Toyota Ready To Tackle 2017 Dakar Rally With New Hilux Evo

The South African arm of Toyota Gazoo Racing revealed their new Dakar Rally challenger, based on the Hilux pickup truck.

The all-new race car features a mid-engine configuration and a rear-drive setup, making it faster and lighter than the previous all-wheel drive Hilux racer.

Toyota’s new Dakar racer tips the scales at 1,300kg versus the 1,915kg of the 4×4 version. The new race car has also larger wheels with 37-inch tires, a significantly longer suspension travel and an onboard tire 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.”

Sitting in the middle of the chassis, the normally aspirated V8 unit will get a 38mm restrictor which will allow it to breathe more efficiently. This year will also be the first time that Toyota, Mini and Peugeot will be using the same size restrictor, as previous years saw Toyota’s competitors getting either a 1mm or 2mm advantage.

Toyota will put the new Hilux Evo under rigorous testing before shipping it off to South Africa at the end of the year for the Dakar Rally. Behind its wheel will sit former Dakar winner and newly crowned FIA Cross Country World Cup Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah with navigator Matthieu Baumel sitting next to him.

Al-Attiyah will join Giniel de Villiers and Leeroy Poulter in the driver line-up for 2017. Dirk von Zitzewitz will be De Villiers’ navigator and Poulter will have Rob Howie beside him. The 2017 Dakar rally will start in Asunción, Paraguay, before heading through Bolivia and finishing in Buenos Aires in Argentina, between 2-14 January.

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