The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has won its class in the 2014 Baja 1000, incurring significant damage in the form of a car-length gash down its drivers's side in the process.
Despite its name, the 47th running of the famed off-road race actually covered over 1,200 miles along the rugged Mexican peninsula. Though the Tundra finished 69th overall, it took first place in the Full Size Stock class. The rest of the Baja 1000 field includes everything from tube-framed trophy trucks to motorcycles.
With modifications for safety and carrying supplies, the truck was displayed at the SEMA convention in Las Vegas earlier this month. Immediately after the show, it was whisked to Mexico along with three TRD Pro support vehicles and off-road racing legend Ivan "Ironman" Stewart as team advisor.
Speaking at the LA Auto Show, a Toyota spokesman explained that the battle scar down its flanks occurred in a canyon section lined with fine, silt-like sand. Another truck was pulled over to the side leaving barely enough room for the Tundra to squeeze between the rock walls. The team was faced with a choice: either slow down and get bogged in the powder, or gun it through. The driver chose the latter.
Post-race, the Tundra was driven 1,000 miles back to the US-Mexico border. It was trailered the rest of the way back to Toyota's Torrance, California headquarters due to street legality reasons. The win brings Toyota's tally in off-road racing to 304 checkered flags, 27 manufacturer's championships and 28 driver's championships, dating back to the 1980s.