The tougher, the better.

40 years of Toyota at the Dakar Rally

Pushing the limits for better

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing embodies Toyota’s commitment to overcome every limit to make “ever-better” cars. Under the extreme conditions of motorsport, we forge new technologies and in the toughest challenges, find new solutions and new ways to improve. One race typifies this spirit more than any other: the Dakar Rally, an event in which Toyota has a unique history. Here, winning is about more than speed. Quality, durability and reliability are vital.


Trust in the extreme

Covering over 9,000 km in two weeks, the Dakar rally is the most extreme vehicle test bed imaginable. Its combination of epic sand dunes, treacherous river beds and unbelievable speeds pushes every component of our cars to the limit. In extremes like this, trust is key, and it’s the dependable toughness of our vehicles that has made them the number one choice for rally competitors.

'In 2016, 42.4% of the vehicles that finished were Toyotas'


Hot off the press

Read more about Toyota's progress in the rally with our daily Dakar updates.

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Hilux: 50 years of invincibility

Many automotive brands create 'ultimate test' stunt videos to prove their vehicles' worth for YouTube. But Hilux has nothing to prove to anyone. Hilux has completed 'ultimate tests' for 50 years, driven by owners from one extreme environment to another, on its journey to Invincible 50.

Discover Hilux

Toyota Hilux Dakar

Revised independent rear suspension with 12% more travel
Mid-mounted V8 engine
All-wheel drive
Less weight

The team

After first entering a Toyota Hilux in 2012, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing face Dakar 2018 fielding a three-car team. The all-new Toyota Hilux features a host of mechanical enhancements, promising a significant step forward in performance. With more than 3,000 km of testing under its belt, the new model builds on its predecessor's reliability and durability with enhanced levels of handling and balance, amounting to what the team believe is a winning recipe.


Driver: Giniel De Villiers

Country: South Africa

Dakar highlights: 7 podiums 1 victory (2009)

Interesting fact: Giniel has finished outside of the Dakar top ten only once (2007)


Driver: Dirk Von Zitzewitz

Country: Germany

Dakar highlights: First Dakar 1997, 1 victory (2009)

Interesting fact: Dirk first entered the Dakar on a motorcycle (1997)


Driver: Nasser Al Attiyah

Country: Qatar

Dakar highlights: 2 victories (2011 & 2015)

Interesting fact: Nasser is an Olympic Skeet Shooting bronze medallist


Driver: Mathieu Baumel

Country: France

Dakar highlights: 1 victory (2015)

Interesting fact: Mathieu is a 6-time champion in a variety of motorsport categories


Driver: Bernard Ten Brinke

Country: Netherlands

Dakar highlights: Highest Dakar finish 7th

Interesting fact: Bernard owns a kitchen company in his home country


Driver: Michel Périn

Country: France

Dakar highlights: 3 victories (1994, 1995, 1996)

Interesting fact: Michel has been a professional navigator since 1984

Guide to Dakar Rally 2018

+500 competitors 60 nationalities
10 000 km to cover per edition
10th edition in South America
15 days of racing

Rally history

Thierry Sabine founded the first Dakar Rally in 1978. Originally a race across the Sahara Desert, competitors could compete in any kind of vehicle as long as it had an engine and wheels. The rally continued in North Africa until 2008, when it was cancelled due to safety concerns, and moved to South America the following year. The location may be different, but the event’s name and spirit remain unchanged.

Rally route

Featuring more than 5,000 km of stage racing, as well as 4,000 km of liaisons that tie the route together, seven of Dakar 2018’s 14 stages are run either completely off-road, or in dunes, making this one of the toughest events in recent history.
For its 40th edition, the 10th to be held in South America, the Dakar Rally returns to Peru, with the race kicking off on January 6 in the capital, Lima. A series of looped stages see the crews tackle a sea of dunes before crossing the border into Bolivia on January 12. From there, two further stages take the crews south through some of the highest parts of Bolivia, before dropping down into northern Argentina and the relief of the finish line in Córdoba on January 20.


Find out more about TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

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