Toyota Gazoo Racing unveils new Hilux for 2024 Dakar and W2RC season
Dakar 2024 team combines youth and experience
Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) will compete in the upcoming 2024 motorsport season with an updated version of its Dakar-winning car, now known as the GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U. This name reflects both the upgrades to the vehicle and the new W2RC categorisation.
In an announcement on December 13, 2023, TGR said it will enter five crews at Dakar 2024, including two rookie drivers for the world’s toughest automotive rally in Saudi Arabia from January 5-19, 2024.
This will be the largest team that TGR has ever fielded at the Dakar Rally, combining unparalleled experience in the form of Giniel de Villiers with the undeniable pace of Lucas Moraes and Seth Quintero.
Dakar 2024 will be Round 1 of the 2024 W2RC, and as such, it will be a critical rally for TGR’s two confirmed W2RC crews: Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleon, as well as Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz.
Lucas, Seth, and their co-drivers will also compete in the 2024 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) season.
These two crews will be keen to get their 2024 W2RC campaign off to a solid start, with four rounds following the season-opening 2024 Dakar Rally. The W2RC events are the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (February 25-March 2, 2024), BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal (April 2-7, 2024), Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina (June 2-8, 2024) and Rally of Morocco (October 5-11, 2024).
Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal, said: “To have achieved everything we did in 2023 is an amazing feeling. We won the Dakar Rally and the W2RC titles for a second successive year, thanks to our highly durable and reliable GR DKR Hilux T1+ and the skills and dedication of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel.
“Now, we stand at the start of a new chapter with our GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U, which promises to raise the bar yet again. Not only that, but we are fortunate to have one of the most competitive driver line-ups in the bivouac, and we cannot wait to go racing again. We are excited about the future and look forward to 2024 as our new crews grow into their roles as TGR works drivers.”
Lucas Moraes added: “Dakar 2023 was a fantastic experience for me. Finishing on the podium on my first attempt was terrific, and while it would have been nice to stay in second place to the end, I was ecstatic with third place, too.
“More importantly, it gives me confidence that I can sustain the necessary pace throughout the rally, and I look forward to competing strongly in Dakar 2024. At the same time, I have learnt a lot from my various racing activities this year, and I’m looking forward to expanding on this as part of TGR’s W2RC squad for 2024.”
Seth Quintero stated: “Stepping up from SSVs to the fastest rally-raid cars in the world is very exciting for me. I have come through the ranks, and 2024 will be my first chance to compete with all the biggest names in the sport. The new version of the GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U has impressed me, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to take the fight to the competition from the get-go.”
New GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U
The new GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U is 100mm wider than its predecessor and incorporates several refinements. The suspension has seen specific attention, and the air-conditioning unit has been relocated for more efficiency. In addition, the car has been fitted with a new cooling package, allowing for greater redundancy.
Toyota’s focus on quality, durability and reliability was vital in developing the new car. As such, the vehicle has been in constant development throughout the year, and TGR’s crews have completed 30,000km of racing and testing in the 2023 season of W2RC and SARRC.
Additional tests were conducted in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa, and considerable test mileage was added in the Namib Desert as part of its final preparations for the 2024 Dakar Rally, leading into next year’s W2RC.
At the same time, the TGR team has also been integrating its plans for a more sustainable future with an eye on the Dakar Future project. As part of its commitment to this project, the TGR Dakar Team partnered with Repsol to attain the required targets well before the 2026 deadline.
Repsol supplies fuels to TGR with 70% renewable content, using advanced biofuels with a carbon footprint reduction of at least 70% compared to conventional petrol.
Featured image: The new GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U has a V35A production engine. Image: TGR