W2RC 2024: Toyota’s new Dakar Rally line-up

W2RC 2024

This year’s FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC 2024) will soon launch in style with the season’s headlining event, the Dakar Rally. Widely regarded as the world’s toughest cross-country race, Toyota Gazoo Racing is primed to take on this challenge with an expanded, five-car team and an updated GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U prototype.

W2RC 2024: Toyota Gazoo Racing teams

Car #206: driver Lucas Moraes (Brazil) and co-driver Armand Monleón (Spain)

Lucas Moraes (above left) was the revelation of the 2023 Dakar, running in second place for most of the event in a privately entered Hilux. He eventually finishing third overall, making him one of the most successful rookies in the event’s history. This year, the young Brazilian will be paired with Armand Monleón (above right). The Spaniard initially competed in the Dakar on a motorcycle but is now in the top flight of rally-raid racing. 

Car #216: driver Seth Quintero (United States) and co-driver Dennis Zenz (Germany)

Seth Quintero (above left) is one of the biggest talents in the pool of emerging drivers. His pace and depth of experience that belies his youth make him one of the hottest properties in the world of rally-raid. He will be partnered by German co-driver Dennis Zenz (above right) in their fourth Dakar together.

Car #209: driver Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and co-driver Dennis Murphy (South Africa)

These youthful crews will be looking to draw on the experience offered to the team by Giniel de Villiers (above left), the Dakar 2009 winner. The South African has an unparalleled record in the event, having completed it 20 times. He has finished in the top ten 19 times and achieved eight podium results. He will be partnered by fellow countryman Dennis Murphy (above right), with whom he won the South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC) title in 2022.

Car #226: driver Saood Variawa (South Africa) and co-driver Francois Cazalet (France)

They will be joined by young racing sensation Saood Variawa (above left) and co-driver Francois Cazalet (above right). Variawa competes for Toyota in the Global Touring Car championship and drives a Toyota Hilux T1+ as a member of the SARRC squad. At 18 years old, he is one of the youngest works drivers yet to race in the Dakar and will be making his debut in the event in 2024. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Shameer Viarawa, who contested two Dakar rallies with the team. 

Car #243: driver Guy Botterill (South Africa) and co-driver Brett Cummings (South Africa)

Completing the line-up are Guy Botterill (above left) and co-driver Brett Cummings (above right). While Cummings is a familiar face in the team, Botterill is entering is first Dakar Rally and hoping that his co-driver’s experience will stand him in good stead. He has an impressive record in South African rallying and moved to the rally-raid discipline full-time in 2023. He finished runner-up in this year’s SARRC, narrowly missing out on the championship title.

New GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U 

The rally-raid Hilux has been in constant development throughout the past year, including almost 30,000km of racing and testing during the 2023 W2RC and SARRC series. Further tests took place in the Kalahari and Namib deserts in preparation for the 2024 Dakar and W2RC.

W2RC 2024

The results of which are that the main body of the new GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U is 100mm wider than its predecessor and benefits from several refinements. Among these are a new cooling package, an air conditioning unit relocated to improve efficiency, and revised suspension. The new Hilux is also the first to officially compete in TGR’s new matt black racing livery.

GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U technical specifications

BODY Toyota Hilux Double Cab pick-up (full composite construction) over twin tubular frame. FT3 540-litre fuel cell 
MEASUREMENTS Length = 4810mm. Width = 2300mm. Height = 1890mm. Wheelbase = 3140mm.
Dry weight = 2000kg (FIA regulated minimum) 
POWERTRAIN V35A 3.4-litre twin turbo V6 petrol engine (from 300-series Land Cruiser), MoTeC engine management, boost limited by FIA reference power curve. Power rated at 354bhp at 5100rpm, 457 lb ft torque.
SADEV six-speed race transmission with sequential shift, 215mm ceramic twin-plate clutch, limited-slip front / centre / rear differentials 
CHASSIS 17-inch Evo Corse alloy wheels with 37-inch BF Goodrich tyres.
Double wishbone front suspension with 350mm travel, double wishbone rear suspension with 350mm travel 
W2RC 2024

And the Dakar Hilux will also be joined by…

While the five purpose-built GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U models compete in the Dakar Rally’s Ultimate class, three further Toyota vehicles will be participating in the event in different classes.

Toyota Auto Body is running two 300-series Land Cruiser GR Sport production models (above) in the Stock category under the title of Team Land Cruiser. Toyota’s truck subsidiary Hino Motors is running its popular ‘Little Monster’ 600-series medium-duty commercial vehicle (below) as a production-based model in the Truck category under the Hino Team Sugawara banner.

W2RC 2024 programme

There are five rounds in the W2RC 2024 programme, Dakar Rally being the first. All five Toyota Gazoo Racing teams will compete in this launch event. The remaining four events will be tackled by car #206 (Lucas Moraes and Armand Monleón) and #216 (Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz).

Round one: Dakar Rally, Saudi Arabia, 5-19 January
Round two: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, United Arab Emirates, 25 February to 2 March
Round three: BP Ultimate Rally-Raid, Portugal, 2-7 April
Round four: Desafío Ruta 40, Argentina, 2-8 June
Round five: Rallye du Maroc, Morocco, 5-11 October

The teams in cars #209 (Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy), #226 (Saood Variawa and Francois Cazalet) and #243 (Guy Botterill and Brett Cummings) will take on the South African Rally-Raid Series. This series also serves as the main testing programme for development of the GR DKR Hilux Evo T1U.

Learn more: How did Toyota fare in the 2023 Dakar Rally?

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