Off road racing in Southern California is one of the most popular and demanding forms of motor sport in the region. As part of the racing organization’s annual rounds of competition, their season always ends with the SCORE Baja 1000, a grueling 672 mile loop that must be completed in no more than 31 hours. This last race of the season is scheduled for November 20-21 and when all the buggies and trophy trucks line up in Ensenada, Mexico, Toyota will be on hand with one of their brand new fifth generation 4Runners.
The Baja 1000 is a test of both man and machine, "historically, only half of the racers finish this incredible test of man and machine, but we’re confident the Fifth Generation 4Runner will be a major contender in the stock mini class and can handle the grueling course." The Japanese automaker feels that their latest product is up to the task, and ensuring that they make it all the way to the finish line, Toyota has hired the multiple champion Ivan “Ironman” Stewart to pilot the 4Runner.
Press release after the jump.
Toyota will make history by entering its 2010 Model Year Fifth Generation 4Runner in the internationally renowned SCORE Baja 1000. With over 672 miles in length and a time limit of 31 hours, the Baja 1000 is one of the toughest desert races in the world.
Over 325 entries are expected from around the world to compete in the 42nd Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 – the last desert race of the season scheduled for November 20-21, in Ensenada, Mexico.
Toyota will test its newest 4Runner and showcase the SUV’s capabilities and durability in the Mexican desert’s treacherous terrain. “Historically, only half of the racers finish this incredible test of man and machine, but we’re confident the Fifth Generation 4Runner will be a major contender in the stock mini class and can handle the grueling course”, said Les Unger, Toyota’s national motorsports manager.
One of the scheduled drivers will be the legendary Ivan “Ironman” Stewart – 22-time SCORE Baja race winner. Stewart has successfully conquered the toughest obstacles in off-road racing and was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006. “I’m thrilled to have been chosen to be one of the drivers to once again prove the toughness and durability of Toyota vehicles. I’m sure the Fifth Generation 4Runner will be tough enough to survive even my Iron foot”, said Stewart. Co-driving the 4Runner will be the teams of Bob Ditner/Zach Zwillinger from the start line to Borrego Junction, Ken Ziesemer/Mark Sasaki throughout the San Felipe loop, Joe Nolan/Paul Williamsen from Borrego to Valle De La Trinidad, and Ivan Stewart/Bob Ditner from Valle De La Trinidad to the finish line. The 4Runner will run on General Tires and utilize the famous Baja Pits Organization throughout the course.
The 2009 Baja 1000 will be a single loop race – starting and finishing in Ensenada on the Pacific Ocean side of the magnificent peninsula and run through Mexican villages — luring in tens of thousands of spectators.