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Toyota's Dakar 2018 contender: All new racing Hilux

2017-11-13 08:29

Image: Motorpress

South America - Dakar 2018 will see the introduction of the first all-new Toyota Hilux, since Toyota first entered the car in 2012.

The Toyota Hilux was right on the pace from the get-go, achieving a second place on debut. Since then, the Toyota Hilux has undergone constant testing and development, but the car for Dakar 2018 is all-new.

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, said: "We’ve decided to radically alter the layout and geometry of the car for the upcoming Dakar. In order to achieve our goals, we had to build and entirely new car, though we’ve certainly incorporated everything we’ve learnt over the past five years." 

The new car, known internally as the IMA model of the Toyota Hilux, features an Independent rear suspension, Mid-mounted engine, and All-wheel drive. The engine now sits just behind the front wheels, in between and slightly below the crew. The independent rear suspension has been retained, though the suspension geometry is all-new, due to the layout of the new car.

Hall said: "We’ve carried over the naturally aspirated V8 engine from the previous car, and have also retained the gearbox and most of the running gear but the way we use those components is completely new, and the tests have been highly encouraging."

Setting up the new suspension required significant testing, which Toyota Gazoo Racing SA initially carried out at its test track in Gauteng, before moving to a private track north of Upington, in the Kalahari, for further testing and validation.

Image: Motorpress

Giniel de Villiers, who did the bulk of the test driving, said: "We’ve done more than 3,000 km of testing on the new Toyota Hilux. The car feels extremely fast and well-balanced, and I’m looking forward to taking it on Dakar 2018."

That jump! Giniel de Villiers sends the #Toyota 2017 Dakar Hilux airborne. @toyota_sa #Dakar @toyotamotorsportgmbh

A post shared by Sergio Davids (@davids_sergio) on

The new car has been developed in accordance with the latest rules from the sport’s governing body, the FIA. As such, it has 12% more suspension travel than before, and also weighs less than the previous version.

In terms of other equipment, the Toyota Hilux IMA sports the same running gear as in the previous version, which means that the reliability of the previous car is retained, and paired with the sharper handling and better balance of the new layout.

Hall said: "One never wants to be over confident, especially with a race as tough as the Dakar.

"But at the same time, we feel we’re onto a winning recipe here, and if the rule changes better balance the performance of the petrol-powered cars and the turbodiesels, I have every reason to believe that we’re in with a shout."

That jump! Giniel de Villiers sends the #Toyota 2017 Dakar Hilux airborne. @toyota_sa #Dakar @toyotamotorsportgmbh

A post shared by Sergio Davids (@davids_sergio) on

 

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