Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe win the Crossover Class in the 2019 Rebelle Rally driving a Rolls-Royce Cullinan

When Rolls-Royce Motor Cars designed the Cullinan, they envisioned it being ‘Effortless, Everywhere’, and that vehicle was tested to its very limits as a competitor in the 2019 Rebelle Rally, which is an all-female competition. The Cullinan, piloted by driver Emme Hall with direction by navigator Rebecca Donaghe, contended this unique adventure which combines elements of serious competition as teams navigate their way to checkpoints across the American West.

The Rebelle Rally, entering its fourth year, is the first all-female off-road navigational rally in the United States. The event has a unique challenge and scoring system where precise navigation and timing, not speed, is the ultimate goal. Participants trade in cell phones and GPS for old-school navigation in a competition for the elements of time, distance, headings, and hidden checkpoints. Armed only with maps, compasses, and roadbooks, 50 teams of two will be pushed to their limits as they make their way across 2,000+ kilometres of Nevada and California’s iconic terrain.

Emme and Rebecca won the Crossover Class, which is open to unibody construction and two-wheel or all-wheel drive (no low range) vehicles.

” [I am] proud of the driving skills and the restraint Emma showed in keeping this glamorous beast we called Eleanor performing at her impressive best even though they both wanted to go flat out with speed at every opportunity,” said Rebecca via Instagram.

Rolls-Royce’s celebrated Magic Carpet Ride is experienced off-road as well as on-road thanks to the new lighter architecture, and the latest generation of self-levelling air suspension. When driving off-road, the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction to ensure every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is being provided to all wheels.

“The drivetrain system we engineered for Cullinan had one key job to do,” explains Caroline Krismer, Engineering Project Leader for Cullinan. “To bring the famed Rolls-Royce ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ to all other terrains possible, while ensuring class-leading on-road behaviour in the SUV sector.”

Through a re-engineering of the existing air suspension system – including adding larger air struts with more air volume to cushion the blows of the toughest of terrains, the suspension makes millions of calculations every second as it continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system – reacting to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs and camera information. A new double-wishbone front axle and 5-link rear axle deliver astounding levels of control over lateral roll and shear forces and deliver incredible agility and stability, as does the addition of four-wheel steering, all contributing to incredible drivability and nimbleness.

“Put simply, what makes the car great on-road makes the car great off-road,” concludes Krismer.

Cullinan features the reworked new 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine to deliver just the right level of torque (850Nm) at the lowest possible revolutions (1,600rpm.) The Rolls-Royce engineering team has ensured Cullinan will take owners to places no modern Rolls-Royce owner has travelled in luxury before.

Mated to the celebrated Rolls-Royce V12 6.75 liter engine is an enhanced state of the art and fully capable eight-speed transmission that delivers with power and grace.  Using Rolls-Royce’s unique Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT) technology, Cullinan’s systems read road and altitude data from the GPS system and anticipate upcoming gear shifts. This advanced SAT system reduces gear shifts by 20%, giving a more efficient and smoother ride regardless of road conditions. The drive system also features strengthened drive and prop shafts, the inclusion of drive to the front wheels as well as the back for the first time in Rolls-Royce history

The final piece of the puzzle of ensuring that the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is Effortless, Everywhere is one single button. Known within Rolls-Royce as the ‘Everywhere’ button, one single push is all it takes to harness all the aforementioned peerless Rolls-Royce engineering and unleash all of Cullinan’s off-road capability.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan fitted with Rebelle Rally options.

Once engaged, the driver can finesse the off-road setting to conquer any situation, whether it be rough track, gravel, wet grass, mud, snow or sand delivering all 627 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels without interruption. Faced with deep snow, sand or the need to ford streams, Cullinan also delivers the deepest wading depth of any super-luxury SUV at 21-inches (540 mm) thanks to its highest ride height.

Emme and Rebecca have shown the true potential of the Cullinan and this is something that Rolls-Royce should be immensely proud of.

Photographs by Nicole Dreon via Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.