It's out: Toyota Dakar '13 Hilux
FUTURE DAKAR RALLY CRUSHER: Toyota SA has unveiled the Hilux it hopes will dominate and win the 2013 edition of the gruelling Dakar Rally.
Toyota SA has unveiled the livery for its 2013 Dakar Rally Hilux bakkies and invited keen fans to “join the team” to win a Hilux (sans race stickers) of their own.
The new Hilux being prepared is for the gruelling 2013 edition of the Dakar Rally but Toyota SA’s Motorsport division called a halt to the proceedings for one evening to provide some feedback on the 2012 baptism-of-fire and the great expectations ahead of the January 1, 2013, race start.
MORE CARS, PLEASE
In 2012 the rapidly assembled Toyota Hilux team, under the guidance of Glyn Hall’s Hallspeed, sent four SA-built bakkies across the Atlantic Ocean to contest the route between Mar del Plata, Argentina and Lima in Peru – and finished with three in the top 10, including a podium finish for Dakar veteran and 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers and his German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz.
Perhaps as testament to the success of the Toyota Hilux debut performance Calvyn Hamman, Toyota SA’s vice-president for sales and marketing, announced that Hallspeed had been approached to prepare eight Hiluxes for the 2013 event.
“There are more nerves this year,” Hamman said. “We’re better prepared but still have high expectations. The mood has changed: for 2012 we said ‘go and do your best’. For 2013 we say ‘go and win!’”
He was being dead serious. Hall and De Villiers agreed.
De Villiers said: “We’re expecting a lot of very strong teams but we’re in a better position than we were last time. We will, again, depend on the reliability of the Hilux. We have a chance for victory.
“The rules have come a little closer to us (we ran to the 2013 rules this year), we’ve done some good testing and we’ve built a Hilux that’s even stronger.”
In the 2012 Dakar, the SA-built Hilux was the only team to run under the new rules that will be enforced from 2013. The new Dakar rules are based on those used in SA's local off-road championship; Hall admitted "we're testing all the time".
The most notable rule change is that teams must use a production engine and Toyota, in 2012’s T1.5 category, claimed the top three finishers under the new rules, using a 4.6-litre V8.
“For 2013,” Hall continued, “we’ve applied some technology ‘below the line’ that should make us faster and we’ve addressed two things raised by Giniel. We’ve extracted more torque from the (new Lexus-sourced) five-litre V8 and, through chassis adjustments, the Hilux also has a lower centre of gravity and is slightly wider than the last car.”
'WE WON'T BE INTIMIDATED'
Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, current leaders in the SA Off-Road championships, will again campaign the second Toyota SA Hilux on the 15-day trek across the three South American countries. They finished 10th in their debut Dakar in 2012 and will contest the 2013 race in the older car.
Driver Vos said: “We won’t be as in intimidated as we were last year. We’ll attack and drive with more confidence. With the new rules and the knowledge gained, it should be a great race. I’m confident we will be competitive, even with the older car.”
Preparations for the 2013 challenge are well under way. The initial construction of the chromoly (chromium and molybdenum) tubular steel space frame chassis and roll cage is almost complete and will soon be handed over to the assembly team.
Hall said: “In addition, we’ve been making spare parts to support our and customer Hilux owners’ Dakar efforts and we’ve also been supplying assembly kits to the Belgian Team Overdrive which has begun building its own SA-designed Hilux racers under licence. They’re manufacturing the chassis in Belgium, we’re supplying all the components.”
ALL GOING TO DAKAR
The two Dakar Hilux bakkies will be subjected to shakedowns and additional dune testing before being loaded on to pallets and flown to South America in mid-December.
Eager Dakar fans will be able to get in on the action at a dedicated website where you can register and “join” the Hilux Dakar team – and perhaps win a Hilux.
Registered members will be able to follow the local Hiluxes’ progress, access live feeds from the actual Dakar event, and engage in chat sessions with the team members.
Flags bearing the names of the site’s “team members” will also be taken to Argentina, Chile and Peru to contest the race.