Toyota Gazoo Racing SA today shipped two of the team’s three Toyota Hilux race cars to South America, from its headquarters near the iconic Kyalami circuit. The team’s third new Toyota Hilux will be shipped directly from Europe, where it has been undergoing final testing in preparation for Dakar 2018.
“We are very excited to have reached this point,” says Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “There are certain milestones that we reach in the build-up to Dakar each year, starting with design, then manufacture, testing and finally the shipping of the cars to South America.”
This year the team is also shipping all the spare parts, tools and other equipment together with the cars. “We had a small setback with the sea freight schedule, due to the massive storms that battered the eastern coastline. As a result, we’re now sending everything via air freight,” explains Hall. “Our partnership with SAA Cargo is invaluable in this regard, and they play an integral part in our assault on the world’s toughest automotive race.”
The team is upbeat at present, with all three drivers declaring themselves extremely happy with the development of the all-new IMA Toyota Hilux. The Independent Mid-Mounted All-Wheel drive version, known internally as the IMA, sports an all-new layout and suspension geometry, together with a lower overall weight and more suspension travel, in keeping with the latest rules from both the FIA and the ASO, organisers of the Dakar Rally.
At the same time, the technical crew is preparing for a short break, before leaving for South America on December 30th, 2017. “We’ve been right up against one deadline after the other in the lead up to the race,” concludes Hall. “But now it is time to relax a bit, so that we all arrive in South America fresh and ready for the race.”
Dakar 2018 gets under way on January 6th, but the technical crew will start assembly and testing of the three race cars from January 1st, 2018. They also need to pack and prepare the team’s race trucks – a mammoth and critical task, which is made even tougher by the humid heat of the South American summer.