TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s all-new Dakar challenger, the GR DKR Hilux T1+, has been confirmed for Dakar 2022. The all-new design has now exited the prototype stage, but will continue to be developed and refined in weeks leading up to the Dakar Rally, which starts early in January next year. As a result of Toyota’s pursuit of making ever-betters cars through its participation in the Dakar Rally, the new car represents the biggest technological leap for the Toyota Dakar programme, since its inception in 2011.
Powered by a twin-turbo V6 engine of 3.5 litres which is sourced from the iconic new Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport, the new GR DKR Hilux T1+ features more low-down torque than its predecessor, as well as gains in terms of engine weight, though the overall weight of the car has been increased to 2,000 kg as per the regulations. The new engine’s performance is governed by the rules as set out by the FIA, and as such it offers 298 kW of power and approximately 660 Nm of torque, which is well within the performance capability of the production engine.
Thanks to the supremely capable production version of the Land Cruiser 300 V6 twin turbo engine, the team was able to work with the engine in stock form. The standard Toyota turbos are used, as well as a standard intercooler. The orientation of the intercooler had to be modified for the race car, but the part itself remains stock, as it is inherently extremely efficient.
The car also features a suspension system that has seen an increase in travel from 280 mm to 350 mm, which allows the driver to make the most of the new tyres that have been increased from 32 inches to 37 inches. The tyre width has also increased from 245 mm to 320 mm.
Aluminium wheels will punctuate the new car’s larger tyres. These wheels have been an integral part of the development of the T1+ and the team has chosen to leave the wheels in their natural aluminium finish, as this offers a benefit in terms of heat radiation.
Under the skin, the Hilux has retained the same mid-engine layout that has been in use since Dakar 2016, as well as the core cockpit layout. The car now carries only two spare tyres rather than the three that had been in use in the past, due to a change in the regulations for the T1+ category.
The new car features the latest livery design, which aligns with that used in both the WEC and WRC. As such, the new Toyota GR DKR Hilux, which will also compete in the 2022 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship, clearly forms part of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s world championship race car line. The iconic GR lettering has now been adopted by all three World Championship teams, even though the Dakar Hilux has been part of the GAZOO Racing family for many years. This lettering also serves to reinforce the link between Toyota’s race cars, and the exciting road cars that bear the same letters.
For Dakar 2022, the team will field four of the all-new GR DKR T1+ versions of the Hilux, with Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel spearheading the attack for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. The 2019 Dakar Rally winners will again have Giniel de Villiers (2009 Dakar winner) as teammate, and the South African will be partnered with co-driver Dennis Murphy for the 2022 edition of the race.
South Africans Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings will be returning to the Dakar Rally, with the aim of showing their pace over the full race distance after crashing out during stage 5 of the 2021 edition of the rally. The final car in the line-up will be driven by Shameer Variawa and co-driver Danie Stassen, both from South Africa.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will continue making ever-better cars through the challenge of Dakar 2022.
The development of the new car will continue this weekend, as both Nasser and Giniel will be taking part in the final round of the 2021 South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS). The race will take place in the area around the Freestate town of Parys and will see crews cover 400 km of varied terrain types, though neither Nasser nor Giniel will be eligible to score points, as the T1+ category is not currently supported by the SACCS. Henk and Brett are the defending SACCS champions, and as such will be competing in the previous specification Toyota Hilux, in order to score points towards the championship.
The team will conduct a final test in South Africa before preparing the cars for shipping to Saudi Arabia early in December. The final route for the Dakar 2022 is yet to be announced, but it is expected that the terrain will be similar to that encountered in 2020 and 2021.
Glyn Hall, Team Principal: “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 programme, 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.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “I continue to be impressed by the new car, and I’m particularly impressed with the tough terrain that we can tackle with the new, bigger tyres. The engine delivers excellent power and torque, and we are looking forward to testing the car in race conditions this coming weekend.”
Giniel de Villiers: “We’ve done significant work on the new car over the last few months, and I believe that we are very close to an ideal setup. With this weekend’s race, we hope to validate some of the final refinements we have made to the car. Overall, the engine from the Land Cruiser is the highlight for me, as it is very powerful and seems reliable in our tests to date.”
Henk Lategan: “I’m looking forward to racing the new T1+ at Dakar 2022, especially having to miss out on the new car due to my commitments in the SACCS. I have done a fair amount of testing though, and the new tyres and suspension is truly spectacular.”
Shameer Variawa: “The new V6 engine has been highly impressive from the start. I’ve been campaigning the V8 version of the car in the SACCS, but can’t wait to finally get behind the wheel of the new car. We’ve got just one round left in the local championship, after which all eyes will turn to Dakar.”