SA Dakar Toyotas in the works
SA TEAM TO TAKE ON DAKAR 2013: Team principal Glyn Hall (left) hopes the new 5.0 Toyota Hilux will carry South Africa's Dakar 2013 hopefuls to victory in South America.
Toyota has started building the Hilux bakkies that will carry South Africa's 2013 Dakar Rally hopefuls throughout the challenging race in South America.
Chief engineer Michael Jardim completed the design 40 days after creating the first of many technical drawings on his laptop in July.
Four days of testing in the Namib Desert south of Walvis Bay served as the benchmark for the new racing Hilux which will compete in the 15-day marathon through Peru, Argentina and Chile from January 5.
NO ROOM FOR ERROR
The truck will have a five-litre V8 which Toyota says will generate more torque than the 2012 4.6. Overall, the new Hilux weighs 40kg more than the 2012 Dakar challenger and the team will now have to compete in a different weight class.
Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, winners of the 2009 Dakar and third in 2012, as well Duncan Vos and Rob Howie will again crew the two South African-designed and built entries.
Team principal Glyn Hall said: “Ahead of us lie a crucial 1000 man hours during which the team will build a brand new chassis plus all the fabricated and machined components before the rest of the new racing pick-up is assembled.
“We’ve also taken into account new Dakar regulations which will see a wider car that will enable us to provide a roomier and more comfortable cabin. The vehicle will also have a lower centre of gravity to make it more adaptable to both Dakar and South African championship conditions.
“We now have a five-litre version of Toyota’s latest aluminium production V8 engine which develops more torque than the 2012 4.6. This gives better sand performance but, surprisingly, makes little difference on gravel. The extra 40kg puts us in a higher weight category but doesn’t seem to hamper the gravel performance too much."
FLIGHT TO TRIUMPH?
Hall said new Dakar rules would work in the team's favour. “Changes we’ve made since the Dakar and tested in our National championship have made it a little easier to drive, we have better traction out of corners, better turn-in and a better ride. We’re better off than we were at the end of this year’s race in terms of seconds per kilometre on gravel.
Many days of preparation lie ahead for the South African team before the two double cabs and equipment are loaded in a South African Airways freighter for the flight to South America in December 2002.
Hall warned: "Time is tight and the clock is ticking. I’m confident we will meet our deadlines. We’ve been building off-road race vehicles for the past 12 years and have a highly skilled and dedicated team.
"The trick is to do the job right the first time. We don’t have the luxury of being able to fix mistakes.”