Toyota is joining the 2022 Dakar Rally with an all-new pick-up truck. Meet the GR DKR Hilux T1+, and it looks like it’s ready to tear up the terrain.
Built and developed with Gazoo Racing, Toyota claims the Dakar-bound GR Hilux was the result of the company’s pursuit of making ever-better cars. The automaker adds that the all-new racer also represents the biggest technological leap for the Dakar program since its inception in 2011.
At the heart of the Dakar-spec Hilux is not a turbo-diesel engine. Instead, it uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo gasoline V6 derived from the latest Land Cruiser 300. The motor produces 400 PS (due to FIA regulations) and a meaty 660 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to the wheels via a six-speed Sadev sequential gearbox. The engine continues to use the stock twin-turbo and intercooler setup, but Toyota modified the orientation of the intercooler for race purposes.
Aside from the engine, the Hilux also uses a new suspension system that increases travel from 280mm to 350mm. This allows the driver to make the most out of the new larger 37 inch tires. The width of the tires has also been increased from 245mm to 320mm for better traction. To make sure the Hilux can cover a lot of ground before needing a refill, it comes with a large 540-liter fuel cell.
The tires are fitted on lightweight aluminum wheels that serve as an integral part of the development of the T1+. But instead of painting the wheels, Gazoo Racing decided to leave them in their natural aluminum finish as this offers better heat radiation while in use.
“Our all-new Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ has progressed extremely well over the last few months of development, and we are confident that it is now ready to take on the Dakar Rally. As such, we’ve officially taken it out of the prototype program, and will now continue to refine the car in time for January’s race. The new engine from the Land Cruiser has proven reliable from the get-go, and working with it in stock form means that we don’t have to stress the engine to extract maximum performance,” said Glyn Hall, Team Principal of Gazoo Racing South Africa.
In January 2022, Toyota will enter the 2022 Dakar Rally with four all-new GR DKR T1+ versions of the Hilux. Leading the attack will be Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel. Past Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers (who won the 2009 edition of the race) and Dennis Murphy will also be returning for next year’s competition. Driving the third and last GR Hilux trucks will be South Africans Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, along with Shameer Variawa and co-driver Danie Stassen.
The development of the new car will continue before the race officially begins, with the final test set to take place in South Africa before getting shipped to Saudi Arabia in early December.