Toyota Motorsport pushes the limits for South Africa’s 2016 Dakar Rally entries

Edgecam CAM software plays a pivotal role in swiftly producing high precision parts for the three top-performing Toyota SA Motorsport’s 2016 Dakar Rally entries. The team competed under the new team name – Toyota Gazoo Racing SA.

When the record shows that your lead entry has attained third place in its Dakar debut in 2012, went one better in 2013 with a second place, attained a fourth place in 2014, and another second place in the 2015 edition of the world’s most grueling motorsport event, you certainly have motivations to reach the pinnacle of the sport. With former Dakar winner South African Giniel de Villiers behind the wheel of the lead car your ambitions are even higher.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team had De Villiers and his long-serving German navigator, Dirk von Zitzewitz in car number 301 as crew, South African Cross-Country champions Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie in car number 316, and Saudi racing sensation Yazeed Al Rajhi and German navigator Timo Gottschalkn in car number 305.


The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team had Giniel De Villiers and his long-serving German navigator, Dirk von Zitzewitz in car number 301 as crew

The race, often billed as the toughest motorsport event in the world, took place from January 2nd to 16th in Argentina and Bolivia and this year’s edition was no different. The race saw the three Toyota Hilux vehicles from South Africa take part under the new team name of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA.

The new name reflects a global move by the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) to unify its racing efforts, and will be expanded to include more racing formulae during 2016. The word ‘Gazoo’ has a long and proud history in Japan, and is synonymous with driving pleasure, fun and racing excellence.

The man behind all of the logistics, new developments and designs incorporated into the cars, and of course the tactics, is Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Glyn Hall, who is the Team Principal.

The Dakar-specification Toyota Hilux has seen significant developments over the last five years. The first version was essentially an evolution of the cross-country race bakkie, developed for the 2011 South African Off-Road Championship (as it was then known). Since then, the vehicle has seen constant evolution thanks to an extended testing programme and technological advances. The result is one of the most successful petrol-powered vehicles ever to take part in the Dakar Rally.


One of the three Toyota Gazoo Racing SA cars being assembled in Hallspeed’s facilities in Kyalami, Gauteng

Visually, the new vehicle has seen the biggest change in its five-year history. The new body shell is designed to reflect the next generation Toyota Hilux, though in the case of the race vehicle the panels are rendered in ultra-lightweight composites, keeping the overall weight down as much as possible. Together with a striking new livery, the 2016 Dakar Toyota Hilux is an imposing beast of a machine.

But while the bodywork and livery might be the easiest changes to spot, the biggest change lies under the bonnet. This year the team fielded the all-new Lexus RC-F V8 engine – the most powerful 2UR-series engine ever built.

At the heart of the race version of the Toyota Hilux is the powerful and flexible Lexus IS-F V8 engine. In celebration of its racing success, this is the same engine that does duty in the Toyota Hilux Racing Experience vehicle. With more than 335 kW of power available at 6,000 rpm, this is most likely the most powerful Toyota Hilux ever built. However, the Hilux Racing Experience is much more than just a Toyota Hilux with a big engine – it is a finely crafted machine that embraces a host of technology used in Toyota SA Motorsport’s Hilux race vehicles.

The engine management system, for instance, has been replaced with a Pectel Cosworth system, making the most of the engine’s direct fuel injection. The sump was modified to make room for the production Hilux front differential that was equipped with a new gear ratio. The rear diff received similar treatment, and the inlet manifold was modified to Dakar spec, effectively boosting the torque characteristics of the engine.

A new alternator and power steering pump was fitted, together with a new air conditioning compressor. The entire wiring harness was upgraded to Dakar spec, a full tubular exhaust system was installed and modifications made to the transmission’s bell housing, in order to mate the gearbox to the IS-F engine.

“So the modifications are pretty comprehensive,” says Glyn Hall. “But you can’t just add all that power and toys without ensuring that the vehicle can handle it.”

As such, the suspension system was also upgraded, with fully adjustable front and rear dampers, and the entire vehicle was lowered by 50mm over the production version. The steering ratio was increased for faster movement and large 18×9” wheels were fitted.

