Toyota South Africa Motors and Toyota Gazoo Racing SA are excited to announce significant changes to its strategy for Dakar 2017 and beyond. This includes a revolutionary new race vehicle, known as the Toyota Hilux Evo; as well as the inclusion of multiple winner of the Dakar Rally, Nasser Al-Attiyah, in the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA squad.
“It is an exciting time for us,” says Toyota SA Motors’s Glenn Crompton, Vice-President, Marketing. “We firmly believe in the Dakar Rally as a means to showcase our technological advances and the legendary toughness of the Toyota Hilux. The arrival of the new vehicle is the next step on this spectacular journey, and we welcome the Toyota Hilux Evo to our stable.”
The new race vehicle sports two-wheel-drive, increased suspension travel, onboard tyre inflation and deflation and a larger air restrictor, as some of the many changes that should allow Toyota Gazoo Racing SA to compete on a more competitive footing during Dakar 2017.
In addition to the new vehicle, the team is also overjoyed at the inclusion of former Dakar winner and newly crowned FIA Cross Country World Cup Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah and his navigator Matthieu Baumel, in the team. Al-Attiyah was rated as the FIA’s top driver during 2015, and will certainly bolster the team’s chances during Dakar 2017.
“Nasser has been extremely happy behind the wheel of our Toyota Hilux, winning round after round of the FIA’s World Cup,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “We’re looking forward to his input in the development of the new vehicle, and even more to him donning the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA colours for Dakar 2017.
”Al-Attiyah will join Giniel de Villiers and Leeroy Poulter in the driver line-up for 2017, while De Villiers will again be partnered by long-standing German navigator, Dirk von Zitzewitz. Poulter will have Rob Howie beside him in the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux, for their fourth Dakar together.
With Dakar 2017 less than six months away, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA unveiled the all-new Toyota Hilux Evo that will compete in South America, come January 2017. The new vehicle represents a revolution for the team, as it is an entirely new concept, utilising two-wheel-drive rather than the four-wheel-drive systems of the past. Opting for two-wheel-drive allows for a set of rules with more freedom than is afforded to four-wheel-drive vehicles.
“We are very excited about this new direction,” says Toyota SA Motors’ Glenn Crompton. “At its core this is very much still a true Toyota Hilux, but at the same time we firmly believe it offers us new opportunities for Dakar 2017 and beyond.”
The new vehicle conforms to all the rules as set out by the FIA, and used by the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), organisers of the Dakar Rally. This means the vehicle sports a significantly lower overall weight of 1,300 kg as a target, versus the 1,915 kg of the 4x4 version of the Toyota Hilux. It also features larger wheels and tyres of 940 mm (in diameter) versus 805 mm for 4x4, significantly greater suspension travel and an onboard tyre inflation/deflation system.
“Essentially, this is our take on what a two-wheel-drive Dakar challenger should be,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “We’ve taken all the testing and real-world experience we gained with the four-wheel-drive Toyota Hilux over the past five years, and repackaged it in the lighter, faster Toyota Hilux Evo.”
Under its skin, the Toyota Hilux Evo features an innovative layout that sees all essential components – the engine and transmission – housed between the two axles. This gives the vehicle an advantage over its competitors in terms of weight distribution, and with all the heaviest components placed near the bottom of the vehicle, the centre of gravity is lower than ever before. More freedom in the regulations allowed the engineers to explore new ideas and avenues.
“The important thing for us was to retain as much as possible from the previous vehicle in terms of suspension setup and engine tech,” continues Hall. “With this in mind we’ve stayed with the same proven, state-of-the-art V8 engine, and used all our knowledge when designing and setting up the suspension.”
For the 2017 edition of the Dakar the ASO have announced the average altitude for the race is above 2000 metres. This means that the normally aspirated V8 will enjoy a 38 mm restrictor for the first time, allowing the modern Toyota engine to breathe more efficiently. It will also be the first time that Toyota, MINI and Peugeot will be using the same size restrictor, as previous years saw our competitors sport either a 1 mm or 2mm advantage.
‘‘This is good news indeed,” concludes Crompton. “The new car, along with the bigger restrictor, will place us in a strong position, giving our drivers a platform to work from when starting the race in January.’’
The new vehicle will now undergo rigorous testing and refinement, before being shipped off to South America at the end of the year, in time to take on the world’s most grueling motor sports event – the Dakar Rally.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA acknowledges its sponsors and specialist official supplier and technical partners.
Toyota continues to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with Hallspeed, TFM, SKF, Spanjaard, Robor, OMP, NGK, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Supreme Springs, Shatterprufe, Smith’s Manufacturing, TRD, Peritus Forex, Mapa and 4x4 Mega World. Also Duxbury Netgear, Innovation Group and SAA Cargo.