Defender Rally | Driver Development 2025 | Bowler Motors

Your Pathway to Becoming a Rally Driver

The Defender Rally Series, a collaboration between JLR and Bowler, invites motorsport enthusiasts to embrace the thrill of rally driving and cross country competition.

With your purchase of one of our new Bowler Defender rally cars, we include the ultimate motorsport package as you enter the Season, to help you to maximise your experience.

Our Driver Development Programme can take a complete novice to the sport and provide training, mentoring and subject matter experts to enable them to compete safely and enjoy the incredible adventures the Defender can deliver.

We’ll take you on an adventure and a competition experience that sits across Cross Country and Rally disciplines, with a focus on safely developing your driver skills and connecting you with the rally community coupled with a great team atmosphere.

“The Defender Rally Series showcases our highly capable all-terrain vehicles in the toughest environments. In true heroic spirit competitors take a new Defender 90 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 this gruelling but exhilarating off-road championship”

Mark Cameron, Defender and Discovery Managing Director

Comprehensive Training and Growth

Our Driver Development Programme is tailored to nurture your skills and foster growth at every stage.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned driver, our expert guidance and practical training empower you to handle all types of terrain and conditions safely and efficiently.

All the internal tuition and mentoring is included in the cost of the car package and season UK Championship entry.

Structured Progression

Our carefully curated journey of events will take you from the basics of vehicle dynamics to mastering rally driving over various (wide range of) types of terrain.

Each event we take you to will build on your learnings, with a view of ending the first year with an upgraded National Licence (obtaining a full national cross-country licence), which enables you to compete rally in bigger events abroad from the following year.

Explore European Landscapes

It doesn’t stop at the completion of the training phase, with a UK Championship structured to provide progression in acquiring further skills and experience. Each event brings new challenges that are provided to continue the development.

First Year entrants will be entered into the best rally courses the UK has to offer, with hill rally and cross-country events the UK has to offer.

Also available is the opportunity to race in Iceland; a bucket-list destination for many. This unique hill rally event is open to first year rally drivers in our Defender Rally Series and offers an incredible driving adventure with memories to last a lifetime.

The objective for Year One driver teams is to achieve the National Licence upgrade by the end of the year, to give them the choice to compete in special events further afield.

Check Out Highlights From Iceland

Prepare for Global Competition

On completion of the UK Championship, you can expect to be well-prepared to take on the longer European events that hone your capabilities further. The previous training and experiences will prepare you well for the new challenges across other countries, in the EU Baja Championship.

By the end of the second year, you will be ready for some exceptional destination events from the Arctic Rally in Finland BAJA Aragon to the BAJA Morocco. These provide incredible challenges and amazing team experiences that are unique to the JLR/Bowler programme.

The series also forms a great way to go from a UK Interclub licence to full international in a way that ensures a full level of understanding so that competitors can take on the world’s biggest cross-country events such as the Dakar.

Driver Development Pathway

We offer a multi-year driver development pathway with driving adventures in the UK and abroad, structured by your experience level with us.

This is what you can expect once you’ve joined the Defender Rally Series:

  • Guidance and advice on UK competition licence
  • Exclusive one day course for Defender vehicle dynamics and terrain reading from our world renowned facility at Eastnor Castle
  • Interclub Rally licence qualification through our recommended rally training providers, Silverstone Rally School
  • 3 days of pre-season competition training at Walters Arena including
    • Event organisation and structure
    • Navigation
    • Timing
    • Event and incident safety
    • Driving techniques
    • High speed terrain reading
    • Vehicle dynamics
    • Understanding vehicle capability
    • Working with your service crew
    • Race simulation

You would then start the racing, and our support follows on to include:

  • Dedicated event motorsport specialist to provide advice and mentoring around specific event styles and the challenges the competitors will face
  • Pre event team race briefings with up to date event details
  • Race team manager and technicians to provide support and advice relating to all vehicle related technical matters
  • Engineering team lead supporting vehicle development

Year 1 Drivers – The UK Championship Development Pathway

Simulation race to provide confidence and understanding of race conditions prior to the first round and have time for one to one mentoring prior to the first points scoring event. 80 stage miles discipline cross country.

  • R1 is an exclusive JLR Bowler event to enable competitors to find their feet and have time for one to one mentoring. 80 stage miles. Discipline Cross Country
  • R2 Stage Rally introducing competitors to other competitors and surface conditions. Development of Rally Navigation and Timing. 50 stage miles Discipline Gravel Rally
  • R3 Hill Rally providing further cross country terrain experience over a multi stage format. 85 stage miles. Discipline Cross Country
  • R4 Stage Rally with Mutli stage format furthering Rally discipline understanding and car control.50 stage miles. Discipline Gravel Rally
  • R5 Hill Rally with further cross country driving skill development over a multi stage format. 85 stage miles. Discipline Cross Country
  • R6 Stage Rally where competitors have full confidence in their car handling capability and terrain reading over a multi stage format event. 50 stage miles. Discipline Gravel Rally
  • R7 Hill Rally as the culmination of the season including night stages to underpin all of the learning from the entire season. 110 stage miles Discipline Cross Country

Year 2 Drivers – The European BAJA series development pathway

  • UK event as a season opener comp safari style single stage multi lap format approx. 80 miles race distance. Discipline Cross Country
  • R2 French Tout Terrain event multi stage introducing competitors to overseas style events. 90 km of stages Discipline Cross Country with a rally style format
  • R3 Spanish BAJA providing the first experience in long distance stages and the disciplines required to compete. 400 km of stages. Discipline Cross Country
  • R4 Iceland. Hill Rally format, an event over three days.Multiple locations and multiple stages with wide ranging terrain variations. 550 km of stages. Discipline Cross Country
  • R5 Spanish BAJA. culmination to the European BAJA series with long stages to further underpin the pace required for this event style. 400 km of stages. Discipline Cross Country

Year 3 Drivers – Adventure Race Opportunities

  • Arctic Rally Lapland 200km of stages
    • Pre-event Ice driver training with specialist support from our in region Rally school partners.
    • Competing in the Arctic Rally with new surface conditions and driving disciplines. Discipline Rally
  • Morocco Desert Raid experience.
    • Three day desert training including Dune driving and Rally Raid navigation
    • Competing in the 5 day BAJA Morocco including multiple stages with a daily stage distance averaging 300km total event stage distance approx 1200 km
  • Completion of the MSUK competition Licence upgrade from RS National to International level by including a number of year 1 and year 2 events to achieve the required number of signatures
  • BAJA Aragon competing in one of the worlds premier BAJA events alongside Dakar and W2RC champions. This is essential exposure to FIA events for those with ambitions to go even further approximately 550 km of stages.

Year 4 And Beyond

With three years of competition and professional input, clients are at this point equipped with the experience and knowledge to enable them to compete in International Rally Raid events on the global stage.

Join us

Places in the Series for the 2025 Season are limited. Begin your journey to become a rally driver today. Don’t miss your chance to join our upcoming Defender Rally Series. Sign up below for further details.

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Watch Vanessa Ruck as she describes Her Journey

At Bowler, a subsidiary of JLR, you can maintain and upgrade your Defender, or experience the thrill of racing by joining the Defender Rally Series. Contact us via the details below.