CYPRESS, Calif., Dec. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The annual Toyo Tires® Dakar® Rally Blog is back at ToyoTires.com/Dakar with exclusive pre-race features and soon, daily coverage of the world's most grueling, most unpredictable race. Covering nearly 3,500 miles over 13 days of competition, racers never know what Dakar will throw at them. This year, drivers will journey through Argentina and Chile between January 5 and 18.
Embracing the theme Meet the Unexpected, Toyo Tires will provide exclusive, first-hand reports from the Dakar Rally while chasing Team Toyo® racers Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin as well as accomplished French-American racer Guerlain Chicherit. Fans can also depend on the Toyo Tires Dakar Rally Blog for never-before-seen interviews, footage and photos. All three drivers will compete on race proven 37-inch Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires.
"Daily posts by Toyo Tires will capture the unexpected and take race fans inside the legendary Dakar Rally," said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. "From pre-race interviews to real-time updates, our annual Dakar Rally blog will be loaded with content that keeps people coming back for more."
Meet the Unexpected and watch the first 2014 Dakar video featuring Gordon and Baldwin at toyotires.com/Dakar. Fans can also participate in the Toyo Tires Dakar experience by connecting with the community at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+.
More on Robby Gordon
Robby Gordon and Toyo Tires are veterans of the Dakar, and of winning off-road championships. Gordon returns this year with co-driver Kellon Walch driving the #305 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / HST "Gordini" racer. It is a brand new 2014 Gordini SUV built to FIA specs with a powerful V8 engine. The Gordini SUV is smaller and lighter than any truck Gordon has built and raced at Dakar previously. It is a purpose-built Rally Car and the test mule has been put through the paces. Soon it will be seen if all of the R&D and testing over the last six months will pay dividends at the 2014 Dakar Rally.
Since first competing in the Dakar in 2005, he has recorded nine Dakar rally stage victories, and was the first American to win a stage in the Dakar Rally Car Division with his Toyo Tires-equipped HUMMER. In 2009, he finished third overall in the Dakar, while being the only two-wheel-drive vehicle to finish in the top-ten.
"The previous Hummer was designed and built for the African Desert; the Gordini is designed from our experience in South America," said Gordon.
Gordon went on to say "Since 2006, when we first went to Dakar with our own car, Toyo Tires has been there with me. In last year's Dakar we had no tire failures in the entire Rally – truly amazing. With that same kind of performance and the fact that we have had the fastest car for several years, I believe this is our year to capture the overall title in the world's toughest race."
Gordon has also dominated in North America on Toyo tires, most recently winning the 2013 SCORE Baja 500 and the inaugural Stadium SUPER Trucks™ Points Championship.
More on BJ Baldwin
BJ Baldwin will drive the #318 mid-engine EVR Proto VX Rally Raid Concept equipped with an LS7 engine. Owned by Eric Vigouroux of EVR / Jefferies Racing, its design is inspired by Class 1 buggies. Manufactured in California by Class 1 2013 SCORE Baja 1000-winner/builder Damen Jefferies; the lightweight truck has 22-inches of wheel travel and can reach speeds over 118-mph. Baldwin's navigator for the rally will be Dakar and SCORE Baja 1000 veteran, Quinn Cody.
"I feel more confident going into this year's Dakar than previous years," said Baldwin. "We are in a more competitive vehicle and we are using the 37-inch Toyo Open Country M/T which I believe to be the most high-performance off-road tire in existence."
This is Baldwin's second time racing Dakar in South America, the first being in 2010. He also competed in the 2008 Central Europe Rally, in which he finished seventh overall and first in class.
Since joining Team Toyo in 2012, Baldwin has won back-to-back SCORE Baja 1000's, and consecutive Overall SCORE-International Championships. This year, he also finished second overall in the SCORE Baja 500, making it a historic one-two podium for Toyo Tires.
More on Guerlain Chicherit
Driving the second EVR / Jefferies Racing truck (#320) this year is Dakar Rally veteran Guerlain Chicherit of France. The 2009 Rally Raid world champion and seven-time Dakar competitor returns determined to add to his three stage victories. Chicherit is joined in the cab by navigator Alex Winocq.
Visit www.toyotires.com/dakar to follow these champion racers and to Meet the Unexpected.
About Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.
Toyo Tires offers a complete line of premium replacement tires for nearly every make and model including high performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks. For more information log onto www.toyotires.com and connect with the community at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+.
Video with caption: "Dakar 2014 Teaser: Robby Gordon & BJ Baldwin Sneak-Peek. Meet the unexpected at the 2014 Dakar rally. Follow champion off-road racers Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin as they face the most grueling race in the world. The only thing they can plan on is having no idea what to expect. Visit the Toyo Tires® blog for exclusive content including never-before-seen footage, first-hand reports, driver interviews and photos. Daily updates at http://toyotires.com/dakar." Video available at: https://youtu.be/Oj5P9UHPj7o
SOURCE Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.