Toyota is serious about taking on the annual Dakar Rally, and they want to win.
With new regulations to take place next year, the automaker has built an all-new Hilux racer to take on one of the world's toughest races. It's called the Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+, which conforms to the updated regulations in the T1 category. While it is still a prototype, it looks wilder when compared to the 2021 Hilux challenger.
Since the new Dakar-spec Hilux is still undergoing testing, it isn't wearing the full Toyota Gazoo Racing livery just yet. Instead, it's left with the exposed carbon fiber body, giving it a meaner look. Toyota did not disclose the full changes made to the 2022 Hilux Dakar prototype. However, they did say that the new truck is wider, featuring new fenders and a revised side panel. Toyota also fitted new 37-inch tires, up from the 32-inch set used in the past. The suspension also has more travel, which has been increased from 280mm to 350mm.
Possibly the biggest change to the 2022 Hilux lies under the hood. Gone is the 5.0-liter V8, and in its place is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo gasoline V6 engine sourced from the all-new Land Cruiser 300. Toyota did not disclose the power output but says it will be significantly higher than standard. For reference, the engine found in the Land Cruiser 300 already produces 415 PS and 650 Nm torque.
As for their drivers, Toyota will field the same lineup from 2021. The 2019 winners Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel, who finished second in 2021, will spearhead the team in the 2022 Dakar Rally. They will be joined by Giniel de Villiers with navigator Dennis Murphy, Henk Lategan with Brett Cummings, and Shameer Variawa with navigator Danie Stassen.
The 2022 Dakar Rally will start on January 2 and will take place in the Saudi Arabian desert. With Audi also joining the event with an electric-powered racer, will Toyota be able to reign supreme with its new Hilux?