BAJA 1000: LIFETIME SUPPLY OF ADVENTURE

TACKLING THE BAJA 1000 IN A TRD PRO SERIES TUNDRA

There are off-road races… then there’s the SCORE Baja 1000. It’s in a class all by itself and is the granddaddy of extreme off-road racing. This year’s 47th Tecate Baja 1000 starts in Ensenada and finishes in La Paz, crisscrossing the Baja peninsula, stretching the course to approximately 1,200 miles of desert trails, bottomless sand and unknown obstacles.

Toyota is no stranger to the Baja 1000, taking the overall victory in 1993 and 1998 with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart at the wheel (until last year, Ivan was the only person to claim the overall victory in the Baja 1000 while racing solo, that included trucks and motorcycles).

With the introduction of the 2015 TRD Pro Series Tundra, Toyota thought it would be a novel idea to enter a basically stock truck in the race, piloted by TRD’s own Ted Moncure along with Andrew Bell, Jamie Bestwick, Michael Sweers and Ryan Millen (more on the drivers later), and coached by Ironman himself.

How difficult is it to race a basically stock truck in the Baja 1000? As of November 8, 2014, there were 228 entrants in the race – of that, only four were in the stock class (and two of them are Toyotas)!

BAJA 1000: GUTS, GLORY & 1ST PLACE

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO MAKE A WAY WHEN THERE IS NO WAY...

The goal was to demonstrate the toughness of the new 2015 Toyota TRD Pro Series Tundra by attempting to finish the 47th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race – finishing first in class was an added bonus! But the win did not come easy. As TRD’s own Ted Moncure said, “I had to floss the truck through a narrow gap between a truck stuck in a deep silt bed and a large cactus or I would have gotten stuck. As Maxwell Smart said, ‘Missed it by that much!’ as the other truck's bumper opened our side up like a can opener. Now the TRD Pro Tundra isn’t as pretty as it used to be, but it’s tough!” Luckily the body damage was superficial and it did not slow their winning effort. So what do you do after finishing a race that spans 1,275 miles? Well, the team topped off the gas tank, got in the truck, and started driving north back to the U.S. as the Long Beach Racers crew members took turns driving it home. Next stop? Toyota’s headquarters in Torrance, CA. Congratulations team on a well-run race!

TOYOTA & THE BAJA 1000: WINNING HERITAGE

TOYOTA TRUCKS PROVE TOUGH TO BEAT

It takes a serious commitment to win the Baja 1000. In 1979, Toyota decided off-road racing would be a good way to demonstrate the durability of their trucks, so they enlisted the help of Cal Wells, a proven off-road racer and owner of Precision Preparation Inc. In 1983, the team signed Ivan “Ironman” Stewart as their driver (Ivan had already won the Baja 1000 in 1976). Still today, 41 years later, Ironman is a vital part of the Toyota team.

  • Ivan won the Baja 1000 three times – 1993 and 1998 in a Toyota truck
  • Ivan won the Baja 500 a record 17 times
  • He won the Mint 400 four times
  • He won the Parker 400 four times
  • In 1993, Stewart and Toyota swept the “Crown Jewels” of desert racing – the Nevada 500, the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000
  • Ivan captured four SCORE World Championship titles
  • Andy Bell helped drive a Baja Tacoma to a class win in the 2012 Baja 1000

STARTED IN THE ‘60s... STILL GOING STRONG TODAY

A brief history lesson

The Baja 1000 didn’t start as a “race” – it started in 1962 when two motorcyclists timed how long it took to ride from Tijuana to La Paz – 952.7 miles – they did it in 39 hours, 56 minutes.

A brief history lesson on the Baja 1000:

  • On November 1, 1967, the first Baja 1000 race was held – it was won by a dune buggy in a time of 27 hours, 38 minutes.
  • The course for the Baja 1000 changes every year. This year, it’s a point-to-point race, starting in Ensenada (it has also started in Tijuana and Mexicali) and ending in La Paz. Last year, the race was run in a loop so it started and stopped in Ensenada.
  • The Mexican government took control of the 1973 Baja 1000 and quickly found out that it was more work than they bargained for.
  • Mickey Thompson, a Baja racer and world land speed record holder, formed Southern California Off-Road Enterprises (SCORE) to promote off-road races, and in 1974, the Mexican government granted exclusive rights to SCORE to hold Baja races, with the Baja 1000 resuming under SCORE’s control in 1975.

TRD PRO DESERT RACE TEAM:

Team Coach:
Ivan “Ironman” Stewart

Off-Road Hall of Fame Member
22-time SCORE Baja 500 and
1000 Champion
San Diego, CA

Navigator:
Mike Sweers

Chief Engineer of
Toyota Trucks
Ann Arbor, MI

drivers:

Ted Moncure
TRD Design Engineer
SCORE Baja 1000 and
500 Class-Champion
Long Beach, CA

Andy Bell
Toyota athlete
SCORE Baja 500 Champion
Guinness World Record holder
Long Beach, CA

Jamie Bestwick
Toyota athlete
Professional BMX Vert Rider
9-time X-Games winner
Port Matilda, PA

Ryan Millen
SCORE Baja 1000 and
500 competitor
son of off-road legend Rod Millen
San Juan Capistrano, CA

BAJA 2014: TRD PRO SERIES TUNDRA TEAM

PROVING THAT TRD PRO SERIES TRUCKS ARE BAJA TOUGH

Toyota and TRD are entering a modified 2015 TRD Pro Series Tundra in the 47th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. The modifications are basically to ensure the truck complies with the racing safety and communication requirements (like installing a roll bar and fuel cell), then the truck is “race-prepped,” which requires safety-wiring key components to ensure they stay tight during the heat of competition.

TRD and Toyota Truck Chief Engineer, Mike Sweers, said, “My job is to ensure that the Tundra is designed to exceed the expectations and demands of every single one of its owners. With over 1,000 miles of harsh terrain, the Baja 1000 is the ultimate proving ground for research and development that helps us to continuously improve our trucks.” Mike is also riding along as the navigator during the event, which is the first time Mike has raced in Baja.

“Competing in the Full Size Stock class allows our team to test the Tundra TRD Pro (with its TRD Pro Suspension, TRD Tires and TRD Wheels) as close to stock as possible and showcase its strength and durability in the Mexican desert’s treacherous terrain,” said Andrew Franceschini, Toyota Truck Marketing and Communications National Manager.

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