DakarWorld Rally-Raid Championship

New South African T1+ vehicles shine in debut

3 Mins read
Credit: TreasuryONE Motorsport

A pair of South African rally raid teams finally had the chance to showcase their T1+ machines when The Inland Off Road Championship season began with the Stella 300 on Saturday. Both programmes immediately saw success as they finished 1–2 with TreasuryONE Motorsport’s Toyota Hilux T1+, driven by Hennie de Klerk, ahead of the Red-Lined Motorsport REVO T1+ with Chris Visser behind the wheel.

De Klerk plans to bring his Hilux to the 2024 Dakar Rally, which will be his third attempt at the race. Developed by WCT Engineering and unveiled in February, it shares many similarities with the Hallspeed Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ that won the 2022 and 2023 Dakar Rally with Nasser Al-Attiyah, but is more durable with rather rudimentary parts by comparison as it is intended for privateers who cannot afford the Hallspeed model.

“The new car was fantastic to drive and there were some really big guns in a big field, but we pulled off a dream result,” said de Klerk. “We promised ourselves that we were going to take it easy, but it was flat out racing from the word ‘Go!’. Adriaan (Roets, co-driver) and I are delighted to top a great team effort with an unforgettable début victory. Adriaan was faultless in the hot seat, WCT designed a brilliant package and Tjaart van der Walt (lead technician) built us a winning car that allowed us to win on our first outing.”

Visser finished runner-up in the T1+, which he assisted in developing and testing prior to its racing début at the Stella 300. His team also fielded a REVO T1 for Johan de Bruyn and a Red-Lined VK50 for Pim Klaassen in the race, whose father Dave Klaasen competed at the 2023 Dakar Rally in a VK56.

“A great weekend of testing for us to start off the year, a 100% finishing ratio at the Stella 300 race where the actual event finishing ratio was just 51%, and this with 5 race cars where two were brand new and out for the first time, one had been totally rebuilt and another with a 18 year old Dutch driver on début,” wrote Red-Lined CEO Terence Marsh on social media.

“4 race cars in the top 10 with 2nd overall for our new Revo+ first time out and the young Pim Klaassen finishing 11th overall on debut…testament of the incredible job done by our technical team during the off season!!! Now it is back to the workshop to start preparing for the first round of the South African Rally-Raid Championship in two weeks time!!!”

The REVO T1+ is an upgraded version from Red-Lined’s REVO T1. The REVO series is not based on an existing production car, a contrast to Red-Lined’s other series like the VK50 and VK56 T1s, which use the Nissan Navara as a template.

Like the TreasuryONE Hilux, the REVO T1+ hopes to be a viable option for those hoping to compete in the category but do not have factory backing. Both vehicles contain V8 engines, though the REVO can utilise the twin-turbo V6 akin to that used in the Nissan GT-R as well; V8s are granted thirty more kW than V6s in competition, but the latter still holds the advantage due to its more sophisticated workings.

A subdivision of the top-level T1, T1+ is dominated by Toyota and Prodrive, the latter fielding the Hunter in the World Rally-Raid Championship as the main rival to the Hiluxes. Neil Woolridge Motorsport, also hailing from South Africa, is developing the Ford Ranger T1+ alongside M-Sport with hopes of competing in the 2024 Dakar Rally as well. While interest in the class has grown over the past two years, it is an expensive endeavour for manufacturers and teams due to ongoing supply chain crises. As such, Red-Lined and TreasuryONE Motorsport hope their challengers can help them out.

“There’s huge international demand for competitive T1+ rally raid race cars, as proven by our first eight orders for normally aspirated REVO T1+ machines and this on our reputation alone,” Marsh commented. “This new T1+ car is basically a rally raid supercar designed to be the ultimate non factory T1+ racer available anywhere.

“Fast enough to dare take on the factory teams, yet economical and practical enough to race with a reasonable sized team and budget, the Red-Lined REVO T1+ is 100% targeted at professional race teams and businessman drivers around the world.”

The REVO T1+ will continue to see action in the country’s premier South African Rally-Raid Championship with Visser. Aliyyah Koloc is testing the T1+ this week in preparation for a part-time SARRC schedule in the truck.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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