Rumours of a full-fat, high-performance Toyota Hilux from Gazoo Racing have returned, sparked by new comments from the Japanese firm’s sales and marketing boss in Europe.
Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Matthew Harrison said Toyota was “trying to build more of an obvious link to the GR brand, which is why we are establishing for each of our core models a GR Sport derivative”.
Of course, Toyota South Africa already offers the limited-edition Hilux GR Sport on local shores, with the flagship double-cab featuring an uprated suspension system and a handful of cosmetic enhancements.
But Harrison’s comments led various Australian publications to revisit the Hilux GR rumour, after Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing arm, earlier suggested such a vehicle was indeed on the cards.
“We won Dakar first with Hilux as Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa,” Tomoyama told news.com.au in June after the automaker enjoyed further success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We would like to realise the actual product of Gazoo Racing. Dakar is one of the stages to realise that,” he said, adding he had hopes for both a “racing Hilux and a customer commercial product”.
Reports suggest this rumoured Dakar-inspired Hilux GR would gain improved engine outputs (unlike the aforementioned GR Sport variant) and be positioned to take the fight to the Ford Ranger Raptor.
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