Toyota to run Baja 1000 with Tundra TRD Pro

This will be the new truck\'s first real-world motorsports test.

The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will just have hit the market when the automaker enters it into its first motorsports competition. Toyota intends to prove the pickup's off-road bona fides by entering one into the Baja 1000.

The race truck will compete in the Full Size Stock category of the grueling slog across Mexico's Baja Peninsula. As the name implies, the race covers 1,000 miles of unpaved terrain, much of it covered in boulders and sand dunes, and takes over 20 hours to complete.

The class allows minor changes to the suspension, including a conversion to leaf springs in the rear. However, aside from safety equipment, massive lighting for nighttime driving, and larger capacity fluid and fuel tanks for long distances, the truck remains faithful to the production version. Key components such as the powertrain, control arms, tie rods, wheel bearings and hubs are all Toyota factory equipment.

Toyota is no stranger to racing on unpaved roads. In the late Eighties, it teamed up with Ivan "Ironman” Stewart and campaigned a series of stadium trucks that spawned a popular arcade game, Super Off Road. In 1991, Toyota and Stewart took their first Baja 500 victory, and went on to capture several more Baja 500 and 1000 wins over the next two decades. Stewart will be coaching team Tundra, comprised of four drivers and a navigator, two of whom are to engineers at Toyota Trucks and TRD.

The Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 begins November 12.

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