Toyota presented the improved GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U model, which will take part in the 2024 Dakar Rally and the full W2RC series next season. There are five crews in the Toyota Gazoo Racing team for the world’s most difficult off-road rally, and two new duos will defend the brand’s title in W2RC.
Toyota Gazoo Racing is fielding its largest team to date in both the Dakar Rally and the two-season FIA World Cross-Country Rally Championship (W2RC). All drivers will receive an improved car that won the Dakar Rally in 2023 and the W2RC title – Toyota GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U.
New GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U
Toyota GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U has undergone significant changes. The car is now, among others, 100 mm wider than its predecessor, has improved suspension and a more efficient engine cooling system. The air conditioning system was also improved to increase crew comfort in the extreme heat of the desert. As part of the verification of new components and solutions, the car traveled almost 30,000 kilometers as part of W2RC and SARRC. Additional tests were also conducted in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa and Namibia.
The Toyota GR DKR Hilux EVO T1U engine has been adapted to run on Repsol Renewable Fuel 70R+ biofuel, which is made up of at least 70 percent. from renewable waste, such as used cooking oil. The fuel complies with the European Renewable Energy Directive and reduces the carbon footprint by at least 70%. compared to conventional gasoline.
A new team of drivers
The Toyota Gazoo Racing team includes 20-time Dakar Rally participant Giniel de Villiers, young generation drivers in W2RC – Lucas Moraes and Seth Quintero, as well as two debutants – Saood Variawa and Guy Botterill.
De Villiers, co-driven by Dennis Murphy, made its debut in the Dakar Rally over 20 years ago. Since then, he has crossed the finish line every time. He has won in 2009 and has a total of eight podium finishes. In addition, he finished the rally in the top ten 19 times, including 15 times in the top five in the general classification.
Rookies in the squad
The team for the 2024 Dakar Rally will be complemented by two debut crews. The first team will consist of a young 18-year-old rally and racing driver from South Africa, Saood Variawa, whose co-driver will be the experienced Francois Cazalet. Variawa has already had success with Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, competing in the South African Touring Car Championship and the South African Off-Road Rally Championship. His father, Shameer Variawa, completed the Dakar Rally twice as a member of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, and now Saood will be looking to follow in his footsteps.
The second debut crew will also include a duo from South Africa, driver Guy Botterill and co-driver Brett Cummings. From 2023, Botterill moved permanently to the off-road rally competition, winning the title of vice-champion of South Africa. Cummings is a long-time member of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team and usually sits in the right-hand seat of the car of Henk Lategan, who cannot take part in next year’s Dakar Rally due to a shoulder injury.