While we are all still waiting for the all-new Isuzu D-Max in our side of the globe, Isuzu has built its most powerful D-Max yet  to take on one of the most grueling races on earth, the Dakar Rally, which is set to start January next year.

Based on the robust underpinnings of a production Isuzu D-Max 4x4 double-cab, the Dakar-ready pick-up has been enhanced to increase performance and to withstand the rigors of over 5,000 miles of tough terrain, between Lima, Peru and the finish in Santiago, Chile.

The vehicle is powered by an Isuzu-developed 3.0-liter 16-valve common-rail turbo diesel engine, producing maximum power output of 242 horsepower and 589 Nm of torque.  The powerplant, based on a standard Isuzu engine, is mated to a four-wheel drive system and a sequential five-speed Hollinger gearbox and Xtreme rally clutch. The D-Max can now achieve a  0-to-100km/h run in just seven seconds (on dirt) and top speed has been recorded as high as 190 km/h.

To protect the vehicle and its occupants against rock impacts and potential accidents, the chassis features custom-built, full-length eight millimeter aluminum skid plates, while the steel cab body is fitted with an integrated roll-cage and carbon-fiber panels that shield the pick-up’s key components.

Isuzu has added DBA Kangaroo Paw ventilated disc brakes with cross-drilled discs and Harrop aluminum racing calipers to give the racer incredible stopping power.  The Isuzu D-Max Dakar rides on 16 x 7-inch ROH Trojan alloy wheels, shod with Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires, for maximum ground clearance when traversing crests, dips, and everything in between.

D-Max Dakar

The experienced Isuzu Motorsports International Off-Road Race Team has carried out all preparation of the vehicle, which will be piloted by Australian pair Bruce Garland (driver) and Harry Suzuki (co-driver).

The Isuzu Motorsports International Off-Road Race Team, based in Australia, enjoyed success at the 2009 Dakar event with a previous-generation D-Max, finishing as the first diesel-powered pick-up in the field.

Harry Suzuki, co-driver and director of Isuzu Motorsports, commented: “The Isuzu D-Max is the perfect Dakar machine.  It has the ideal blend of rugged ability and performance, and race prepared by our specialist team, the Isuzu D-Max Dakar will deliver where it counts.”

The thirty-fifth-edition of the Dakar rally, and the fifth in South America, starts on 5 January 2013, and will last for fifteen days later. The Isuzu D-Max Dakar will participate in the ‘Car class – T2 (Cross Country Series Production vehicles)’.