information

UK 2024 Championship Competitors (Driver/Co‑driver)

  • Jay Cannon/Sophie Roper
  • Luke Fairhead/Paul Chambers
  • Ed Williams/Chris Hammond
  • Richard Wynne‑Williams/TBA
  • Dennis Ferry/Richard Mills
  • Justin Dooling/Terina Dooling
  • Paul McCallum/Peter King
  • Nathan Burrell/Matthew Kirby
  • Richard Kingsley Smith/Adel Tyson
  • Mark Thomas/Phil Mackay
  • Shane Lynch/Harry Nichol
  • Tom Bell/John Tomley
  • Paul Hulston/Gareth Bent

European Baja 2024 Championship Competitors (Driver/Co‑driver)

  • Miles Williams/Matt Lowe
  • Dave Beecroft/Fraser Parish
  • Dan Beecroft/Barney Gillespie
  • Syd Phillimore/Lee Caroline
  • Jorma Jokela/Janne Jokela
  • Vanessa Ruck/Chris Hammond
  • Andrew Burgess/Dan Hutchings
  • Paul White/Barney Gillespie/Paul Chambers

Vehicle Specification:

  • Model                          Defender 90 P300 SE
  • Engine                          2.0‑liter 4cyl turbo gas 
  • Power/torque               296bhp/400Nm
  • Transmission                Eight‑speed automatic, four‑wheel drive 
  • 0‑60mph                      6.7 seconds*
  • Top speed                     119mph* (limited when in Bowler Mode)
  • CO2                              260g/km
  • Fuel capacity                 90 litres
  • Weight                         2,165kg
  • Length                          4,583mm
  • Width                           2,105mm
  • Height                          1,974mm
  • Wheelbase                   2,587mm
  • Turning circle                11.0m

* Always follow local speed limits.

Defender Rally Series vehicle specification (modifications from base):

  • Structural Body and Chassis:
  • Monocoque bracing – minimises body movement and supports underbody protection
  • Full FIA internal roll cage integrated with body
  • Internal spare wheel mount 
  • 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


  • Enhanced cooling to meet needs of competition use
  • Increased transmission cooling capacity
  • Bowler Sports exhaust 
  • Bowler 18‑inch motorsport wheels, strengthened
  • All‑terrain BFGoodrich tyres
  • Bespoke suspension design with new springs and bespoke Fox dampers
  • Front upper wishbone revised to reflect new ride height geometry
  • Race steering wheel 
  • High‑level air intake


  • ECU system integration with race box
  • ABS/DSC – rally control modifications
  • Integrated wiring harness for new components
  • New rally‑spec facia 
  • Navigator control unit for lights/washer/horn
  • Special Bowler mode


  • High‑level rear marker lights (for Hill Rally Regulations)
  • Polycarbonate door and rear windows
  • 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
  • Wheelarch extensions utilising accessory fitment
  • Door lowers – new claddings on shortened doors to enable underbody and sill protection

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
  • Column‑mounted gearshift paddle – unique to Bowler
  • Rear door manual release mechanism
  • GRP wheelarch liners – increased strength to meet rally requirements

For media inquiries, interviews, or additional information about the Defender Rally Series, please contact:

Rob Cooney, Commercial Manager, Bowler Motors Ltd

Laura Parry, Marketing Manager, Bowler Motors Ltd

Media website: 

Social Channels:






Notes to Editors

About the Defender Brand

The Defender brand embraces the impossible. Each member of the Defender family is purposefully designed, highly desirable and seriously durable. A modern‑day hero that respects the past but at the same time anticipates the future.

Available in 90, 110 and 130 body styles, with up to eight seats, each has a charisma of its own.

A beacon of liberty since 1948, the Defender brand supports humanitarian and conservation work with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Tusk Trust. 

The Defender brand is underpinned by Land Rover – a mark of trust built on 75 years of expertise in technology and world‑leading off‑road capability. 

Defender vehicles are designed and engineered in the UK and sold in 121 countries. It belongs to the JLR house of brands alongside Range Rover, Discovery and Jaguar.

Important notice
JLR is constantly seeking ways to improve the specification, design and production of its vehicles, parts and accessories and alterations take place continually. Whilst every effort is made to produce up‑to‑date literature, this document should not be regarded as an infallible guide to current specifications or availability, nor does it constitute an offer for the sale of any particular vehicle, part or accessory. All figures are manufacturer’s estimates.

*About Bowler

Bowler was acquired by Jaguar Land Rover in December 2019 and forms a subsidiary division of JLR. It has been granted use of the Defender name under licence from JLR.

Bowler’s motorsport heritage

1985 Drew Bowler begins making and selling competitive safari and trials cars from his home in Derbyshire

1991 Drew Bowler wins ARC National Comp Safari

2000 Bowler first competes in world‑famous Dakar Rally in Africa, and races in central Europe

2004 Bowler vehicle wins British Hill Rally Championship

2005 Largest ever Dakar entry makes Bowler the second‑largest factory team, with the highest finisher rate

2006 Bowler vehicles win both the British Baja National Championship and the French Baja

2012 Bowler agrees brand partnership with JLR across sponsorship, marketing and engineering

2014 Defender Challenge launched to prepare competitors for Dakar and Bowler moves to new facility

2016 Cross Sector Platform (CSP) development begins. Company founder Drew Bowler sadly passes away 

2018 Bowler vehicles claim first, second and fourth overall on Tuareg Rallye

2019 JLR acquires Bowler

2020 Bowler granted licence by JLR to produce road‑biased Defender Station Wagon – codenamed CSP 575

2021 The Tata Elxsi Bowler Defender Challenge is announced

2022 For year two of the competition, the championship launches the Defender Rally Series by Bowler 2023

2023 Defender Rally Series takes clients to Europe and Iceland for larger Baja events