Hino’s dynamic Dakar duo

Hino's dynamic Dakar duo

In this section we pay homage to those who keep the wheels of our industry turning at pace – but it couldn’t exist without products … Enter Hino’s dynamic Dakar 2014 duo

During a press conference at Motor Sport Japan 2013 (one of the country’s biggest motorsport events) Yasuhiko Ichihashi, president of Hino Motors, emphasised the significance of the company taking on the challenge of the Dakar Rally – for the 23rd consecutive year. Hino was the first Japanese manufacturer to enter this rally (when it competed in the 1991 event) as a commercial vehicle manufacturer …

“Our mission at Hino is to enable the transport of people and goods – and by doing so, contribute to realising a world of abundance where people can live in comfort,” says Ichihashi. “In order to fulfil this mission, we must produce vehicles that are of high quality, durable and reliable – but we must also provide a servicing system that helps our customers eliminate downtime.”

He adds that Hino’s participation in Dakar is directly connected to the company’s efforts to hone its technological capabilities, to make good vehicles and to provide excellent services. “The year 2014 will be the culmination of a three-year project that we started in 2011 to develop a new racing truck.”

The fruits of this development, to which Team Sugawara (Hino’s Dakar squad) also contributed, delivered the two new 500 Series trucks. Featuring numerous technological advances, these trucks will be entered into next year’s Dakar (which starts at Rosario, Argentina, on January 5 and ends in Chile on January 18).

Hino's dynamic Dakar duo The No. 1 Hino is fitted with a nine-litre common-rail A09C turbo-intercooled engine that develops 445 kW of power and 1 950 Nm of torque. It is the first time that the team has used a power unit with a capacity greater that eight litres – which is racing truck No. 2’s engine capacity. The eight-litre JO8C engine delivers 360 kW of power and 1 425Nm of torque.

Both trucks have a 600-litre fuel tank, part-time four-wheel drive with front and rear diff locks, six-speed gearboxes with two-speed transfer cases and hub-reduction drive to the rear wheels to provide increased ground clearance. They sport brakes from Brembo and have central tyre inflation systems for the desert crossings.

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. He will again have Katsumi Hamura as his co-driver next year, with the two of them having raced together 12 times since 1992.

Hino No. 2 will be driven by Sugawara’s 41-year-old son, Teruhito, who has been competing in the Dakar Rally since 2005. His co-driver will be Hioyuki Sugiura whose Dakar debut was in 2010.

The team will be supported by an experienced technical team. For the first time there will also be a dedicated electronics specialist who will concentrate mainly on engine performance.

Hino has completed every Dakar Rally it has entered and in 1997 it took a first, second and third place. A Hino truck has also been runner-up on five occasions and has won the under 10-litre engine category 13 times.

It will be interesting to see how the company’s new dynamic duo will fare in next year’s event as Hino aims to be the captain of the rally industry.

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