“All of this comes together with the AIM electronic dashboard, which is fully integrated with the Pectel engine management system and provides the driver with a vast array of engine information in true motorsport fashion.”


Components are developed and manufactured in the high-tech ‘garage’ of Hallspeed

“The result is a well-balanced bakkie (South African description for a small truck) that offers supreme performance without compromising handling – in essence, a road-going Toyota Hilux injected with motorsport DNA, which offers the driver the very essence of Toyota SA Motorsport’s race vehicles.”

Years of dedication and planning go into the manufacture of the Dakar-specification Toyota Hilux and Edgecam CAM software plays a pivotal role in swiftly producing high precision parts for these top-performing motorsport cars, developed in the high-tech ‘garage’ of Hallspeed. This is located on the perimeter of the famous South African Kyalami Race Track that is currently undergoing a R100 million overhaul in a bid to attract top international motor racing series back to South Africa.

“Each car must have between 4000 and 5000 components that make up the finished vehicle. Approximately 80% of these components are manufactured inhouse on our CNC lathe and machining centre with the balance, which are mainly specialised components, outsourced to local machine shops and a few that are based internationally. For example, a camwheel and pinion for the axels is manufactured by a South African who is now based in the UK,” said Hall who is also the MD of Hallspeed.

“With so many components, and a number of them highly complex components, being manufactured by ourselves, we need reliable software that can swiftly manufacture the components on our CNC machines. We finished pre-race testing in temperatures that soared to 45 degrees under the Kalahari sun in the desert north of the town of Upington in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.”

“The purpose of the final test session was to sign off on a number of suspension setups and smaller details, and to lock down the configuration of the latest generation Toyota Hilux for the 2016 Dakar.”

“Not only did the race vehicles perform as expected, but they also showed their toughness by completing lap after lap of the challenging test route that comprised fast, flat sections, rocky jumps, and soft, sandy dunes – the perfect combination to accurately emulate the conditions found on the Dakar Rally.”

“Even so, we kept working and refining things until the flag dropped for the start of Stage One. This is where it is important to have software such as Edgecam. We have had a relationship with their South African distributors Stillam CNC Programming Solutions since 2006 and they have been very helpful in providing us with the latest version as it is released.”

“By their very nature, racing cars are never really finished and components always need to be modified. Designs are created inhouse and the solid model imported seamlessly into Edgecam. This allows us to accurately visualise the part, apply material, analyse it, and decide what cutting tools we’re going to use and which machine tool we’ll programme it for. Edgecam helped us accelerate our sign-off process for the race.”

“All our metal components are machined from block in special aluminium and steels that not only provide strength but reduce weight. Only the engine block of the 5 litre engine is supplied by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. The rest is made up by ourselves.”


Edgecam CAM software plays a pivotal role in swiftly producing high precision parts for these top-performing motorsport cars

“An interesting fact is that the race version of the Toyota Hilux will use 100 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres in sand racing conditions and 55 litres per 100 kilometres in Dakar Rally simulated conditions, whereas the road-going Toyota Hilux can average out at about 4,5 litres per 100 kilometres.”

“Seven tons of components were shipped to Buenos Aires and a further two tons were airfreighted, along with the cars, on the 8th of December 2015. Essentially we took spares and components that could make up between another three to four vehicles. Experience tells us that it is not easy to get a specially designed component manufactured in Argentina and Bolivia.”

“We took 28 staff this time around, which included management, support staff, mechanics and engineers. Each car had four dedicated mechanics and additionally there was one engine specialist, one sub-assembly specialist and two engineers that took care of all three entries.”

“It is not a cheap exercise. Each entry costs Euro 3000, each support vehicle Euro 2500 and Euro 10 000 per staff member involved. This is over and above the other logistical costs involved.”

2016 Dakar route
The Argentine capital of Buenos Aires played host to the start of the 2016 Dakar, on January 2nd, 2016. This was followed by 13 tough stages, stretching away from Buenos Aires and into Bolivia, before turning southwards again to the finish in the Argentine city of Rosario on January 16th, 2016.

