1 September 2023

Applications are now open for next season’s one-make off-road motorsport championship

  • 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 abroad.



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.

Calum McKechnie
General Manager, Bowler Motors

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.

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.

Mark Cameron
Managing Director for Defender and Discovery

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 300PS, 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.

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.

Dave Marsh
Head of Motorsport, Bowler Motors

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 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:


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.

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.

Calum McKechnie
General Manager, Bowler Motors

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.

Entries now open for 2024 season with limited spaces available


Further information

Base Defender Specification:

  • Model Defender 90 P300 SE
  • Engine 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
  • Power/torque 296bhp/400Nm
  • Transmission Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph 6.7 seconds
  • Top speed 119mph (limited when in Bowler Mode)
  • Fuel economy 24.6mpg
  • 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


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 specification.


Defender Bowler 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 and linking suspension mounts
  • Internal spare wheel mount integrated to roll cage
  • Provision for additional fuel tank and bulkhead required in FIA events
  • 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 – revised to meet needs of competition use
  • Increased transmission cooling capacity
  • Bowler Sports exhaust
  • Bowler 18-inch motorsport wheels, lighter and strengthened
  • All-terrain BFGoodrich tyres
  • Bespoke suspension design with modified subframes, 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 – 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
  • 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, Sales & Marketing Commercial Manager, Bowler Motors Ltd


T: +44 (0)7585 404 630


Social Channels:






Notes to Editors

About Defender

Defender 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.

As part of a sustainability-rich vision of modern luxury by design, Defender 110 is available as an electric hybrid.

Defender Hard Top means business, with 90 and 110 body styles for professional capability.

A beacon of liberty since 1948, Defender 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 is 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

 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 Land Rover 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