Hino Motors Ltd., together with Hino Team Sugawara, has made its customary entry of two 500 Series trucks for the 2014 Dakar Rally which starts in Rosario, Argentina, on January 5 and ends in Chile on January 18. The main objective will be to extend Hino’s amazing record for performance and reliability on this annual two-week cross-country event.
Next year will mark the 23rd consecutive year that Hino has entered this gruelling cross-country rally, having been the first Japanese manufacturers to enter this rally when it competed in the 1991 event, which went from Paris to Dakar via Tripoli. Hino has finished every Dakar Rally it has entered and in 1997 it took a 1-2-3 clean sweep of the overall placings, while a Hino has also been runner-up on five occasions and has won the under 10-litre engine category 13 times.
Next year will be the sixth time this famous endurance rally-raid will take place in South America after the threat of terrorist attacks forced a move from Africa in 2009. The first Paris –Dakar Rally was staged in 1977. The 2014 route will be about 10 000km in length and will include a section into Bolivia for the first time, but this will be only for motorcycles and quads.
Hino Motors, in conjunction with Team Sugawara has been developing new trucks over a period of three years since 2012 and the 2014 trucks feature numerous technological advances.
The No. 1 Hino is fitted with a 9-litre common rail A09C turbo-intercooled engine which will mark the first time the team has used a power unit with a capacity greater than 8-litres. The bigger engine develops 445kW of power and 1 950N.m of torque compared to 360kW of power and 1 425N.m of torque delivered by the 8-litre JO8C engine fitted to the No. 2 racing truck.
Both trucks have part-time four-wheel drive with diff locks front and rear and six-speed gearboxes with two-speed transfer cases and hub-reduction drive to the rear wheels to provide increased ground clearance. Brakes are Brembo and there is a central tyre inflation system for the desert crossings. Fuel tank capacity is 600 litres.
Truck No. 1 will be driven by 72-year-old Yoshimasa Sugawara who holds the Guinness record for 30 consecutive entries in the Dakar-Rally and he was the first to have taken part in this famous event on a motorcycle, in a car and truck. He has finished 20 of the 21 Dakar Rallies he has started with the only non-finish coming from missing a check point.
Yoshimasa has finished second overall in the truck category on six occasions and has notched up seven wins in the class tor trucks with engines of less than 10 litres capacity. He will again have Katsumi Hamura as his co-driver in 2014 with the two of them having raced together 12 times since 1992.
Hino No. 2 will be driven by Yoshimasa’s 41-year-old son, Teruhito, who has been competing in the Dakar Rally since 2005 and has notched up four consecutive successes in the under 10-litre class. His co-driver will be Hioyuki Sugiura who debuted on the Dakar in 2010.
The team will be backed up by an experienced technical team, including four technicians selected from Hino dealerships in Japan. For the first time there will be a dedicated electronics specialist who will concentrate mainly on engine performance. The inclusion of such a person in the team indicates the advances being made in technology to extract maximum performance in a long-distance event of this nature.