The 2016 route was changed as a result of the country of Peru withdrawing from the race. This meant that the bulk of the Dakar took place in Argentina this time, though the stages on the high plains of Bolivia (altiplano) added the element of extreme altitude to this edition of the race.

“The Dakar remains an amazingly tough race. There are many surprises along the way, and winning it is never easy. With that said, the latest evolution of our race Toyota Hilux, together with a highly talented and motivated crew, certainly gave us a great shot at it. But if there’s one thing you can count on at Dakar, it is that there’s no such thing as a ‘sure thing’,” concluded Hall.

The Dakar Rally is one of the greatest races on earth. It all started in 1977, when the founder of the race, Frenchman Thierry Sabine, got lost in the Ténéré Desert while competing in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. By the following year, the Paris-Dakar was born, and 182 vehicles competed in the first event. 600 competitors entered the 2015 Dakar Rally.


Glyn Hall who is the Team Principal for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA and MD of Hallspeed

A total of 42 different Toyota vehicles competed in the car category of the 2016 Dakar Rally. While most of them were Toyota Hilux race vehicles, developed and manufactured by Toyota Motorsport South Africa, only the three vehicles entered by Toyota Gazoo Racing SA were part of the official factory entry.

Edgecam’s new high speed all-format 3D viewer
The latest release of Edgecam software includes a new high speed 3D viewer that directly displays and evaluates 3D CAD files without the need for the original CAD application.
Edgecam PartXplore has been created to efficiently import and analyse all file types and sizes at high speed. It often takes less than half the time to open a file compared to the original CAD application.

Users can build virtual unified prototypes or 3D models imported from a wide range of file formats, including Catia, Parasolid, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, STEP, IGES and many more. The software saves the native CAD data in its own lightweight format, meaning manufacturers can carry out tasks such as calculating surface areas and volumes, and measuring thickness, dimensions and angles without requiring the original CAD information.

And it makes sharing files extremely simple, as users can transmit 3D parts and assemblies to their own subcontractors, customers and other project members via the internet with a standalone, lightweight application. The recipient can also immediately display and work on the model without requiring the original CAD data.

Measurements: Even staff who are not CAD experts can quickly master the software’s wide range of 2D and 3D measurement functions, by using predefined selection modes such as points, 2D entities, planes and surfaces. Measurements can be automatically included as entities and anchored to characteristic points of the part. Entity labels automatically pivot to remain visible at all times.

Specialist functions allow more experienced CAD users to recover point clusters from 3D measuring equipment or machine probes, and to quickly check revisions against the original CAD geometry. Point files can also be generated easily for sending to 3D measuring equipment and NC machines.

Annotation: Ideas, observations, instructions and change requests can be conveyed quickly and easily. The need for 2D drawings is minimised, as users add dimensional and geometric measurements, annotations and labels directly to the 3D model.

Analyse: A full range of specialist analysis tools assist with quotes, diagnostics, assembly notes, and preparing 3D models. Much of the analysis functionality is normally only associated with more expensive CAD solutions.

The inside of parts and assemblies can be explored with high performance sectioning; the section plane rotated, panned or following a guide curve, simply by mouse clicks.

Curvature radius and plane face analysis is a valuable tool for giving fast cost and production times. And drafts and undercuts can be calculated and displayed extremely quickly, even on large components.

Animation: Animations are set up by initiating basic movements such as translation, rotation or following a guide curve.

Collision Detection: Dynamic collision analysis ensures real-time control of mechanism interoperability or process control. Short videos can also be generated.

Documentation: Screen captures illustrate technical documents and assembly sheets…and a large number of images can be readily managed and distributed.

PartXplore Product Manager Massimo Vergerio says: “PartXplore’s intuitive, easy-to-use interface enables novices and experienced users alike to explore any type of 2D/3D CAD file. It gives access to the full set of core functions to ensure everyone can be up and running with the software instantly. This new high speed collaborative viewer makes it easy to visualise, analyse and share files without needing access to the original CAD data.”

For further details contact Stillam CNC Programming Solutions on TEL: 011 663 2600 or visit or