A Japanese rally racing team has taken a Toyota Prius across the Sahara Desert.
Team ACP are a bunch of Japanese motoring enthusiasts that also seem to have a bit of a strange love affair with the Toyota Prius. Ever since the first generation of Priuses (Priii? Priopedes?) was released way back in 1997, ACP took them all over the world to test them in conditions Toyota never intended the Prius to drive.
One of those conditions was the Sahara desert. Team ACP used to compete in the Paris-Dakar rally races back when those were still traversing Europe all the way through North Africa before armed conflict made a rally race a bit too dicey for the area. Nowadays the Dakar rally is held in South America, about as far away from Dakar as you can actually get.
But apparently filled with nostalgia after the 2018 race completed in Corboda Argentina, Team ACP decided to take their Prius and retrace the route they took through Africa back when the Dakar Rally began almost 40 years ago.
Back in 1981, team ACP fielded Kiichiro Yokota in a Land Cruiser FJ60. He’d eventually win that race and become the first Japanese driver to reach the Dakar finish line. ACP would go on to race for the next 12 years straight, also winning the marathon class in 1987 for modified diesel vehicles.
This year they decided to retrace their 1981 route, starting in Paris, France, and then winding their way through the Sahara Desert to eventually wind up in Dakar, Senegal.
“Re-trace” might be a bit of a strong word to call it. They’re still driving a (mostly) unmodified Prius, which meant that the car wouldn’t be able to handle the loose silt of the deep Sahara. As such, they mostly kept to the roads while a Land Cruiser tagged along as a support vehicle.
Although it was tough, and the Prius got stuck a few times, the little hybrid made it all the way to Dakar with nary a scratch. The Prius’s battery even came in handy, allowing the team to cook food and drink hot coffee.
You go, little Prius. Show the world that gas isn’t the only way to get across the desert.
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