Toyota’s Gazoo Racing is now employing the talents of a two-time Formula One world champion as he races in a Toyota Hilux Pickup in the upcoming Dakar Rally.
Toyota has been experiencing some success in the Dakar Rally ever since they entered the grueling desert endurance competition back in 2012. Their South African team achieved the brand’s first victory earlier this year after several heartbreaking finishes, and now Gazoo Racing plans to continue their success in Dakar in January.
To help them out, Gazoo has hired a new driver: former F1 champion Fernando Alonso. A two-time F1 World Championship winner, Alonso is also a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, a 24 Hours of Daytona winner, and the reigning FIA World Endurance Championship titleholder with Gazoo Racing.
His partner in crime will be Navigator Marc Coma, a 6-time FIM Cross Country World Championship winner and winner of 5 Dakar Rallies in the bike category. The Alonso and Coma duo come to Dakar to "try different motorsport disciplines and become an even more complete racing driver."
The two have been training in the deserts of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and have more than doubled their planned training mileage. That just goes to show their dedication to the cause.
Along with the other three teams that Gazoo will enter into the Dakar Rally, Alonso and Coma will be driving a Toyota Hilux pickup that has been specifically designed to withstand the rigors of the desert. A fully independent suspension, all-wheel-drive, and a 5.0-L naturally-aspirated V8. We don't know how much horsepower that engine makes, but it's bound to be a lot.
For the first time in history, the 2020 Dakar Rally will take place in Saudi Arabia. Starting on January 5th in Jedda, the route will take participants north and then back south to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Then the rally will move through Rub’ al Khali, the world's largest sand desert, before finishing in Al-Qiddiya on January 17.
(Source: Toyota Gazoo Racing)