News - Toyota
HiLux Heroes are coming to a town near you
Toyota's HiLux Heroes to take up where Holden's Precision Driving Team left off
19 Dec 2007
By PHILIP LORD
MANY will remember the Holden Precision Driving Team performing wild acrobatic feats in their Holdens at events such as the Royal Easter Show. Now they’re back, only this time the Holdens are gone and instead Toyota will be wowing the crowds with its HiLux Heroes.
Founded by Lloyd Robertson in 1969, the Holden Precision Driving Team has toured the show circuit - except for a brief interlude in the late 1990s when the Holdens were swapped for Hyundais - up until Mr Robertson decided to retire a year ago.
The HiLux Heroes was conceived by Rick Bates and owners of Drift Australia, Wayne Boatwright and Scott Anderson. Mr Bates said he believed it was an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed, and approached Toyota for sponsorship.
Five HiLuxes were bought to use in the shows and cost around $50,000 each including modifications. They are based on the rear-wheel drive V6 manual pick-up, and the modifications include softer suspension, sump guards, rollbars, harnesses, seats, wheels and strobe lights.
Between four and five drivers will be employed to drive in the precision events, and all are ex-rally drivers who will hone their act to include driving on two wheels, jumping 12 metres off a ramp and drifting.
While the show circuit is still being booked, there will be about 20 to 25 shows that will likely feature the HiLux Heroes in 2008. All states should see the HiLux Heros, except fort NT, WA and Tasmania, which are still yet to be confirmed. Visiting these states in alternate years is likely, given the transport costs associated with the team traveling from its NSW base.
Rick Bates said “The Toyota product is generally pretty tough, but we’re prepared if we do a gearbox or a diff or bend a panel. We’ve obviously got spares to replace them.
"Toyota and Bridgestone are the major sponsors, with other minor sponsors coming on board.”Rick Bates hopes that showgoers can become more involved than just watching the HiLux Heroes, by sitting in the cars as passengers during some of the stunts.
“The two-wheel driving part of it is probably the most exciting part. So what we’d do is keep the safety wheel on, as there’s a risk that without the safety wheel that it might tip over.
“Not that anyone’s likely to get hurt - because it’s at a very low speed - but the general public might be a bit shook up in a rollover.
“We could offer that to the shows. I’m not sure how they would promote that but there is an opportunity to offer rides for sure.”
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