Toyota Hilux conquers Antarctica on jet fuel

We’ve been getting up to mischief again with our Hilux… And this time, the legendary Toyota pick-up has set a new world record!

Antarctic Hilux

Unsurprisingly, the latest effort shows Hilux continuing to push the boundaries of extreme endurance, with a unique polar journey.

Hilux completed a record Antarctic excursion of more than 5,900 miles, further than any vehicle of its type has managed before. The feat, achieved as part of the longest distance expedition in polar history, adds to Hilux’s achievements of reaching both Magnetic North and South Poles.

True to Toyota’s reputation for toughness, the trucks completed the journey without a single technical hitch.

Antarctic Hilux

Three Hilux – including two six-wheeled “6×6” models – completed the expedition, running on Jet A-1 fuel to cope with the extreme cold. Each clocked up almost 6,000 miles over four months from November 2011 to February this year.

Remarkably, the vehicles used in the double trans-continental crossing organised by Extreme World Races used standard 3.0-litre D-4D engines and transmissions. But to meet the demands of temperatures as low as -50°C and harsh terrain rising to above 3,400m the vehicles were specially engineered by Icelandic conversion specialists Arctic Trucks – the team behind the iconic Polar Hilux.

Antarctic Hilux

Modifications to the vehicles included fitting a crane to lift heavy equipment and a 280-litre fuel tank, or 800 litres in the case of the six-wheel models! The suspension and drivetrain were strengthened, crawler gears were added to the transmission, and the extra large tyres were filled to between 2.0 and 3.0psi (compared to 29.0psi for regular road-going Hilux), giving a ‘footprint’ 17 times larger than standard tyres!

In all, 10 Hilux were deployed by the expedition team, which trusted in the Toyotas to meet the demands of setting up a fuel depot and weather station and providing essential support to scientists and competitors in a ski race.

Antarctic Hilux

What’s next for the intrepid Hilux? Well, it looks like the Top Gear team have some ideas…

Update 05/04/12: A video showing highlights from Hilux’s recent expeditions is now available online – click here!

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