Toyota Takes the New Tundra Twin-Turbo V6 to the Most Grueling Off-Road Race – In This Hilux

Also, is this the next-gen Hilux?

Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ testing. Images: Toyota Racing

The Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ will use a twin-turbo V6, based on the new powertrain used in the upcoming Tundra and Land Cruiser. They’re taking on Dakar in 2022.

The vehicle you see testing in these photos is a test-mule, the official racing version has yet to debut, but it has Toyota’s twin-turbo V6.

Three-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, is one of the four drivers competing in the T1 category. Toyota is sending four driver/navigator teams to the 2022 Dakar, proving that they are serious about winning. Last year, Nasser Al-Attiyah with co-driver/navigator Mathieu Baumel came in 2nd place. Al-Attiyah was not amused.

Dakar champion Nasser Al-Attiyah with navigator Mathieu Baumel

One of the issues was the speed of the Mini Cooper (buggy… it was 2WD), and Toyota’s new powertrain may address that. We do not know what the exact output is. The non-hybrid powertrain debuting in the upcoming 2022 Toyota Tundra’s 3.5-liter makes 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. It makes even more horsepower in the Land Cruiser. Toyota indicated that the output will be substantially more. That’s a bold statement considering the twin-turbocharged V6 has yet to be campaigned in an endurance event.

Toyota’s Hilux is a bit smaller than the Tundra. Racing dimensions are much different than production models, despite that, it’s still a bit smaller than a Tundra. It has a very short bed, and enormous fenders allowing for 37-inch x 12.6 tires. Those fenders also allow for 13.78 inches of suspension travel.

One wonders, if this powertrain works in the Hilux in Dakar… what about a Tacoma in Baja? You never know.

The Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1 will have its work cut out for it. The old nemesis Mini will be back in force, and new high-tech competitors, like Audi’s RSQ E-Tron hybrid, are looking competitive. We know that Toyota has spent years, and billions of dollars developing this powertrain. One of the reasons most automakers go into endurance racing is to prove the metal of their product. The challenge of the Dakar race is no joke. It simply is one of the most challenging (and dangerous) races in the world.

Other members of the Toyota GR DKR team include Giniel de Villiers with navigator Dennis Murphy, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, and Shameer Variawa with navigator Danie Stassen.

The 2022 Dakar begins January 2nd in Saudi Arabia. We’ll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.