Take a thousand miles of “barely-there” rutted out sandy roads cutting erratically across the desert floor of Mexico’s California Peninsula, beginning in Ensenada and ending in La Paz, with berms so deep they can swallow a grown man. Now add corrupt law enforcement officials, kidnappers, and banditos around every bend and thousands of radically modified “souped-up” and “jacked-up” off-road vehicles and motorcycles (and that is not mentioning the booby-traps and intentional course sabotage) and you have the TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000. The highly anticipated 2014 event, sponsored by TECATE and promoted by Southern California Off-Road Enterprises (SCORE), is scheduled for November the 12 through 16. Toyota is scheduled to compete with a 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD.
The Baja 1000 event has been held annually since 1967 and actually encompasses a number of different races, ranging from 600 to 850 miles in length and varying between point-to-point races and loop races. Vehicle sizes range from motorcycles to large four-wheel drive vehicles, with classifications varying between low-budget stock and the highly sophisticated factory modified, helped along with massive amounts of sponsorship money. Many racers have no support while others are monitored closely by follow trucks and even helicopters. It is the premier event for off-road racing in the world and winning is a jewel in the crown for any automaker that can take the checkered flag first.
That brings us to a little Japanese automaker called Toyota. Many of you have heard of the new Toyota TRD line of trucks, introduced in 2014 at the Chicago Auto Show. This line of capable off-road trucks includes the full-size Toyota Tundra, the sporty Tacoma, and the spacious 4Runner. They all feature their own unique package of powerful engine and transmission combinations, unique interior and exterior accents, and a more than adequate assortment of extreme off-road equipment.
The full-size 2015 Toyota TRD Tundra gets the nod for this year’s TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000. Expect the world’s largest automaker to throw plenty of money and expertise behind winning this coveted race of endurance and speed. Coaching Team Toyota in the Stock-Truck Class for the TECATE SCORE BAJA 1000 is off-roading legend “Ironman” Ivan Stewart. Stewart gained fame in 1973 after he was scheduled to co-drive the Ensenada 300 in a Class 1-2 buggy; his fellow driver broke his leg in the early going and Stewart finished the race, singlehandedly. He went on to join the Toyota Team in 1983, where he has won a total of 82 victories (including 3 Baja 1000s). Get this: He is the only person to win the overall race (including motorcycle classes) in a four-wheel drive vehicle, driving solo. This guy is only the coach. This is the kind of coach that could get blood from a stone. In the cockpit for the actual race will be TRD engineer Ted Moncure, Baja 500 winner Andy Bell, legendary Pike’s Peak racer Ryan Millen, and BMX half-piper Jamie Bestwick. Navigation duties will be handles by Mike Sweers, chief engineer for Toyota Trucks. What a crew.
The 2015 Toyota TRD Tundra will remain basically stock, with the exception of some off-road lighting, eye-popping graphics, three racing seats, a roll cage, and Accusump oil accumulator, Lowrance Navigation systems for both the driver and navigator, and 37-inch BF Goodrich Baja T/A KR tires (on 17-inch factory wheels complete with bead-locker). The factory TRD package already includes remote reservoir shocks, high-performance TRD cat-back exhaust system, high-performance brakes, and an awesome array of auxiliary lighting.