Toyota’s high aspirations
For the 2018, Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa has significantly overhauled the Hilux which features revised suspension geometry, a mid-front engine and a modified chassis.
“Apart from the petrol V8 and 4x4 transmission, the rest is new,” says team director Glyn Hall. “The 2018 regulations give us a helping hand since we can run a bigger air restrictor, bigger suspension travel and a lower minimum weight, whereas our two-wheel drive rivals must run heavier than before.”
The three Toyota Hilux Evos will also be equipped with the latest BFGoodrich® All Terrain KDR2+ (245/80x16) which was also developed for the Dakar’s all-wheel drive runners. Thanks to its new pattern, it is even more efficient in mud with no fall-off in performance on sand and dirt/rocks. It is consequently more versatile, which is perfect for the mixed bag of conditions competitors face in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
Of the three factory Toyota Hilux Evos entered for the 2018 Dakar, one will be in the hands of the event’s two-time victor, Nasser Al-Attiyah, winner of the 2017 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup in a Toyota/BFGoodrich® for the second year running. “The Toyota Hilux is both reliable and competitive, and the latest changes have improved its road holding and balance. I also got a chance to test the new BFGoodrich® All Terrain KDR2+ in Morocco. It gives better grip and contributes to the car’s good road holding. We have a package that can win the Dakar.”
The Toyota Hilux Evo was developed by Giniel de Villiers qui who completed some 3,000km in South Africa. The 2009 Dakar winner is contesting the Dakar for the 15th time and, along with Al-Attiyah, forms a quick squad which will be joined by Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke. The three cars will be tended by Overdrive, from Belgium.