The latest Toyota Gazoo Racing HiLux T1+ is ready for another Dakar Rally, using a version of the LandCruiser 300’s and Lexus LX’s twin-turbo petrol V6.

    How do outputs of 266kW and 620Nm, using Motech management, mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox, with front and rear limited-slip diffs, sound for a sand racer?

    Underneath the vaguely recognisable HiLux-shaped composite material body of this desert racer is a tubular frame, with a total vehicle mass of 2000kg.

    There’s double wishbone suspension (350mm stroke) front and rear, plus 17-inch wheels with 37-inch BF Goodrich tyres.

    The 11km-long prologue for the Saudi Arabia-hosted desert race, used to determine the starting orders for the first stage, gets things underway during the afternoon of December 31, before the race itself kicks off on New Year’s Day. Fourteen competitive stages will follow.

    Dakar 2023 is scheduled to finish on January 15 in the city of Dammam. This will be the Dakar’s first visit to the city, and also the first time that the race spans across the entire Saudi Arabian landscape from coast to coast.

    While interesting in and of itself, it’s also intriguing to see Toyota enduro testing a version of this V6 engine in a roughly HiLux-sized car, given a new-generation model nears.

    We’ve recently seen Ford conquer the Baja 1000 rally in a near-stock Ranger Raptor with its own force-fed petrol V6, and can’t help but wonder if Toyota might be eyeing off a future competitor product…

    Toyota is also running a near-stock (unlike this HiLux) LandCruiser V6 diesel at Dakar too, detailed here.

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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