The Dakar is the world’s toughest rally, and the Gazoo racing team has been winning accolades there, for 2021 they’re upping the stakes by running more cars.
Toyota’s racing division, named Gazoo racing is to enter four teams for the 2021 Dakar rally. Active since 2012 the Toyota Gazoo racing team has won several accolades in the prestigious rally, finishing 3rd in 2012, 2nd in 2015, 3rd in 2016, 2nd in 2018, 1st in 2019 and 2nd in 2020. The four teams will be equipped with the latest Toyota Hilux which has been developed in Johannesburg at the team’s headquarters, it is a development of the 2018 model which has already performed phenomenally around the world.
The Hilux has a mid-engine mount, four-wheel drive for the extreme conditions and independent rear suspension to keep the car stable at high speeds on uneven roads. It has proven its mettle by coming 2nd in 2018 and 2020 and winning the Dakar in 2019. The Hilux is now been modified to resemble the present gen Hilux, which is unmatched in its off-road capabilities and has seen several refinements for the 2020 model year, focus of which is the new 2.8L V8 TurboDiesel engine that produces 150kW and 500Nm of torque for the Automatic version making the car much more capable for off-roading than before. There is a new Electronic Limited-slip differential that can be applied to 2WD mode for better grip.
The Hilux comes with advanced technological aids to supplement its Unbreakable durability, like the tuned accelerator, VSC, Variable Flow Control for steering and a new monitor for the tyre angles. The ground clearance is at 310mm which is more than sufficient to overcome most obstacles and keep the downsides safe and clear of debris, while keeping the wading depth at 700mm. The approach angle is 29-degrees and departure angle is 26-degrees, which place the Hilux quite up at the top. The towing capacity is also the best-in-class. While Toyota has given the Hilux a more SUV-like appearance and feature set, the car has lost none of its unmatchable off-road capability and body strength.
The Hilux has improved its interiors too, to appeal to some of the younger customers and features better connectivity. Despite the upgrades, the car retains most of its workhorse oriented design. The Race Hilux is from constant development much more advanced than the commercial version, and features reinforced chassis, suspension and body. The car lacks creature comforts to keep it light and the body is bare minimum. The engine is a 5L V8 that pushes 385bhp and a massive 620Nm of torque and can propel it above any obstacle the Dakar can throw at it.
For the 2021 race the Hilux will once again be driven by the winners of 2019- Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel with the second car being driven by Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro. newcomers Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings in the third car with Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy in the fourth are the Four pairs of Hilux race crews. The 2021 Dakar will start on January 3rd onwards till 15th, and will start and end at Jeddah, the race will be governed by using digital roadbooks made available right before the start of stage to keep the element of surprise and unpredictability.
The Toyota Hilux starts at £26,895( INR 26 lakh) and is being presently evaluated for sale in the Indian subcontinent which is improving as a market for Pick-up trucks.
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