Toyota Driver: We Need Turbos to Win Dakar

“We have a very good normally-aspirated engine,” said Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers was forced to be content with third overall at Dakar 2016. “Our cars are reliable,” he said about his team’s ability overtake rivals who came into trouble, “but we just need to find a little more speed.”


NA Toyota Tacoma Takes on Dakar 2016

toyota at dakar rally 2016

Peugeot and Mini are Toyota’s primary rivals in big-time, international off-road racing- and both use turbocharged diesel engines. In comparison, Toyota’s racers are equipped with naturally-aspirated gas units and, most importantly, a former Dakar winner in the form of de Villiers. Despite their strong presence and factory support, however, the Toyotas may have to turn to turbo power if they want to challenge the front-runners on outright pace.

“In the first week (of Dakar), we were unable to keep the pace of the rest, but in the dunes we had a great ability to fight. We need to be consistent in all types of terrain, and not one in particular,” said the 2009 Dakar champion.

How is any of this related to green car news? I’m glad you asked!

Toyota has been developing a high-efficiency range of powerful, turbocharged engines as part of its World Endurance Championship program. With the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal signaling the dawn of a new age of anti-diesel sentiment and mid-size pickups from Chevy, Ford, and Jeep stealing headlines, then, it may be time for Toyota to consider putting a turbo 4 under the hood of its Tacoma. The very Toyota Tacoma, in fact, that could form the basis for de Villiers’ next Dakar contender.

It would be great fun to see Toyota succeed at events like Dakar and the Baja 1000 again- and maybe we could even get an Ivan “Ironman” Stewart commemorative pre-runner out of it! Would you buy one? Let us know, comments, etc.


Source | Photos: Motorsport.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.