Hiluxes win sprint to South Pole

2011-12-23 07:32

A group of extreme adventurers chose to commemorate the centenary of the Amundsen-Scott race to the South Pole in fitting fashion – they “sprinted” to the frozen point in snow-ready Hiluxes in record time, nogal.

Using two Hilux AT44 6x6 and two Hilux AT44 4x4 vehicles originally built in Toyota South Africa's Prospecton plant in Durban in 2010 and thereafter converted to AT44 specification at the automaker’s Sandton workshops, a team from Extreme World Races (EWR) recently set a new world record for the fastest time taken to reach the South Pole.

The Hilux AT44 Expedition vehicles travelled at an average speed of 21.4 km/h following a route from the ice edge neat McMurdo South on the southern side of Antarctica, across the Ross Ice Shelf and on to the Antarctic plateau to reach their destination.

Their journey started on December 16 and the Pole was reached on December 18, 2011 – only 47 hours later, of which only 17.5 hours was spent driving.


This still unofficial record was set as part of a bigger expedition by the EWR team. They had set out to twice traverse the Antarctic continent from coast to coast and the first continental crossing was completed on December 14, precisely 100 years after Amundsen’s arrival at the South Pole.

The team’s second arrival at the South Pole (on 18 December) also meant they notched up another accolade – their expedition has driven the longest distance ever on Antarctica and also completed the longest traverse from coast to coast.

From Novolazarevskaya station (Novo) to McMurdo they covered almost 4 500 km and back to the South Pole another 1 350 km, a distance of 5 850 km in freezing snow and ice conditions and white-outs.

One team member remarked that the Hilux vehicles can carry 3-4 tons of equipment “and still float over the surface. They are a God sent!” he exclaimed.

The first record set by the Arctic Truck Hilux bakkies – and officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records – was already recorded in December 2010 when two of the vehicles crossed 2308km of the Antarctica High Plateau from Novo to the South Pole in 108 hours, or 4.5 days.

  • christo.stone - 2011-12-23 09:18

    Moral of the story...buy a Hilux :p

  • Lourens - 2011-12-23 10:26

    I would like to see any stock standard vehicle try this. But yes I suppose there is a reason why hilux vehicles are used for this in the first place. I suppose my Ranger is not the preferred choice. :(

      Cy - 2011-12-24 11:47

      @lourens toyota wasn't the preferred choice, nissan was, toyota was the only company willing to sponsor them.

  • Trevor - 2011-12-23 11:48

    Stupid...is there no place man won't try to contaminate...vehicles in such a sensitive enviroment is a ticking time bomb...well done Toyota...idiots

      Mark - 2011-12-23 13:24

      Sorry, but I don't hear the bomb ticking, and why should it? They're driving on ice and any tracks left will be covered up by the next snow storm. There is no danger of causing soil erosion or destroying sensitive vegetation as there is none to destroy.

      Trevor - 2011-12-23 16:30

      What happens if they blow a radiator hose or, gearbox or engine spewing oil on the ice, vehicle burns out on the ice...think there will be a clean up crew on hand..??..and leaking diesel fuel out of the their 200-500liter tanks/vehicle....there are some places people should use common sense and NOT drive through but that is normally overridden by old farts who have to much money to waste and an ego to stroke...so what is next, bunch of bikers or trucks or....stupid

  • Brian Francis Pretorius - 2011-12-24 20:36

    An amazing and impressive achievement, congratulations to everyone involved.

  • James - 2011-12-25 18:10

    A modified Kia would do ditto.

  • curbylee1 - 2011-12-26 23:05

    Moral of the story....Hilux's aren't bought fo speed....Not hilux again...Getting tired of Toyota advert on News24......

      Werner - 2012-01-03 13:56

      That is why they used Toyotas and not VW Amaroks!

  • Dawie - 2011-12-27 08:38

    Interesting... By the way- nearly 60 years ago, (long before the SUV-4X4 craze started), 2 wheel drive VW beetles with studded snow- tyres were used in Antarktika as daily transport.

  • pvuuren - 2011-12-28 11:32

    he funny thing is, 2 of these hiluxes dit the arctic run twice, once in 2010 and now in 2011, ek lek 'n Amarok se gat hy dit kan doen.( bliksem ek haat amaroks

  • Gerhardus - 2011-12-28 13:34

    Very expensive advertisement by Toyota! I'd rather play on a dirt road with Ken Block's Fiesta :-)

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