Trucks finished and shipped Argentina
Hino Motors and Japan Racing Management held a press announcement regarding their participation in Dakar Rally 2016. The event coincided with a send-off party at Hino Motors headquarters, where the team's two finished HINO500 Series trucks were put on display.
Later that week, on the 17th and 18th (Saturday and Sunday), HINO TEAM SUGAWARA conducted a driving test at the Hamura Test Course.
The two HINO500 Series trucks and their spare parts were then loaded onto a container ship that departed Tokyo Port for Argentina on October 30.
Team Holds Race Entry Press Announcement and Send-Off Party
At the race entry press announcement, Mr. Ichihashi, president of Hino Motors, noted, "Our participation in the Dakar Rally is very meaningful not only in terms of improving our technological capabilities in the areas of vehicle production and services, but also in the sense that it gives all of us an opportunity to grow as individuals. We intend to continue racing in this rally."
Mr. Enomoto, chief engineer and general manager of the Technical Research Center, then spotlighted the many upgrades made to the trucks, explaining, "We've upgraded the engines and suspensions, and aggressively slashed the weight of our trucks by 300 kilograms. We have verified the results of these upgrades during our test runs at Rally Mongolia and the China Grand Rally. The trucks have turned out exceptionally well, so please look forward to their performance at Dakar."
From HINO TEAM SUGAWARA, Teruhito Sugawara, driver of Car 2, expressed his commitment, saying, "Although there will be no desert segments, where we typically extended our lead against our rivals, we may yet have an advantage in the upcoming rally. We hope to not only win our seventh straight class championship, but also finish high in the overall rankings."
Mr. Takahashi, navigator of Car 1, expressed his enthusiasm, saying, "I am putting all of my soul into competing in this race on our HINO500 Series truck."
Similarly, Mr. Sakaguchi, mechanic from Kyushu Hino, remarked, "I've finally made it to the stage of my dreams. I will give everything I've got for my colleagues and my family."
In closing, Yoshimasa Sugawara, team director and driver of Car 1, elicited a huge round of applause as he said, "We've completely redesigned the cabs, so the crew will also be taking on this race with a renewed sense of commitment. Seeing how we've come this far, I feel like I can keep going for another 20 years. We hope you enjoy our performance in the race."
That evening, at the send-off party attended by sponsors of HINO TEAM SUGAWARA and Hino Motors employees, Mr. Ichikawa, chairman of Hino Motors, reflected on Hino's 25-year history in the rally and stressed the importance of the company's ongoing involvement: "As one of the individuals who pushed for racing in the Dakar Rally way back when, I am deeply moved as I reflect on how we've been able to continue racing for 25 years. I would like to thank all of our sponsors and employees, as this would not have been possible without your generous support."
Mechanic sub-leader Mr. Nakamura (Vehicle Planning & Production Engineering Div.), as a representative of Hino employees, expressed his passion and commitment, saying, "I would like to follow in the footsteps of our esteemed predecessors, and lead our team of mechanics to bring out the best in terms of teamwork."
Trucks Undergo Driving Tests
On October 17 and 18 (Saturday and Sunday), HINO TEAM SUGAWARA carried out driving tests at the Hamura Test Course to verify the performance of their new engines and upgraded suspension systems. Based on acceleration tests, the team has verified that their 0 to 120km/h acceleration time has been shortened by one full second. Regarding the engine's performance upgrades, driver Yoshimasa Sugawara quips, "The finished truck is so fast I can't even push down on the gas pedal."