Toyota reveals wild new Hilux for Dakar attack

Mid-engined rear-wheel-drive V8; it's not your average Hilux.


Toyota has stepped up its campaign to win the famous Dakar Rally in 2017 with an all-new Hilux racing machine.

The Hilux Evo  marks a significant departure from previous models, and Toyota Gazoo Racing hopes that the changes will allow it to fight with rivals Peugeot and MINI for outright victory.

Unlike the new eighth-generation production Hilux model, the Hilux Evo is a custom-built lightweight, mid-engined, two-wheel-drive special. Powered by a five-litre V8 engine mounted very low behind the cabin, the 2017 model sends all its power to the rear wheels, rather than the four-wheel-drive setup Toyota has previously used.

Toyota Gazoo Racing has also worked hard at reducing weight, with the Hilux Evo aiming to tip the scales at no more than 1,300kg when race-ready. This compares to a starting weight of 1,915kg for the previous 4×4 version.

Toyota Hilux Evo Dakar 2017 02

Other changes include larger wheels and tyres – up from 805mm to 940mm – which can be inflated and deflated from the driver’s cabin, and significantly greater suspension travel to attack the formidable terrain at higher speed.

Driving line-up matches the vehicle potential

Toyota Gazoo Racing has also scored a significant coup by recruiting Dakar legend Nasser Al-Attiyah and his navigator Matthieu Baumel for 2017. Al-Attiyah has won the Dakar Rally twice, as well as scoring two second places and a third, since 2010. They will join the pairings of Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, and Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, in the other vehicles.

The Hilux Evo is being prepared by Toyota Gazoo Racing’s operation in South Africa, and three of the new machines will be shipped out to South America at the end of the year for its first big test. The 2017 Dakar Rally starts on 2 January in Asunción, Paraguay, before heading through Bolivia and finishing in Buenos Aires in Argentina on 14 January.

Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk
Stuart founded sister site The Car Expert in 2011. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for the car industry for over thirty years. He now provides overall direction for our four automotive titles.

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