Three-car Gazoo team to tackle the Dakar 2023

There is strength in numbers they say and these three teams will present a formidable challenge to the rest of the competitors as they complete the last preparations before the start of the toughest race in the world.

Toyota Gazoo Racing represented by defending champions, Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel, Giniel de Villiers, and co-driver Dennis Murphy, as well as Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings, will carry the South African flag.

The team has covered more than 25 000km during testing, racing and development using the W2RC and SARRC events as their laboratory to fine tune the Hiluxes.

For the 2023 season, the FIA has refined its criteria aimed at balancing the performance between the Class T1+ vehicles, and their counterparts in Class T1U (ultimate). The primary focus of the updated rules is to close up the field, making competition even tougher. For example, both the Class T1+ and T1U cars have had their peak power output reduced by 30kW. The power curves have been adjusted to blend the change proportionately, and the altitude compensation for turbo powered T1+ cars has been removed.

As such, improvements have been made to the GR DKR Hilux T1+ differentials, suspension parts and wishbones, which have been reinforced. The single damper setup has also been optimised, as has the transmission’s shifting characteristics. Finally, the software has been tweaked to accept the latest racing fuel, and to ensure that the car conforms to the balance of performance requirements as set out by the FIA.

Dakar 2023 is set to start on December 31, 2022 on the north-western coast of Saudi Arabia, before traveling inland toward the city of Ha’il. From there, the route continues in a south-easterly direction, bisecting the feared Empty Quarter, before finally swinging northwards towards the finish at Dammam, on January 15, 2023.

This is what the team had to say:

Glyn Hall – TGR Dakar & SARRC team principal and technical director said, “Dakar 2023 is around the corner, and we are excited to take on the world’s toughest automotive race with a three-car team in January. We’ve worked hard at refining our GR DKR Hilux T1+ over the course of the year, and we’re confident that we are well-prepared to take on the rigours of the race, as well as our competition.

Al-Attiyah said, “Winning the 2022 W2RC title was my first goal, and I’m proud to say that we achieved it. Also, the car has been getting steadily better throughout the year, and with a final test in Namibia, I’m sure that we’ve locked in the best possible version of the GR DKR Hilux T1+yet. Now, all that remains is to go racing in Saudi Arabia.”

Giniel de Villiers said, “This year has offered some tough challenges, especially in terms of the SARRC. With that said, we managed to prevail to win the 2022 title, and as such we’ve grown considerably as a team. The car has also matched our personal growth, and we are excited to be back at the Dakar Rally this January. Winning the SARRC title has affirmed our belief that we are in the mix for overall victory this January, and we can’t wait for the race to start.”

Henk Lategan said, “Dakar 2022 offered a steep learning curve, and I’m pleased with our experience earlier this year. Now, it is time to face the challenge yet again, but this year we are considerably more experienced, and the GR DKR Hilux T1+ is better than ever. Let’s get going in Saudi Arabia!”

Car numbers:

200 – Nasser Al-Attiyah / Mathieu Baumel
205 – Giniel de Villiers / Dennis Murphy
217 – Henk Lategan / Brett Cummings

Source: MotorPress

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