The Isuzu D-Max pick-up is now more than capable in taking on the Dakar Rally, when the race commences in January 2013. Based on the architecture that underpins a production Isuzu D-Max 4x4 double-cab, the Dakar-ready pick-up has been greatly improved to boost performance and to endure the harshness of more than 5,000 miles of grueling terrain, between Lima, Peru and the finish in Santiago, Chile.
The Dakar-bound D-Max is powered by an Isuzu-developed 3.0-litre (2,994cc) 16-valve common-rail turbo diesel engine, which returns up to 242hp of output and 589 Nm of torque. The engine, which is based on a standard Isuzu engine, is paired with a four-wheel drive system and a sequential five-speed Hollinger transmission as well as Xtreme rally clutch.
Protecting the vehicle and its passengers against rock impacts and potential accidents is a chassis that boasts of custom-built, full-length 8-mm aluminium skid plates. The steel cab body is also fitted with an integrated roll-cage and carbon-fibre panels, protecting the D-Max’s key components. Isuzu also installed DBA Kangaroo Paw ventilated disc brakes with cross-drilled discs and Harrop aluminium racing callipers to provide more than enough stopping power.
The Isuzu D-Max Dakar features 16 x 7-inch ROH Trojan alloy wheels fitted with Toyo Open Country M/T-R tyres, allowing maximum ground clearance for rough terrain. These upgrades result to a tougher D-Max pick-up than the road-going model, coupled with breath-taking performance. The Dakar-bound D-Max could accelerate from zero to 62mph in just seven seconds on dirt and reach a top speed of 190 kph. The vehicle is prepared by the Isuzu Motorsports International Off-Road Race Team and will be piloted by Australian pair Bruce Garland as driver and Harry Suzuki as co-driver.
Harry Suzuki, co-driver and director of Isuzu Motorsports, commented: “The Isuzu D-Max is the perfect Dakar machine. It has the ideal blend of rugged ability and performance, and race prepared by our specialist team, the Isuzu D-Max Dakar will deliver where it counts.” Suzuki continues: “While our Isuzu D-Max Dakar pick-up is purpose-built and race-prepared to withstand the punishment of the toughest motorsport event on the calendar, more than half of the vehicle is built using standard Isuzu production parts and is completely recognisable as a series Isuzu D-Max. This fact reinforces that Isuzu is the manufacturer of tough vehicles able to take on any terrain.”